Ottawa didn’t want to leave anything to chance, and they did not as they took care of business in Montreal, downing the Habs 6-1 to eliminate the Canadiens in 5 games and advance to the second round of the playoffs. Cory Conacher scored twice for Ottawa, while Erik Condra had a goal and two assists. Tough guy Matt Kassian had two assists, as did Jean-Gabriel Pageau. For 40 minutes it was closer than the final score would indicate, as the Canadiens ran out of gas in the third and ran into penalty trouble that the Senators capitalized upon.
Montreal came out with a purpose, forcing Anderson to make 2 or 3 quality stops in the first couple of shifts. But it was Ottawa who got on the board first as Budaj couldn’t control the rebound on Matt Kassian’s shot and the puck bounced to Smith who put it in the yawning cage. Montreal again pressed, and again Anderson,(with a little help from his iron friends behind him) was equal to the task. After weathering another burst, the Senatoors doubled the lead when Cory Conacher knocked a loose puck in the crease are past Budaj, after Jean-Gabriel Pageau drove to the net and dished to Conacher. A late penalty to Daniel Alfredsson proved costly as P.K. Subban wired a shot off the cross bar and in with just 15 seconds left to get some life back into the Bell Centre.
The pace settled a little in the early going of the second period, but things picked up when the teams exchanged too many men on the ice penalties, and shortly after Colby Armstrong hit the post on a shorthanded breakaway, Ottawa regained the two goal lead with a shorthanded goal of their own. Kyle Turris drove the net as Erik Condra carried the puck into the Montreal zone. Turris stopped short of the crease, but was shoved by Tomas Plekanec on top of Price. While this was happening, Condra shot the puck at the net and it went in off Turris, who was on his hands and knees in the crease. The Canadiens and the Montreal crowd didn’t like it, but the goal stood after review.
Montreal didn’t have much left in the third period and they started taking penalties that didn’t help their cause. Daniel Alfredsson put an end to any hope of a comeback on a power play, wiring a shot past a screened Budaj to make it 4-1. Conacher scored his second of the game with seven and a half minutes left, on the man advantage and then Condra made it a rout with Ottawa’s third power play goal of the period to make it 6-1.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
It might not seem like it at the end by looking at the boxscore, but Craig Anderson kept the Canadiens off the board early on when they were pressing and fired 17 shots on him in the first period. If not for his stellar play, Ottawa would not have gotten the opportunity to run away and hide in the game where Montreal basically gave up in the third period.
Ottawa will have a few days off until their next opponent is decided. All signs point to Pittsburgh, who shut out the Islanders 4-0 Thursday night to take a 3-2 series lead.