Senators waste early 3-1 lead, lose to Canadiens 4-3

Hello there, embattled Sens fans.  You may be asking yourselves, "Why am I reading another Mark Parisi recap of a loss?"

Well, I can't answer that.  I wouldn't read my recaps of losses either.  What I can tell you is that despite your paranoid delusions, I am not part of a shadow government conspiracy to keep the team losing by informing them of my plans to recap that night.  It's just a coincidence, I promise. 

So, here's what went down:  Elliott let in a goal in the first minute, then Ottawa had a 5-on-3 but shockingly didn't score, but then Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson, and Michalek again scored and the team was sitting with a nice lead with about 29 minutes left.  Then about two minutes later, Montreal's Jeff Halpern had a shot go in off of Chris Campoli's skate in a crowd in front of the net, and the Sens decided the game was over -- they were outshot 13-6 and 16-2 over the final two periods.  Yikes.  For a more in depth recap, we're going to look at some post game quotes.

Erik Karlsson on if he has lost confidence this season:

"You know you're good."

Canadiens goalie Carey Price, on his night:

"I didn’t face a whole lot of work [...]"

Daniel Alfredsson, on the overall game:

"It’s obviously very frustrating to lose this one.  Playing as well as we did in the second, we had all the momentum. Then they get a good break off a skate on their second goal and fight their way back in.  Third period was pretty even. They make the most of a turnover and pounce on a loose puck. It’s a tough loss for us."

And finally, coach Cory Clouston on his team's effort:

"We got up 3-1 and then completely changed our game, for whatever reason … I don’t know."

Well said, coach.  I sure don't know myself.  You're the coach, though, so please figure it out.

Oh, and one more thing happened.  THE ROBIN LEHNER ERA HAS BEGUN.

(read on to find out what that means...)

Since this was a weird, weird game, I think we're going to do a non-traditional recap.  No heroes or zeroes in this one.  Instead, here are some things I liked and loathed about these lost two points that we're probably going to wish we had come March and April.

Loved: Robin Lehner's three-save performance.  The proverbial poo hit the literal fan when Brian Elliott did not start the third period.  Apparently, he stepped on the ice and stepped right back off, as his true prima donna nature came out after many years hidden -- there was an issue with his skates, and so Robin Lehner's dad's son's first NHL action came with the game tied 3-3 in the third period.  No pressure.  But the kid was up to it, and turned in three saves -- including one great one -- before Elliott was ready to come back in.  Small sample size, but it was good to see him handle some pressure and not crack. 

Loathed:  Watching Elliott get deked hard to allow the first goal to Brian Gionta.  If you're going to challenge at the top of the crease, you'd better be able to come across and cover the gap you leave open if the skater goes around you.

Loved: Watching Elliott recover from a brutal start to give his team a chance to win the game.

Loathed: Milan Michalek getting simply outrun by Brian Gionta to allow the first goal.  His speed isn't back yet.

Loved: Michalek scoring two goals through hard work.

Loathed:  Jarkko Ruutu's eight(!) minutes in penalties.  His role is supposed to be a pest, but he has to be smart with that kind of play and he wasn't.  The person he irritated the most tonight was Clouston, who benched him after the fourth penalty, a needless roughing call with 7:36 remaining in the game.  It was a momentum killer for the Sens, and the Habs scored less than four minutes later.

Loved: Erik Karlsson's first goal of the year.  His offensive skills aren't in question... he was a plus two on the night.

Loathed: Matt Carkner being a minus three on a night where I felt he was the team's best defender. 

Loved: Daniel Alfredsson absolutely ripping a shot at Carey Price.  Alfie's rocket hit the crossbar, and Michalek was there to clean it up for an easy goal.  The captain still has something left.

Loathed: Alex Kovalev in general.  He may not have anything left.  His play tonight was as disinterested as I've ever seen.  Kovalev floated all over the ice and watched the play most of the night.  He could have had a goal if he did more than poke at a puck in the crease.  This guy is pursuing 1000 points and playing for a new contract? 

Loved: Seeing Mike Fisher continue his play from last game.  Though his line was held pointless, they caused a lot of havoc out there.  It's not a coincidence that everyone on the top line had two-point nights. 

Loathed:  This shot chart.  Pathetic. 


Game highlights:

All right, that's it.  I could go on, but I'm sure you have your own lists.  Post them in the comments section!

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