The Ottawa Senators continue to find new and more spectacular ways to lose. For the second straight game against Montreal they gave up a 3 goal cushion, but this time there wasn’t as much drama as the last time they met.
For the first 5 or 6 minutes, it looked like the Ottawa Senators should be Stanley Cup contenders rather than playoff pretenders, but that illusion went up in smoke as they blew a 3-0 lead and allowed 7 unanswered goals to fall 7-3 to their archrival Montreal Canadiens.
Ottawa got off the ball quickly, drawing a penalty on a good scoring chance just 10 seconds into the game. They didn’t score on that power play but Zack Smith did get the Senators on the board shortly after it expired. Smith knocked a rebound of a Chris Phillips shot past Peter Budaj, Ales Hemsky tipped Patrick Wiercioch‘s point shot past Budaj shortly after that and then Smith one-timed a nice feed from Mika Zibanejad to make it 3-0 before the 6 minute mark, and the Senators had quieted the Montreal half of the crowd that occupied Canadian Tire Centre.
The, the roof caved in. The turning point was a single shift where Habs defenseman Jarred Tinordi belted Ales Hemsky with a huge open ice hit. The puck ended up getting dumped into the Ottawa corner and Andrei Markov threw it at the net from below the goal line. Craig Anderson left the post early and the puck slipped off his pads and through his legs. Mike Weaver‘s point shot eluded a screened Anderson to make it 2-0 and Max Pacioretty tied it up before the period was out on a breakaway, making Anderson open his legs and tucking it home.
The rest of the game is pretty much a blur. Ottawa outshot Montreal 30-12 over the last 40 minutes, but never looked in control as Montreal scored 4 more times on those 12 shots. Pacioretty scored 2 more to get the hat trick and added 2 assists, with Lars Eller and David Desharnai adding one each. The game got nasty at times, with multiple altercations happening at various times between the expected (Eric Gryba and Jarred Tinordi) and the unexpected (Erik Karlsson and Alex Galchenyuk).
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- If the turning point was the Tinordi hit followed by the Markov goal, the moment the Senators probably figured it wasn’t their night came seconds after Eller’s goal made it 4-3. The Senators appeared to have scored with Chris Neil tying the game, but it was ruled that there was incidental contact with the goaltender as Smith shoved the Montreal defenseman down and he slid into Budaj. It was a missed call and apparently unreviewable.
- It was an embarrassing effort for Anderson, who allowed all 7 goals on 23 shots.
- Pacioretty apparently had some type of cloaking device, because the Senators never seemed to know where he was on the ice. Two of his goals were on breakaways, and he didn’t even score on half of the in-alone opportunities he had.
The Senators might be on a very slippery slope, because they have no time to lick their wounds, traveling to the big Apple to take on the Rangers Saturday night.