For the tenth straight outing, the Ottawa Senators played in a game that was decided by a single goal.
Daniel Alfredsson and Patrick Wiercioch scored to help the Senators overcome a 3-1 deficit and pick up another important point in the ridiculously tight Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for the second straight game, the Sens failed to capitalize in the shootout, falling by a 4-3 final at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Give the Sens credit though as they battled the top team in the East for 65 minutes and continued to find a way to stay in hockey games despite a severely depleted line up.
The Habs opened the scoring in this one as Lars Eller outworked Patrick Wiercioch out front and jammed one past Lehner. The Sens would bounce back on the power play though. Mika Zibanejad ripped a shot that beat Price high on the blocker side. It was the 6th goal of the season for Zibanejad (tying him for the team lead) and his fifth in ten games.
In the second, it looked like the officials had put the whistles away, as the two teams took runs at each other all over the ice. Then a seemingly harmless bump by Mark Stone was deemed worthy of an interference call. Brendan Gallagher scored with the man advantage to restore the one goal lead for the Habs.
An Eric Gryba penalty late in the second led to another Habs power play goal as a PK Subban point shot deflected off Chris Phillips and past Robin Lehner.
It should come as no surprise but facing a 3-1 deficit in one of the toughest buildings in the NHL, the Sens refused to quit.
Daniel Alfredsson scored one of my favourite goals of the season late in the third period, as he picked the short side corner on Carey Price in the dying seconds of the middle frame. What made the goal so awesome was the fact that Alfie was the only guy on the ice that knew the puck went in. Watching him convince his teammates he has scored was pretty hilarious.
Early in the third, Patrick Wiercioch broke into the Montreal zone, cut to the middle of the ice and beat Carey Price through the five hole to tie the game at 3-3. A highlight reel goal by a defenceman that has been playing with a ton of confidence lately.
Robin Lehner held the fort the rest of the way, securing the single point.
In the shootout, Galchenyuk and Eller scored for the Canadiens while Jakob Silfverberg was the long goal scorer for the Senators. Robin Lehner is good at a lot of things but the skills competition shootout is not one of them.
The Senators are next in action on Saturday afternoon when they visit the Buffalo Sabres. Puck drop is just after 3:00 PM.
- Mark Stone played just 5:51 tonight and is really having trouble making much of an impact in limited minutes on the 4th line. Would not be surprised if he is return to Binghamton once Matt Kassian arrives.
- Prior to the game, Bob McKenzie tweeted that the Ottawa Senators are close to signing WHL free agent defenceman Troy Rutkowski. Rutkowski is in his fifth season with the Portland WinterHawks, racking up an impressive 61 points in 69 games. Scouting report says he's an offence first defenceman with a great shot.
- There was also talk before the game that injured forward Jason Spezza may have suffered a bit of a setback in the post-surgery rehab process. Initially Spezza was believed to be a couple weeks away from a return but Renaud Lavoie from RDS is suggesting it could be another four weeks. That would mean Spezza would return for the last 6-8 games of the season.