Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Danault – Shaw
Galchenyuk – Drouin – Byron
Hudon – Plekanec – Gallagher
Deslauriers – Froese – Carr
Benn – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Jerabek – Schlemko
Joe Morrow, Jacob De La Rose
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Al Montoya – concussion, Artturi Lehkonen – lower-body
This game had most of the earmarks of one of the NHL’s premiere events. However this was a ‘Classic’ in name only.
It’s fair to say that the Senators and Canadiens are not good hockey teams. And Ottawa played well enough to beat a squad from Montreal that looked a fair bit worse on this night.
While no powerhouse themselves, the Senators moved with ease in the Canadiens end finding no impediments at all in getting to the net. Ottawa received such minimal resistance that they began taking liberties in initiating contact with Carey Price. It happened five times before the game was 20 minutes old.
Price was the last line of defence and proved impenetrable in the first period. On the other hand, the Canadiens could not get into the same area code as Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson. They directed a few paltry shots at the Senators goal from well out in the first period which were routinely turned aside.
In fact, as Claude Julien pointed out in the post-game presser, the Canadiens did not register a shot from ‘between the dots’ until the third period. Montreal managed just a handful of scoring chances for the entire game. Meanwhile, Carey Price was the best player on the ice, forced to stand on his head to keep the game close.
The Habs spent the entire game chasing the play. Given the failure to win face-offs, Montreal started without the puck 71 per cent of the time.
With such poor possession numbers and a difficulty getting to scoring areas on the ice, the spotlight shone brightly on the few high-quality chances that they generated. Max Pacioretty had one of those chances in the third period but could not finish it.
Rather than focus solely on the missed opportunities, one must question the system that is creating so few.
▲ Carey Price
▼ Jonathan Drouin, Phillip Danault, Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Andrew Shaw, Byron Froese, David Schlemko