With Jean-Gabriel Pageau already out of the lineup, this game felt a bit hopeless heading into the beginning. The Habs-killer wasn’t needed, however, as the Ottawa Senators rallied past the Montreal Canadiens to defeat them 4-3 in a tense and exciting overtime.
Right out of the gate, both teams had A+ scoring chances that could’ve each easily resulted in a goal with a lucky bounce. Defence from both teams, or rather a lack of it, quickly turned into the theme of the evening. Considering combined the two teams have Mark Borowiecki, Ben Harpur, Karl Alzner and Mike Rielly in their top four, it’s the type of loose matchup you would expect.
The Sens ran into penalty trouble early, with Thomas Chabot headed to the box. The PK units killed it with ease, although were quickly sent back to work with a hi-sticking call on Chris Wideman. A shot by Jeff Petry and a few bounces later, the Habs were up 1-0, credited to Max Domi.
Being there for the game, the atmosphere was reminiscent of the Leafs takeovers whenever they come to town, although on an even larger scale. With the CTC at the fullest it’s been all season, I’d estimate that the crowd contained ~75% Habs fans, 22% Sens fans and the customary 3% Leafs fans. It was home ice for the Habs, just without the goal horn.
Montreal took an early 2-0 lead shortly afterwards, with a defensive breakdown by Chabot and DeMelo leading to a goal for Philip Danault. Although the shot was hot, it’s one that Craig Anderson would’ve liked to have back.
The high-scoring first period just kept on rolling. The Sens had a scramble in front of Carey Price, with Chris Tierney picking up the puck. He found Mark Stone wide open on the side, and with Price on his stomach, he buried the puck to bring Ottawa back within one. Chris Tierney’s assist also ensured that his seven-game point streak continued.
Max Lajoie nearly potted his 5th (!!!) goal of the season on a power play, as his shot cleanly beat Price, but not the post. Montreal was able to reclaim their two goal lead, however, this time by the stick of Paul Byron. With Chris Wideman defending the middle, a pass to the slot snuck through his defensive pose to Byron. Anderson was left to fend for himself, and Montreal capitalized. 3-1 for Les Habitants, as the buzzer sounded for first intermission.
Then began the comeback.
The goal of the night belonged to Mikkel Boedker, who all alone charged past Jordie Been towards the Habs’ net, and snuck in a short side shot over Montreal’s stunned goalie. It was highlight-reel material, on a night that saw offensive flashes from many players. Heck, even Tom Pyatt had a fast rush down the middle splitting the Montreal defence. The offence started getting to work.
With Ottawa later back on the power play, excellent puck movement from the top unit evened the score. With Bobby Ryan manning the point, Price fell for his fake shot, which opened up the entire left side of the net, which just so happened to be the side where Matt Duchene was ready for a one-timer. His shot had too much firepower for anyone to block it, tying the game at 3-3.
The first half of the third period saw the offence toned down, as both teams played it safe with the game tied. Ottawa got a bit more creative with time ticking down, however, as the line of Dzingel-Tierney-Stone nearly put Ottawa up with an impressive sequence of crisp passes. Stone’s rebound shot nearly shattered the post, and the ensuing scrum put Ottawa back on the man advantage.
The pucks must’ve been switched out at that point, as it seemed everything began bouncing a bit more. Clean passes were harder to come by, which resulted in a slew of giveaways at both ends. The goalies managed to hold down the fort for the remaining time, however, as for the second time this season, the Sens were headed to overtime.
Unlike the first overtime against Chicago earlier this month (let’s not talk about that one), this OT boasted much more excitement, just as 3-on-3 OT was meant to be. An odd man rush one way, a breakaway in the other direction. Dzingel and Tierney each had glorious chances to end it, although a miss and a whiff later and they’d be on their heels.
The ending couldn’t have been any better, with a beautiful passing sequence involving Duchene giving Stone the puck to seal the deal. The iconic #StoneFace celebration drowned out the Habs fans, with the entire team fired up. It was Mark Stone, again!
- Aside from scoring twice, including the game-winner, Mark Stone was on another level in all aspects. He drove offence, threw hits, and backchecked harder than any other forward. Pay that man his money.
- Mikkel Boedker also deserves a shoutout for that smooth goal.
- Matt Duchene blocked a shot with his ankle in the second period, and seemed to favour it a bit. He continued for the rest of the game, although it could be something to keep an eye on.
- The defence was leaky tonight on both sides, although for Ottawa the biggest culprits appeared to be Mark Borowiecki and Christian Jaros. Despite their limited ice time, they were on the ice for more shot attempts against at 5v5 than any other Senator.
- Craig Anderson continues to pull out the W’s. His 24 saves was enough to pull them to victory.
- Love him or hate him, tonight was Bob Cole’s last night calling a game in Ottawa. The entire team gave him the stick salute, as his iconic voice and incredible longevity has made him a legend in the hockey world.
The Sens complete their five game homestand on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins.