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Senators can't overcome a terrible first period, lose 3-1 to the Canadiens

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A recap of the Ottawa Senators 3-1 loss to the Montréal Canadiens on 12 December 2015.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators came out firing and played a great, physical first period, out-hitting the Canadiens 19-12. Wait no that is actually irrelevant. They got out-shot 27-8 in the period and out-scored 2-0, eventually losing 3-1 at the end of the night.

The Canadiens got a great chance right from the start and soon after Mike Hoffman had a glorious one himself just two minutes in. Based on that extremely small time period, it could have been a very exciting and open game. There were lots of chances in the rest of the period, but they were mostly in the Habs favour. Just a few seconds after Hoffman's chance, Nathan Bealieu skated in around the net and Marc Methot was slow to respond to the wraparound attempt. Anderson stopped the initial shot but the rebound bounced off Erik Karlsson's stick and fell to Brian Flynn to tap into an empty net.

The Habs kept their foot on the gas, continuing to dominate the rest of the period. Karlsson was called for a penalty midway through the period though the Senators were able to escape that without a goal conceded. Max Pacioretty had a partial breakaway but was cut off by Karlsson before he could get off a dangerous attempt. Despite some awful play, Ottawa looked set to go into the intermission down only one goal. However, Turris was stripped off the puck leading to Pacioretty scoring on a beautiful shot to put the Habs up 2-0.

The second period started in much the same way the first ended. The Senators had a good chance on a dangerous rush but Alex Chiasson's pass went into Karlsson's skates. Karlsson swung the puck in Chiasson's direction but the pass was intercepted and led to an odd-man rush the other way which Jeff Petry converted.

The Canadiens appeared to have gone up 4-0 shortly after but that was disallowed due to Pacioretty intentionally gloving the puck into the net. Before the goal was disallowed, Craig Anderson had already skated off, giving Chris Driedger his first NHL action of the season.

From this point onwards, the Senators dominated the game and had the majority of the scoring chances. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored, because of course he did, when Tokarski gave up a big rebound on Chiasson's shot, leaving Pageau with the simple task of tapping it in.

The Senators had many chances to make it a one-goal game heading into the third, including a wobbly Patrick Wiercioch shot that hit the crossbar, but the Canadiens were able to hold on. This continued into the third period with the Senators creating numerous chances, including a 5-on-3 and Hoffman hitting the post. In the end, the first period deficit buried them and the Canadiens skated away deserved winners.

It is hard to pick heroes and zeroes for a game like this. The Senators played their worst period of the season in the first and it is hard to think of a player that wasn't awful in the first frame. After that the Senators played pretty well, in part due to score effects, but one can't really pick out a player as having had a good game.

Sens killer: Max Pacioretty
As always, Pacioretty had a dominant game against Ottawa. He had eight shots on goal, a goal, and another goal that was disallowed. That partial breakaway was close enough to the one that he gets every game against the Sens.

Sens killer: Dave Cameron
How long is this Mark Borowiecki experiment going to go on? That is not the reason they lost, but the coach is not giving his team the best chance to win. Also continuing to go with Zack Smith instead of Mike Hoffman on the first power play unit is mind-boggling, especially when the Senators desperately needed a goal at the time.

Things will not get any easier for the Senators with a game at home against the Pacific Division leading Kings on Monday and then travelling to Washington on Wednesday for a game against the Metropolitan Division leaders.