It wasn't a good first period for the Ottawa Senators. Andrew Hammond was back in net for the Sens, but it was a quiet start for the Sens who didn't record a shot on goal for the first ten minutes of the game. Things went from sleepy to bad when an early, high-sticking double-minor to Alex Chiasson led to an extended power play for a team that has trouble scoring goals. Ottawa had almost managed to kill off the four minute Montreal advantage, despite some good chances for the Habs, when a P.K. Subban blast from the point was redirected passed Hammond by Max Pacioretty in the slot. Ottawa went to the power play shortly after the Montreal goal, but couldn't get much generated. A bad chip in at the Habs blueline by Erik Karlsson went off Bobby Ryan and dropped right to Pacioretty. Ryan was unable to get a stick on the puck, and at the end of a long shift both Karlsson and Ryan didn't have enough gas to make up ground on Pacioretty, who scored his second of the night on a full break away. Ottawa spent more time in the Montreal zone in the second half of the frame, but on the whole it wasn't a good performance to start the game. The first ended with Montreal up by two, shots 12-8 in favour of the Habs.
Thankfully for the Sens, the second frame was the opposite of the first period. Early in the second Karlsson got Ottawa on the board with a slapshot top corner against Carey Price. The Sens managed to kill off the only penalty of the period (to Mike Hoffman), and the increase in pressure was rewarded late in the period when some nice passing between Erik Condra and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Pageau skated through the Montreal zone and fed Condra from the goal line for Condra's ninth of the season. It was a much better period for the Senators who drew even and led the shot count 9-7.
Ottawa had another great start in the third. Mark Stone scored just over a minute into the frame on the power play. The Sens were tested at the 5:42 mark when Matt Puempel took a bad penalty. In fairness to the rookie, P.A. Parenteau had his stick between Puempel's legs and the extra minor for drawing a little blood can sometimes seem harsh. Still, Puempel crosschecked Parenteau right in the face and as much as his offensive play has improved recently, obvious lack of discipline is likely to be a problem in Cameron's eyes. Ottawa managed to kill the double minor, but not without Mark Borowiecki literally running off the ice after taking a Subban slapshot to the face at point blank range. The kill was huge and concluded with Karlsson and Milan Michalek on a 2-on-1. Michalek sent a saucer pass to Karlsson who tipped his second of the game by Price. One second too late to be a shorthanded marker, it all but sealed Montreal's fate. Marc Methot added a fifth goal for Ottawa with his first strike of the season. After a dreadful effort in the first period, Ottawa was the much better team for the final two periods and it showed on the scoreboard. Ottawa wins 5-2, shots 29-28 in favour of Montreal.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
Karlsson followed up a quiet performance against the Bruins with a rough first period. His turnover led directly to Montreal's second goal. However, Karlsson was the best player on the ice in the final two periods. He kick started the comeback with his first goal, he assisted on Mark Stone's winner early in the third, and scored the next goal to put the Sens up by two and relieve some of the pressure. He's now leading defensemen and goals. Dude is amazing.
Sens Hero: Andrew Hammond
Not much he could do on either goal and shut the door the rest of the way, making a few tough saves too! With a 93.1 SV% tonight, he's making Dave Cameron's life difficult in a good way.
Honourable Mention: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Erik Condra, Curtis Lazar
This line continues to be awesome. Pageau against the Canadiens is almost a given at this point and there was some magic tonight to extend the legend, with a beauty assist on the Condra goal. The Condra goal was his ninth, and as reliable a player as he was before, when matched with linemates with some skill and speed, he looks like a different player. They were hard to play against all night and chipped in with a goal while drawing a penalty. Pretty terrific third line.
Sens Killer: Max Pacioretty
Pacioretty two quick, early goals almost made this a different kind of night. Ottawa always has trouble containing him and he get his trademark breakaway goal.
Shot chart via ESPN:
Game Flow via Natural Stat Trick:
Highlights via NHL.com: