Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Shaw – Lehkonen
King – McCarron – Mitchell
Markov – Weber
Emelin – Petry
Beaulieu – Benn
Brandon Davidson, Brian Flynn, Steve Ott, Andreas Martinsen, Nikita Nesterov
The Canadiens did not play a superior game on Saturday night. The Senators had a clear advantage in shots and possession. But, there were key areas where the Habs were dominant.
Goaltending. Carey Price continues to be Mr. Saturday night. With 31 saves for a .969 save percentage, Price was dominant once again in a crucial game for the Canadiens. Price shut the door other than the obligatory goal to Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Special teams. With a sputtering offense in February and March, it is crucial that the Canadiens get their power-play humming before the playoffs commence. Going 2-for-4 with the man advantage is obviously an outstanding night. But the look of the power-play — good motion, puck movement — was impressive tonight. The penalty-killers were perfect.
Defense. Andrei Markov is having a superb season. He was solid prior to being paired with Shea Weber and has been even better since the arrival of Claude Julien. Markov was kept to a manageable 21:35 and supplied the offence with two goals and an assist. Weber scored his 17th goal of the season and was fierce in his own zone. Alexei Emelin and Jeff Petry were solid.
Faceoffs. After a rather dreadful week in the faceoff circle, Canadiens centres responded to Julien’s call that they needed to be better. The coach spoke about the need to start with the puck rather than chase the play. Tomas Plekanec led the way going 70 per cent at the dot.
Physicality. The Canadiens are not a team that is intimidated anymore. Shea Weber, Jordie Benn, Michael McCarron, Andrew Shaw and Alexei Emelin punished the Senators tonight and stood up for their teammates when the nonsense started. Dion Phaneuf and Alex Burrows treaded carefully.
The Canadiens were a team with problems after losses to Detroit and Carolina. Claude Julien declared himself “a fixer.” It worked on this night as the Habs played to their strengths.
Montreal took three games from the Senators when it mattered. And the Senators were so demoralized that they left the ice with time remaining on the clock.. 1.8 seconds to be exact.
▲ Carey Price, Andrei Markov, Shea Weber, Tomas Plekanec, Alexei Emelin
▼ Nathan Beaulieu, Jordie Benn, Torrey Mitchell, Michael McCarron, Dwight King