The Ottawa Senators returned to the Canadian Tire Centre for Game 3 against the Montreal Canadiens. After losing the first two games of the series, the Sens needed to swing the momentum back in their direction, but unfortunately were unable to do so, losing 2-1 in overtime.
Carey Price assumed his usual position between the pipes for Montreal, while Ottawa shook things up in their net, giving Craig Anderson the start. Ottawa made another line-up change, bringing Chris Neil back into the game. Before the game got started, Ottawa paid tribute to Mark Reeds, their assistant coach who passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. The tribute was very moving, and certainly meant a lot to the players and coaching staff.
One thing is for sure, Ottawa came out swinging in the first period. To say that things got physical would be an understatement. Ottawa delivered 27 hits to Montreal's 16 in the first 20 minutes alone. Erik Karlsson had five hits of his own during that time.
The energy that the Senators generated in the first period was quickly erased in the second. Despite going on a power play within the first minute of the period, Ottawa wasn't able to recreate the same offensive energy that they had before.
Both Eric Gryba and Kyle Turris went to the penalty box in the second period, and Ottawa managed to kill off both penalties. The Sens' penalty kill has been a sore spot in this series, and there were times where it looked like those troubles were going to resurface (including a very loud post off a P.K. Subban shot). But Ottawa looked a lot better on the penalty kill in the second half of the period.
Overall, the Sens did not have a great second period (as usual). Montreal outshot them 19-6 and dominated the play. But the Sens held onto their 1-0 lead going into the third.
Two good things came out of the second period, Craig Anderson's performance, and this hit from Erik Karlsson...
Karlsson is in beast mode tonight pic.twitter.com/4GagUq5SmA— Drake Fenton (@drakefenton) April 20, 2015
Ottawa may have shaken off their mid-game blues, but the third period was no kinder to the nerves. A two-minute period of 4-on-4 play saw multiple odd-man rushes for both teams. Included in that list was a drive from Erik Karlsson, who took the puck away from Brendan Gallagher in the Ottawa zone and blasted by almost every Canadien player all the way to the other end of the ice. The play was broken up when he passed it to Mika Zibanejad, but it was pretty.
In the final four minutes of the game, Dale Weise tied it up for Montreal, picking up a loose puck and slipping it past Anderson, who was stuck at the other end of the net.
The Sens took a delay-of-game penalty in the final minutes, but would kill it off in superb fashion, sending this game to overtime.
Because Sens fans just haven't been through enough stress in the last two months, overtime came equipped with a Senators penalty. Curtis Lazar took a boarding penalty just over six minutes in, leading to a very tense two minutes for both the Sens and their fans. Ottawa managed to kill off the penalty, however Dale Weise scored under a minute later, winning it for Montreal and giving his team a 3-0 series lead.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
The captain brought it all tonight. With six hits, four shots, a point and over 30 minutes of ice time, he was a force to be reckoned with. Despite the result, he did everything he could to help his team win this game.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
Once again, despite the score, Anderson deserves full credit for a great game tonight. He stopped 47 of 49 shots, giving him a .959 SV%. When the team struggled in the second period, or during a penalty kill, Anderson was there to make some huge saves and keep his team in the game. With all the hype around Hammond, Anderson was left in the shadows during the Sens' miracle run. But tonight, he played his heart out and reminded us all that Hammond isn't the only star goalie on this team.
Sens Killer: Dale Weise
He scored both Montreal goals, and was once again the overtime hero for his team. Other than P.K. Subban, Weise was public enemy number one in Ottawa tonight. We could outline many reasons why Ottawa lost this game, but Dale Weise was one of them.
Sens Killer: Penalties
While Montreal (Dale Weise) didn't score any power-play goals, Ottawa took seven penalties. Montreal, on the other hand, only took three. Putting your team down a man seven times in a game is going to take its toll on players, give the other team more offensive zone time and tire out the goalie. This had to be both physically and mentally exhausting for everyone on the ice.
Shot Chart via ESPN:
Game Flow via Natural Stat Trick: