Canadiens vs. Senators game recap: Ready for the regular season
The Montreal Canadiens saved their best for last as the season gets set to start
If you wanted to take the first six games of the Montreal Canadiens pre-season and show the opposite, Saturday’s 9-2 win over the Ottawa Senators could be it.
It didn’t start off well for the Canadiens. Alex Galchenyuk took a penalty three seconds into the game and 19 seconds after that, Kyle Turris scored on the power play.
However, the remaining 59 minutes were all Montreal.
Brendan Gallagher scored at 11:04 of the first period to tie the game when he caused havoc in front of the net, proving he was in mid-season form.
With the game tied at 1-1, and less than five minutes remaining, Turris had another chance but this time Carey Price was up to the task.
Carey Price is not of this world pic.twitter.com/K9jGPdO5Ab— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) September 30, 2017
After some struggles in the pre-season, Galchenyuk finally broke through. Put back on a line with Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw, he had a goal and an assist on the same shift in the final minute of the first period.
And it wasn’t even the fact he scored that was most encouraging but how he scored it. It was the type of shot that makes Galchenyuk so dangerous.
Alex Galchenyuk breaks his goose egg and puts the Habs up 2-1! pic.twitter.com/Wf4ojyd1vW— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) September 30, 2017
Just 26 seconds later, Galchenyuk broke in the zone again and made a beautiful pass to Andrew Shaw who lost Dion Phaneuf to make it a 3-1 game in a flash.
At the end of the first period, Victor Mete had the puck and was content to watch the final eight seconds tick off the clock, but Max McCormick had other ideas. After waiting for a few seconds, the Senators forward decided to take a run at Mete. The only issue is that the period ended by the time he got there.
Max McCormick feels really tough as he takes a run at 19 year old Victor Mete at the end of the period pic.twitter.com/Px8ScUEUDA— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) September 30, 2017
He ended up taking a penalty for his troubles, but you can’t help but feel it should have been more than just two minutes.
The Canadiens started the second period on the power play, and Fredrik Claesson took a slashing penalty giving the Habs a two-man advantage.
On a power play that includes Jonathan Drouin, Shea Weber, Max Pacioretty, Galchenyuk and Ales Hemsky, well... it’s going to be tough to stop them and the Senators found that out. There are a lot of weapons and you can’t cover them all.
Weber used his patented shot to put the Canadiens up 4-1.
Good luck anyone trying to stop this, Weber makes it 4-1 pic.twitter.com/2QGGpGwawE— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) October 1, 2017
The Canadiens used some power plays to really grab control of the game in the second. Ottawa went through over 15 minutes of the period without a shot attempt. They finally got some chances on Price late in the period, but Montreal really brought the game to Ottawa.
In the third period, once again the Canadiens scored twice in one shift. Gallagher scored his second game on a pretty passing play from Drouin, and 18 seconds later Pacioretty finished off a similar play and the Habs were up 6-1.
Mark Stone then made the score 6-2, but the Canadiens ended the game with two goals from Jacob de la Rose and one from Victor Mete - two players who seem to be close to making the final roster. De la Rose has been playing better and better every game and for him to show up offensively is a huge boost to his chances.
Jacob de la Rose lets a laser of a shot go, and it's 8-2 Habs pic.twitter.com/ZZ7ofBXh6M— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) October 1, 2017
The final shots were 40-17 for the Canadiens, and in the third period Craig Anderson was replaced by former Hab Mike Condon. Condon allowed three goals.
- This very well could be the Canadiens lineup on Thursday in Buffalo. Personally, I don’t see enough from Mark Streit to give him a spot. Even on the power play, which is supposed to be his strength, he looked out of place in a unit with Mete, Gallagher, Artturi Lehkonen and Charles Hudon. I would rather Jeff Petry on that unit and Brandon Davidson next to Jordie Benn. But I’m not going to complain about the sixth defenceman after a 9-2 pre-season win.
- The Canadiens depth at forward will be such a massive boost this season. De la Rose scoring twice one game after Paul Byron scored twice is a fourth line that has a lot of potential. Players will go through slumps and the more players you have who could score limits the chances the entire team stops scoring at once.
- No matter how you feel about the pre-season, six straight losses is deflating, especially when you’re excited for a new season, but after Shea Weber’s harsh words saying the team wasn’t ready, they have two wins in two games, and looked really good doing it. This team has had outstanding starts to the last two seasons, but I’m sure they would trade all of that away for a better finish to the season. Every game from here on counts, and the Canadiens couldn’t have a better pre-season finale. Bring on the Sabres, right?/