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Canadiens vs. Senators Top Six Minutes: The struggle continues

Jan 23, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Ottawa Senators left wing Parker Kelly (27) plays the puck against Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jayden Struble (47) during the first period at Bell Centre. | Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

First period

  • Thirty-eight seconds into the game, the Ottawa Senators get a two-on-one, so it seems nothing was learned from the last two games and that defensive practice on Monday.
  • Following a pressure shift from the Senators in Montreal’s net, Michael Pezzetta tries to shift momentum with a Habs forecheck, but gets called for a holding penalty behind the Ottawa net. Not a good outcome for a fourth-liner.
  • The power play is short-lived as Jakob Chychrun goes to the box for holding the stick. Firing a shot off the back of a teammate’s head the shift prior, it seems the defenceman is trying to speed up his trade out of Ottawa.
  • Josh Anderson got a chance at four-on-four, but Joonas Korpisalo made a good save.
  • Despite Montreal being on the power play, the Senators get a faceoff in Montreal’s end, and no one takes Ridly Greig as he gets around Jake Allen to open the scoring.
  • Jake Sanderson makes it 2-0 40 seconds later.
  • We can’t blame fatigue for this performance.
  • Mike Matheson goes to the box for hitting Josh Norris in the face with his glove, and the opponent goes down like he was hit by a bus. The Emmy Awards have already been handed out this year.
  • Shots end up 11-6 Ottawa in a bad first period for Montreal.

Second period

  • The Canadiens get another power play as Greig goes to the box for a sliding trip of Jayden Struble.
  • “Matheson can’t hold it in.”
  • The power play ends on an icing after two minutes with zero shots.
  • Vladimir Tarasenko gets a penalty for “throwing equipment.” He flicked Brady Tkachuk’s stick off the ice back to his captain, and the linesman was the one who made the call.
  • It’s a more standard tripping penalty to Matheson that cuts the power play short to prevent a short-handed rush by Mathieu Joseph.
  • The Habs dump the puck in at four-on-four. Ottawa collects it, banks a puck off the boards on a stretch pass, and Shane Pinto makes it 3-0 on a breakaway. That was just some unintelligent hockey.
  • Joshua Roy makes the nicest play by a Hab to dangle right into the slot and send a pass to Sean Monahan. Monahan fans on what would have been a highlight-reel goal.
  • Ottawa sends the puck over the boards. Another chance for the Canadiens to do something on the power play.
  • Claude Giroux nearly breaks away versus Arber Xhekaj, but Roy comes back in support.
  • In the last second of the man advantage, Montreal finally gets a shot, but Korpisalo snags the shot from Caufield.
  • Montreal has, after nearly five periods, ramped up their effort to match that of the Senators, and they’ve started to generate a few chances since the power play.
  • But they still can’t stop the cycle, mostly because they’re reacting to where the puck is and not covering the places it can end up.
  • Another Canadiens power play.
  • Out of the box, MacEwen sets up Greig on a two-on-one that developed out of nowhere. Allen stopped him to keep it a 3-0 game.

Third period

  • An excellent setup from a line of Anderson, Nick Suzuki and Caufield does everything but get a goal. Korpisalo robs Caufield from in close.
  • Smart of St-Louis to take advantage of the one good shift Anderson plays to open a period.
  • Kaiden Guhle sends a shot through that gets tipped by Nate Pearson, bounces of Korpisalo’s pad, goes off the post, and slide across out the other side.
  • Another Caufield shift, another near miss.
  • The Habs have come out to play.
  • Montreal’s momentum gets stopped by Xhekaj laying a cross-check on Giroux away from the play.
  • Guhle joins Xhekaj in the box for a slash that broke a stick.
  • The penalties expire, and the Canadiens have 10-and-a-half minutes to score three goals.
  • Caufield misses a backdoor tap-in from Suzuki. In an alternate universe, he just tied this game with a hat-trick goal.
  • Johnny Kovacevic finally gets the puck to go in Ottawa’s net. It’s a 3-1 game.
  • Despite being a scratch for several games, Kovacevic has moved into a tie for ninth on the team goals list.
  • Caufield hits the post. The Bell Centre is going wild in dimension 5276B3ɑ.
  • Slafkovsky takes cross-ice feed, but looks to pass instead of shooting, and the Senators soon seal the 4-1 win with an empty-netter.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) After Garry Galley for nine Bruins goals, we needed this

2) One out of three ain’t bad

1) Clearly a new tactic is needed to get the message through on defensive play

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