The Ottawa Senators got offense from greybeards Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Phillips along with the first career goal from young Mika Zibanejad to help them defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. Jim O’Brien and Chris Neil also bulged the twine for the Senators. The loss for the Canadiens snapped their four game winning streak, while Ottawa won their second straight contest.
Sergei Gonchar was a late scratch with a lower body injury, joining Jason Spezza on the shelf, which makes the victory over Montreal that much sweeter. Gonchar is expected to be short-term, while there is still no word on the severity of Spezza’s upper body ailment.
Zack Smith and Ryan White set the tone for the game with a scrap just 1:27 in. An early power play opportunity for the Canadiens paid off as they crashed the net a couple of times and were rewarded with Tomas Plekanec sliding one off Craig Anderson‘s own skate and in just after the 5 minute mark. Off the ensuing faceoff, Neil and Brandon Prust squared off, with Neil landing at least two very solid shots in a long bout. Neil was assessed the instigator, and rightly so, giving Montreal’s dangerous power play unit back to back power chances. The Senators managed to kill that one off, and quickly responded with Jim O’Brien chipping a rebound past Budaj to even the score just before the 8 minute mark. Budaj kept it even with a pair of great saves in about a second, stopping Alfredsson on a bad angle shot, and Michalek on the rebound from about 3 feet away. Ottawa continued a parade to the penalty box, but were able to kill off the rest of the chances and escape the period without further damage.
It continued to be a fiesty affair in the second, and Ryan White took a very costly double minor as the middle of the frame approached. Moments after he took a shot that went off the post and the crossbar, Alfredsson one-timed a rebound to give the Senators the lead. With the second of the White minors about to expire, Zibanejad wired a shot from the top of the circle that deflected off a Habs defenseman and bounced over Budaj’s shoulder. Ottawa held a 3-1 lead just past the halfway point of the game. Chris Phillips teed up a shot from the slot that beat Budaj 5 hole to add to the lead. It was a great second period for the Senators as they went to the room after 40 minutes with a 3 goal lead.
Montreal came out with some jump in the third, but Anderson weathered the early storm, no more telling example of his dominance and the zone his is in than the look on Prust’s face when he was absolutely robbed of a sure goal in the first five minutes of the period. Ottawa turned thepressure on in the final 10 minutes, pinning the Habs in their own end. Neil added one on a nice wraparound that slipped under Budaj with just over 5 minutes left to cap the scoring.
- Hate to beat a dead horse, but Guillaume Latendresse is like an anchor on the ice. Or he is carrying one. I can’t believe he was in the lineup, after speculation that he would be a scratch surfaced earlier in the day.
- The balanced offence of the Senators is very encouraging. Paul MacLean is using everybody in any role and it looks like they are having fun. It also allows the Senators to be patient with the likes of Jakob Silfverberg (and even Latendresse).
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Once again, Anderson stole the show.He made 31 saves, many of them of the headshaking variety as he continues to be in some kind of zone that is foreign to Ottawa goaltenders.
The Senators head to Carolina for a Friday night contest before heading to Montreal for a matinee affair on Sunday afternoon.