Tonight’s game between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators had been circled on the calendar since April 5th by the fans and probably also the players.
The Canadiens and their fans were livid at Tim Stützle drawing a very clear kneeing penalty, laying down for a bit, and then staying on the same powerplay. Many (including Brendan Gallagher) called him out for “faking” despite the fact that he missed the next two games from that same play. Stützle seemed to be in the heads of the Canadiens players and fans, making tonight’s game a fun one to look forward to. Thomas Chabot also surprisingly came off the IR tonight, adding to the intrigue.
You could tell fans were excited for this one as it was almost a full building. Ottawa would get the first lead of the game in the strangest first career goal you’ll ever see. Scott Sabourin came down the ice and fired it wide into the corner. On the ricochet, Mark Kastelic got to the puck by the board and fired it towards Carey Price. It somehow got past Price but went in and out very quickly, making it look like it wasn’t even a goal. Kastelic didn’t even realize it went in, and after Michael Pezzetta hit him hard, the two of them began to fight:
How many players can say their first career goal came while they were in a fight?
Meanwhile, you could tell that there was legitimate bad blood between Stützle, Gallagher, and others, as there were constant crosschecks and rough play. What was the strangest was that both players were getting booed due to the amount of Habs fans in attendance. It was only a matter of time before things exploded.
The Canadiens were constantly pressuring the Senators in the first period, and Rem Pitlick was finally able to tie the game with 4:03 left. Pitlick was left wide open in front of the net, and Jake Evans was able to get it to him just in time. Anton Forsberg had no chance on the play, and the period ended at 1-1 despite the shots being 16-6 for Montreal. However, that wasn’t all that happened in the first 20 minutes.
Stützle drew a slashing penalty, which for some reason sent the Canadiens into a hissy fit:
Garbage from Montreal again. Should be an extra penalty for them if we’re calling pity little slashes on Sabourin earlier. pic.twitter.com/yxOEIqWCgN— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) April 23, 2022
It’s fair to say that Stützle was so far deep into their heads.
The second period was incredibly eventful as Ottawa took control of the game. It all started with Austin Watson scoring his sixth goal in 13 games on a tip in front of the net:
Not long after, Gallagher and Stützle got into a scuffle again, as they clearly did not feel like things were settled. Luckily for Ottawa, Gallagher was the only one who got a penalty on the play, as Stützle was smartly taking it and not retaliating:
Gallagher goes after Stützle and gets penalized. KIDS ARE WATCHING BRENDAN!!! pic.twitter.com/pZpYO2M4Mt— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) April 24, 2022
It seemed like a situation where the Canadiens were just getting taken off their game for no real reason. Although Ottawa didn’t score on that powerplay, they would end up scoring three goals in 1:07. Parker Kelly was the first one to add to the lead, making it 3-1. It was his fourth point in four games as he continues to look like an NHLer:
Then just 32 seconds after that, Josh Norris got one of the luckiest goals he’ll ever score. At first it looked like Brady Tkachuk might’ve scored his 30th of the season, but the puck went off Norris’ skate before going in:
And to finish off the trifecta (which was the second-fastest they’ve ever scored three goals), Kastelic scored his second of the game and his career on a nifty move to beat Carey Price in close. The game was quickly getting out of hand as the Canadiens couldn’t seem to defend anything:
2ND OF THE NIGHT, 2ND IN HIS CAREER!!!— Pesky Sickos (@PeskySickos) April 24, 2022
Mark Kastelic is left wide open right in front of Price where he makes no mistake burying the puck on his backhand.
5-1 #Sens #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/WaKfr6Ef3Z
However, the game was far from over, as it wasn’t even at the halfway mark yet. Montreal could’ve easily sat back and given up, but sadly for Ottawa, they did not. Just one minute after making it 5-1, Mike Hoffman (everyone’s favourite) connected with Cole Caufield on a 2-on-1 to get the Canadiens within three. Forsberg had no chance on the play, as Caufield was wide open on the far side.
With 2:43 left in the period, Joel Edmundson would make the game interesting again. Ottawa was on a delayed penalty when Evans fed a streaking Edmundson at the top of the zone, and he fired it past Forsberg to make it 5-3. It was beginning to look like a long and difficult game even though it was almost a laugher.
The Senators were on the penalty kill right after, and Montreal had a chance to get within one goal before heading into the third period. However, Alex Formenton made sure that wasn’t going to happen:
It was his third goal in three games after going the previous 11 without one. After 40 minutes, Ottawa had a seemingly comfortable 6-3 lead.
Although 6-3 seemed comfortable in theory, the Canadiens never stopped battling, and Pitlick proved that with 11:41 left in the game. Brendan Gallagher’s spin-o-rama shot couldn’t be corralled by Forsberg, and Pitlick was right there for the rebound, making it 6-4 for Ottawa. You could tell that the rest of the game wasn’t going to be easy, as two goals didn’t seem like much.
Luckily, the Senators were able to lock it down the rest of the way. Montreal had a powerplay with 4:49 left that could’ve got them even closer, but they failed on all of their opportunities. Once Stützle drew his third penalty of the game with a few minutes to go, the game was over on what was a satisfying win for the Senators players and their fans. With a 6-4 final, Ottawa tied the season series 2-2, and both teams even had 14 goals.
- As I said earlier, it really is fascinating to see how much the Canadiens care about Stützle and want him to suffer. Just terrible energy is being given off on their end. I love that he drew three (worthy) penalties today.
- I talked about Kelly yesterday, and he continued his solid play in Ottawa with another goal and six shot attempts. Considering he has a one-way contract next season, he’s already a lock for the 4th line.
- Huge congratulations to Mark Kastelic, who scored the first two goals of his career. He’s another player who could definitely be a 4th line regular next season.
- It was great to see Chabot back on the ice, although you could tell he was quite rusty.
- Speaking of rusty, I can’t imagine Drake Batherson has been 100% since returning from his injury. He can still be effective, but he has two goals and six assists in 12 games, which isn’t nearly the point-per-game pace he was on before.
- The atmosphere at the game looked electric and it’s incredible that the rivalry between these two teams is still going despite both of them being terrible this season. I’d love to see both teams fighting for a playoff spot against each other again./