Habs Lose 4-3 In A Shootout vs Sens

Photo by Andre Ringuette NHLI / via Getty Images

Photo by Andre Ringuette NHLI / via Getty Images

Habs Lose 4-3 In A Shootout vs Sens

The Habs lost in a shootout vs the Senators, Saturday night, despite battling back from a 2-0 deficit to grab the lead late in the 3rd period. It was an exciting recovery, but when all was said and done, they lost in a disappointing shootout as the Senators bested them in Game 2 of the regular season.

In what began as a terrible start for the Habs, the game picked up in excitement and intensity when the Canadiens fought to pick up a second win. For a while, it looked as though they would score the victory but the Senators – and a dismal shoot-out – saw to it that they would pick up only the single point.

Jeff Petry was back in the line-up for the first time since last season, having missed 31 games due to injury and hernia surgery, and his presence was immediately felt on the ice. Carey Price, it was announced, is fighting a “severe flu”, home with fever and antibiotics, and the rumorists are having a field day with the announcement (which went out on Twitter Friday afternoon):

 

Whatever you do, if you want to avoid the silliness, don’t search for “Carey Price” on Twitter; there’s even a trending “Carey Price antibiotics” thread.

Al Montoya, however, again proved that the team can remain confident with a solid goaltender backing up Price, and though the Habs lost, Montoya kept the score to where it was throughout the game.

Here’s how it played out:

First Period: Shots 13-6 Ottawa

Goals: Ryan Dzingel (Chris Wideman, Erik Karlsson) 6:37; Zack Smith (Chris Wideman, Bobby Ryan), 15:50

The first period was not a good one for the Habs. They didn’t seem to have the same puck control they exhibited on Thursday night, and as a result, they lost battles and opportunities.

The first goal was scored when Ryan Dzingel took a shot on Al Montoya, grabbed the rebound and buried it. That goal seemed to energize Ottawa as much as deflate Montreal, and the period unfolded in sloppy, disorganized fashion.

The best opportunity for the Habs came on a power play when Phil Varone went off for 2 minutes on a tripping penalty. The Habs not only didn’t let up, they were also given an extra advantage when faced with a Senators player who broke his stick.

Yet even with the shots they took on that power play, they were unable to capitalize, and seconds after it ended, Zack Smith deflected the puck into the net to make it 2-0 Ottawa. Montoya had no chance against that goal.

To add insult to injury, the Habs were penalized on a holding penalty against Torrey Mitchell, called at the buzzer, and began the 2nd period with a deficit.

Second Period: Shots 10-8 Ottawa

Goal: Jeff Petry (PPG; Nathan Beaulieu, Tomas Plekanec), 15:28

The second period began with a successful penalty kill, but didn’t unfold quite the way Habs fans would have liked it to: with more organized play. Jeff Petry got the team on the board late in the period, with a beautiful shot from the far side of the circle, on a great pass from Nathan Beaulieu. Not only did it break the shut-out, it also broke the power-play goal curse, as the Habs had already gone 0 for 2 this game.

Here’s the goal:

The 2nd period saw Montreal battle a 4-on-3 penalty, and stave off Ottawa, generally playing slightly better than the 1st. But they still trailed by 1, and were not the same tape-to-tape team as they were 2 nights earlier in Buffalo.

Third Period: Shots 11-8 Ottawa

Goals:

  • Artturi Lehkonen (Philip Danault, Shea Weber), 2:50; Jeff Petry (Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher), 9:00
  • Tom Pyatt (Ryan Dzingel, Jean-Gabriel Pageau), 17:27

The 3rd period brought the kind of excitement that made the game feel like a playoff match. New to the roster, Artturi Lehkonen (who was instrumental in Petry’s first goal) scored his first in the NHL, when he tipped the puck under Craig Anderson‘s pads. You need a few perspectives to really understand how this was scored, and it was a perfect way to tie the game:

Directly after that goal, the Habs found themselves – again – with two men in the box, and an almost impossible task of defending against a 5-on-3. However, they did it beautifully, holding Ottawa off

Almost halfway through the period, Jeff Petry scored his second, from the blue line, on a feed from Alex Galchenyuk. Putting the Habs ahead, it came just as a penalty on Dion Phaneuf expired, so the Habs still had momentum.

 

From then, the excitement mounted. Things got contentious (Chris Neil was his usual goon-self throughout the game), but the Habs held it together, and continued to keep Ottawa at bay with Montoya doing a great job and the rest of the team clearing the crease as needed.

But with almost 2 minutes till the end of the game, former Canadiens forward, Tom Pyatt, put one past Montoya, tied the game, and brought it to OT.

Overtime: 4-2 Ottawa

It was a full 5-minute overtime, and to be honest, I enjoy the 3-on-3. It’s a battle of strategy, speed, luck, and goaltending prowess, and it was really fun to watch this one. Both teams got close, but neither scored. Still, Ottawa outshot Montreal throughout the game, OT being no exception.

Shootout

Here’s where the disappointment occurred – besides not winning the game, the choices made for the shootout were not, in my opinion, the best.

Shooters:

Senators                                      Canadiens

  • Kyle Turris                              Alexander Radulov  
  • Bobby Ryan   X                        Max Pacioretty    X
  • Derrick Brassard X                  Alex Galchenyuk  X
  • Erik Karlsson   ✓                     David Desharnais X

Radulov, a surprising choice, put the puck under the bar, and got the hopes of all Habs fans roaring back. But David Desharnais, who can score on the shootout, failed to do so in Ottawa. Last season, Desharnais was 0/3 in the shootout, but we know Michel Therrien has a strange affinity for Desharnais. He plays #51 on the power play, penalty kill, overtime, and now a shootout spot, despite having other potential shooters.

Daniel Carr, who had a tremendous goal in Game 1 this season, might have been a good choice. Artturi Lehkonen, who was instrumental this game, could also have been chosen. I realize it’s easy to play armchair coach – especially after a game – but with a do-or-die situation, a game on the line, and the recent record of a player’s shootout goals readily known, Desharnais was not the best choice for the moment.

Takeaways From Game 2

  • The team is still, apparently, getting the chemistry right. Michel Therrien did play Blend-a-Line by the third period, moving Radulov up to the top line with Plekanec, and Galchenyuk/Gallagher down to the second line. It took time, though, and if Therrien is going to break out of his inability – or reluctance – to make changes on the fly, he has to start now.
  • No, Montreal did not play like a winning team through the first 2 periods, but it stings that the shootout was the undoing of this team. It wasn’t on Montoya, either; Ottawa has strong shooters, and they went 2/4.
  • Al Montoya is trustworthy to carry the torch in nets while Carey Price is recovering – it will be a good season with a goaltender of his caliber playing for the Habs.
  • This was a nice moment, as Torrey Mitchell obtained the game puck for Artturi Lehkonen’s first goal in the NHL:
Photo by Andre Ringuette, NHLI / via Getty Images

Photo by Andre Ringuette, NHLI / via Getty Images

  • It’s just Game 2. This is a long season, and there is a lot to come. Once the lines gel, with each new team they face and each challenge they encounter, there’s no reason this team cannot overcome last season’s gloomy trajectory and prevail into the playoffs.

So I will take my own advice, and relax; 80 games left and I’ve got high hopes for the majority of them to be exciting and triumphant.

The next game is the Habs home opener, at the Bell Centre, Tuesday evening vs the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s likely to be a high point for our team in the season, with player introductions, a probable video opening on the screen and on the ice – as is the hallmark of the Montreal Canadiens’ organization – and no doubt a very dynamic game against the current Stanley Cup champs.

Puck drops at 7:30, but if you are going to the game, or watching it, start early so you don’t miss the Show part of the evening.

 

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2 Responses to Habs Lose 4-3 In A Shootout vs Sens

  1. I can not believe that Therrien would send his boy DD out for a crucial shoot out shot…it does not matter what kind of team we ice Therrien will screw it up..
    DD was 0/4 last year..what the heck is he doing on the PK/PP/Shootout..just another reason Therrien has to go..DD is not even an average player but Therrien treats him like he is our best player..someone please wake him up b4 he destroys another season. The guys fought back from a 2 goal deficit and even took the lead but all was wasted by his choice of shooters…

    Phil Turnbull October 16, 2016 at 8:54 am Reply
  2. how can Therrien justify using DD on the shootout.. 0/4 last year but being one of Therriens boys he gets to play the PP/PK/Shootout. Put him out on a crucial shot when if we do not score and it is over….Therrien will destroy this season like he did last..whats next trade Price cause he is not well…the boys made an excellent comeback only to lose on a shot (actually missed shot as he lost the puck).He never even got the puck to the goalie…can we say ,,here we go again….

    Phil Turnbull October 16, 2016 at 9:00 am Reply

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