The Ottawa Senators just didn't get the bounces tonight, going down 2-1 to the Montreal Canadiens in what was quite honestly a boring game. In the end though, a loss is a loss and Ottawa falls back to .500 with a 7-7-0 record.
The first period was largely uneventful. The Senators had an early power play 2:54 into the game but failed to generate anything. Near the end of the first period, there was a scramble in front of the Senators net as the puck bounced around. Erik Karlsson knocked the net off to save a potential goal and received a delay of game penalty. The Senators killed that off with a minimum of fuss. The first period ended scoreless with the shots 12-4 in favour of the Canadiens.
Ottawa played a bit better in the second, and had a couple of decent chances, with Kaspars Daugavins setting up Zack Smith for a nice shot in the slot. The period appeared to also be winding down scoreless before a bouncing puck kept eluding the Senators defenders and eventually found out its way to Erik Cole who scored the game's first goal. Three minutes later, Erik Karlsson's attempted pass to Bobby Brutal was intercepted by Andrei Kostitsyn. Kostitsyn passed it to a wide open Lars Eller and just like that it was 2-0 Montreal. Ottawa had a power play late in the thid period, but it was taken away after a pretty sketchy goaltender interference call on Milan Michalek, much to Paul MacLean's displeasure.
Just a minute into the third period, Zack Smith got the Senators back in the game with a shorthanded goal after some nice work by Erik Condra. Montreal sat back for the rest of the game and Ottawa dominated the third period outshooting the Canadiens 16-4 in the period, including hitting the post late in the game. Craig Anderson was run over by Max Pacioretty towards the end of the game and the lack of a goaltender intereference call had Paul MacLean visibly upset. Ottawa did get a weak call for a power play late in the game, but failed to equalised on the 6-on-4 advantage.
All in all, the Senators didn't play too well, but neither did the Canadiens. This game could easily have gone the other way had the bounces gone Ottawa's way.
Read on for more.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
Anderson was pretty solid and made a lot of timely saves. The defence was much better in front of him but there were some clear cut chances, including a breakaway save. Anderson stopped 24 of 26 saves and gave the Senators a chance to win.
Honourable mention: Chris Phillips
Phillips had a solid night. Playing with Brian Lee again, Phillips was involved the whole night. He broke up plays, used his stick and laid out a couple of big hits, though he was only credit with one.
Honourable mention: Erik Karlsson
Karlsson's misplaced pass led to the winning goal, but Paul MacLean absolved Karlsson of that in his post-game comments, choosing to blame Bobby Butler for the play. Karlsson led all players with seven shots on the night and was one of Ottawa's most dangerous players offensively.
Sens Zero: Jason Spezza
I hate to single out Spezza again for the second straight game, but he didn't seem to be creating any chances tonight. He was held pointless for the third straight game and had no shots on the night. The Senators need him to produce to be able to win games on most nights.
Sens Killer: Bad luck
I don't want to make excuses for Ottawa, but I am going to anyway. The puck bounces around several times before Montreal's first goal. On the second goal, Karlsson makes a standard pass to Bobby Butler who moves the other way at the last second. Late in the third the Senators were pressuring Montreal but hit the post. There was a goaltender interference call on Milan Michalek and a couple that didn't get called on Montreal. Things just didn't go right for Ottawa tonight.
- Colin Greening played 21:04 and finished with four shots.
- Erik Karlsson now leads all Senators with 47 shots on the season but still has only one goal. He is on pace for 275 shots, which would have placed him 14th in the NHL last season.
- Nikita Filatov continues to struggle for ice time, playing only 7:18.
- Brian Lee struggled in his return and played only 14:26. Based on this performance, I'd expect to see David Rundblad back tomorrow.
- In the post-game comments linked above, Paul MacLean mentioned he asked the referees for clarification on the goaltender interference rule, because he didn't understand it tonight.
- Ottawa's seven losses have come in losing streaks of two, three and now another two games.