The Senators took on the Montreal Canadiens for the sixth time this year and for the third time in the last ten days. They went 2-2-1 against the Habs in the first five meetings, the most recent a 2-1 shootout victory in Ottawa exactly one week ago. With the gap closing between Sens and 9th place, and only 8 games remaining, the team looked for an important two points against the eastern conference’s worst team.
It didn’t take long for Craig Anderson to get back into the game, unfortunetaly it wasn’t the way he was hoping. Erik Cole broke into the Sens zone and flicked a wrister behind Anderson and into the net just 29 seconds in. Montreal maintained control and Cole got his second of the night just a few minutes later. With two goals on four shots and just under 5 minutes played, Anderson’s night seemed to be over.
Ben Bishop came in for relief however the team in front of him wasn’t playing any better and Bishop alone couldn’t stop the path this game was on. Too many odd man rushes and bad reboud clearings led to another quick two goals. With Gonchar in the box for hooking, Montreal went to the power play and didn’t make any mistakes, capitalizing just 6 seconds in. It was Erik Cole again, completing the hat trick just over five minutes into the game. The night would get even worse when Nokelainen came in on a two on one with Palushaj and made it 4-0.
And just like that, Sens had themselves down by 4 before even hitting the ten minute mark of the opening frame. There would be a small consolation as Jason Spezza blasted one past Carey Price with 13 seconds left in the period to put Sens on the board.
An interesting decision by Paul MacLean brought Craig Anderson back into the game to start the second after being pulled early. Sens began the period shorthanded after fights following the end of the first period left Neil with a two minute penalty and a game misconduct. After killing the penalty, Sens finally began playing their game. The had a few offensive chances and what appeared to be a goal until it was waved offed. Daniel Alfredsson batted a flying puck past Price but it was deemed a high stick and with the video review inconclusive, the call on the ice stood. The Sens had a much better period, getting 16 shots on Price and Anderson stopping all 10 he faced, but it remained 4-1 heading into the third.
As time went on Sens hopes of a comeback seemed more and more unlikely. It got worse when Foligno was sent to the box for roughing on what should’ve been coincidental minors – if anything at all. However only Foligno’s retalition was called and Habs went to the powerplay. Their second pp goal of the night made it a 5-1 game. By the end of the night Sens had been short handed 8 times, and had 5 players with misconducts: Foligno, Neil (x2), Konopka, Cowen, and Smith. The Sens suffered a disappointing loss, unable to make up for their slow start.
*** SenShot’s Three Stars ***
1. Erik Cole: Scored three goals within the first six minutes of the game to get himself the hat trick and virtually kill Ottawa’s chances before they even started.
2. Carey Price: Didn’t have an overload of quality chances against but made the saves he needed to. Stopped — of – shots he faced.
3. Jason Spezza: Spezza had a milestone night playing in his 600th career game. Though it wasn’t one to remember he was the best of the worst and had the Sens only goal.
The Sens play as of late has certainly been concerning to say the least and their playoff push isn’t getting any easier. With the loss tonight, Buffalo and Washington are both just two points back. Ottawa desperately needs to win their next game which will tough as they take on the red hot Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night at Scotiabank Place. Until then, Sens Fans.