Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Danault – Shaw
King – Ott – Mitchell
Markov – Weber
Davidson – Petry
Beaulieu – Benn
Alexei Emelin, Brian Flynn, Michael McCarron, Andreas Martinsen, Nikita Nesterov
With the Canadiens last game on Tuesday there was plenty of time to hype this game as a battle of the titans. It is remarkable that the two clubs had such similar records coming into the contest with an overtime loss the only thing separating them in the standings.
They had a similar record over the past 10 games and were each coming off a loss against the Blackhawks. Goals against and goals for were even within spitting distance of each other. So we were all expecting a playoff atmosphere for this two-game series.
And from puck drop, it didn’t disappoint. Almost five minutes went by before the first whistle. Was this going to follow the pattern of a typical Habs – Sens game?
It looked like it was following the script when Canadiens-killer Jean-Gabriel Pageau was the recipient of a Jordie Benn turnover for an apparent breakaway. But then Benn skated down Pageau and knocked the puck away for a great defensive play. That’s not supposed to happen.
The Canadiens got on the board first early in the second period following a strong forecheck by Artturi Lehkonen. Andrew Shaw scored benefiting from a pass by Phillip Danault.
For Danault, it was the first of four goals that he played a significantly role in, two for each team. It was a Jekkyl and Hyde performance for the young centre. But Danault was also on the ice for the Senators tying goal late in the third period, losing a faceoff to Derick Brassard. Scary!
In a typical Ottawa – Montreal game, Sens goalie Craig Anderson channels his inner Jacques Plante. And after the Canadiens were only able to manage a single goal in the first 40 minutes, Anderson looked to be frustrating the Habs again. But then, Anderson gave up a bad goal to Brendan Gallagher.
It was an odd night.
The Canadiens second pair defenseman had a tough game. Yet regular fan punching bag, Alexei Emelin, was in the press box. Jeff Petry and Brandon Davidson were an accident waiting to happen on every shift. Fortunately, the Senators are not the Blackhawks.
Speaking of defencemen, Nathan Beaulieu returned to the lineup but didn’t impress. Perhaps he should have been paying attention to the Habs – Hawks game? In a game with several Beaulieu mistakes, his poor pass to Max Pacioretty in overtime could have been the most costly. Nate should be grateful to Shea Weber and crew who killed the 4-on-3 overtime penalty.
So what will we be treated to on Sunday night in Montreal? Typical or otherwise?
▲ Carey Price, Andrei Markov, Artturi Lehkonen
▼ Brandon Davidson, Jeff Petry, Nathan Beaulieu