Rivalries are fun.
The Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens have rarely disappointed in providing entertaining matchups throughout the decade, and this one was no exception. Taking on the Habs at the fired-up Bell Centre, the Sens were up for the task, coming close to grabbing the win. But Montreal ended up being the OT heroes, sealing the win by a score of 3-2.
The Sens set the tone early in the first period by dominating offensively, but their momentum was broken midway through as Cody Goloubef headed to the penalty box. It allowed Nick Cousins to open the scoring with a tip in front, which would be the only goal of the period.
The second period is where the rivalry started to come through, as penalties picked up significantly from both sides. A total of eight minor penalties were handed out, but despite most of the frame being spent with one team down a man, neither team could convert on their chances.
With the third period underway, Montreal struck really early — 29 seconds in — with Tomas Tatar growing the Sens’ deficit to two goals. That’s when the peskiness kicked in.
With Brendan Gallagher in the box for tripping, the Sens’ league-worst power play got to work. Their man-advantage goals have been few and far between this season, but Brady Tkachuk managed to work his magic, scoring his 11th goal of the season off a feed from Tyler Ennis.
Later in the period, Tkachuk picked up his second point of the night, as the Sens equalized the score. Tkachuk’s hard-nosed effort broke the puck loose in the offensive zone to get a shot on goal, with Connor Brown in the perfect position for the wide-open rebound. After two solid periods with no goals to show for, the Sens were repaid by completing the comeback. Overtime would be needed.
3v3 overtime never ceases to be exciting. This one in particular felt like the pace was a bit slower than normal, but with the amount of space the players have, it still had a handful of adrenaline-filled moments. Unfortunately it ended with a Habs goal, as Ben Chiarot’s shot sealing it off a silky pass from Max Domi.
Final score: Sens 2, Habs 3.
- Rookie goaltender Cayden Primeau earned his first NHL win at 20 years old, stopping 35 of 37 shots. Drafted 199th overall in 2017, he’s just further proof that teams don’t need to spend high draft picks to acquire good goalies.
- The Sens’ top pairing of Thomas Chabot and Dylan DeMelo were on fire all night. Their zone transitions were the cleanest I’ve seen them all year, seeing consistent success while putting the Habs’ defenders on their heels. It’s up there as one of Chabot’s best performances of the season, and the fact that it came while playing with DeMelo, Ottawa’s best two-way defenceman, should be no surprise.
- The skepticism with young players was extremely present in this game from D.J. Smith. Jonathan Davidsson and Logan Brown were the Sens’ two most benched players, with Davidsson playing a measly 5:55 total. Brown played 7:48 at 5v5, plus an additional three minutes on the second unit power play. It wouldn’t surprise me to see both of them sent back to Belleville soon, as players return from injuries.
- The Sens are currently tied for the league lead with eight bench penalties, after taking another too-many-men-on-the-ice infraction in this game. Oddly enough, they were 31st in this category in 2018-19, and 1st in 2017-18. The Guy Boucher era was a weird one.
- A few Sens players hit key milestones: Jean-Gabriel Pageau played his 400th career game, Ron Hainsey played his 1,100th career game, and Chabot’s assist in the second period was his 100th career point.
The Sens return home to face the Columbus Blues Jackets for a matinee game, December 14th at 1:00 PM.