Tonight! The boys are home finally after concluding the roaring success that was their 5 game road trip, winning 8 out of 10 points. Their opponents tonight, the Senators of Ottawa, have managed to hobble along in the East, overwhelmed with critical injuries, but still able to win enough to keep them competitive for a playoff spot. Who knows how long that'll continue, or whether they'll stymie the Canadiens like they did two weeks ago, when 12 foot 4 inch Ben Bishop stood on his head and stopped 148 shots to steal a win in Montreal.
The obvious strategy would of course start Bishop again tonight, right? But nope, the Sens are going with backup backup Robin Lehner. I dunno. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, but that call seems a bit too counterintuitive,
Carey Price will start for the Habs, as will Ryan White, while Brandon Prust spends the next week or so trying to shove his left shoulder back into its socket. Ouch.
Game time is 7:10 EST for some odd reason. I'll have limited first period postings, but I'll be joining up with the live blog full time probably early in the 2nd.
- Dumont with some nice work digging the puck up from behind the net and feeding Eller who does even better driving the net. Classic Therrien breed hockey, Habs grab the early lead.
- Sens doing a little line matching, sending out their scorers against the White line, pinning the Habs in their zone. Price holds the fort. Expect that 4th line to see very limited action tonight.
- Zibinejad a beauty feed received in the slot from Silfverberg, and the Sens tie it on the powerplay. What can ya do? Stay out of the box.
- Much like the rest of the team, the Habs PK, so solid last year while the team mired in last place, isn't nearly as effective this season, with the team settled in first. Go figure. Nonetheless, the PK must be an area of concern for Bergevin and Therrien.
- Evenly played period, Habs outshooting 17-13, but Sens were definitely the more physical team. One reckons it'll be, as usual between these two, a closely fought contest with a narrow final score.
- Excellent interference call on Mark Stone for body checking Moen after the dump in. That's the kind of call, if consistently made, will make this League more exciting to watch.
- Sweet feed by Subban to Pacioretty who snaps it through Lehner's legs. That's 19 points for Subban in 21 games. Crazy good production.
- Class A save by Price, reaching back to cover and hold the loose puck. Markov gets penalized for protecting his goaltender.
- Gallagher has been given credit for the Habs second goal. Bit of a cheapie as it deflected off his stick but Patches shot was well on its way to going in.
- Ryder hurt? Haven't seen him anywhere near the bench.
- Subban is a machine. Now 7 goals 13 assists in 21 games. That's amazing production. 3-1 Habs.
- Price making big game saves tonight. He's right back in form.
- Ugh. Killer goal by Alfredsson with 1.5 seconds left. Should shut up about my "big save" comments. No way that goal should be let in.
- Habs basically in total control until Price gave up that goal. So instead of cruise mode, Habs will have to fight hard to close this out in the 3rd.
- Oh Carey. I shall never sing your praises again. Weircoich with a snap shot through Price's legs. Two softies and poof, the game is officially no longer in control.
- Ryder back? Could use a powerplay goal from him here.
- Terrible decision by Emelin to break for the puck creates clear cut 2-on-1, but Price with an excellent pad save. Can't have that happen in a tie game, 3rd period.
- Habs are creating significant pressure in Sens zone and drawing powerplays left and right. Need to cash in here.
- Tremendous pressure by Habs on that PP. Sens just barely hung on. Subban's slapshot is terrifying.
- Eller can really put on a dazzling show some times. Habs would be nuts to dangle him as trade bait, as it was rumoured earlier this season.
- Oh man. What a backcheck by Eller who then feeds Galchenyuk and poings it off the post. Excellent game by Eller tonight.
- Point is a point, but that was a sure-fire "W" that slipped away. Habs with oodles of chances, 3 powerplays in the 3rd alone, but just couldn't find that winner. Overtime we go.
- Not Price's forte, these OTs. Here's hoping that changes.
- Oh man, PK, you gotta blast that in.
- Eller just not giving up tonight. Another tremendous backcheck and nearly wins the game with seconds left on the clock. He deserves at least a try in the shootout for all the hard work he's done tonight.
- Shootout. Galchenyuk. Wow. The usual.
- Nice blocker save by Price on Alfredsson.
- Silfverberg making Price look not so good. Price was way too deep in his net.
- ELLER! THAT. WAS. MONEY.
- Price closes the door. Two points salvaged. Eller and Subban toss up for player of the night. Both were fantastic.