Forward lines and defense pairings:
Pacioretty – Plekanec – Byron
Eller – Galchenyuk – Weise
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Carr
Hudon – Flynn – Andrighetto
Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Gilbert – Beaulieu
Scratches: Jarred Tinordi, Greg Pateryn, Christian Thomas
Injured reserve: Brendan Gallagher, Torrey Mitchell, Carey Price, Devante Smith-Pelly
Suspended: Zack Kassian
Your Montreal Canadiens had 27 shots on goal in the first period. The Senators had 26… in the entire game! 27 shots tied a Canadiens franchise record previously set in 1972-73 and again during the 1976-77 season, both Stanley Cup winning teams
The Habs began the game like they were shot out of a cannon. Brian Flynn opened the scoring before the three minute mark.
Finally reunited with Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty had six shots on goal in the first period. Pacioretty picked up his first goal in five games before the end of the period, assisted by Plekanec.
As the coach said post-game, “Our leaders really took charge of this game.”
Despite the dominating performance of the first period led by the Habs veterans, the Senators did not fold. The next 40 minutes was an evenly-played game with each team scoring a goal and the Senators outshooting the Canadiens 18-15.
Habs fans had a nervous feeling as they watched the Sens keep pace. It was a good confidence-builder for Dustin Tokarski. He made solid early save to thwart Mike Hoffman. A big early save is something that Mike Condon was having difficulty providing for his team.
That’s not to say that Tokarski was rock solid. He wasn’t. The Senators were a post and a few blocked shots away from making this a different result. But getting the win was an important confidence boost for Tokarski who is again a viable option for an occasional start until Carey Price returns.
Tokarski can thank the folks in front of him. Tomas Plekanec and Brian Flynn had key blocked shots on the penalty kill. Alexei Emelin had a monster game leading the team with five blocked shots and eight hits. That hit total included a punishing hit in the third period on Erik Karlsson.
Of the young guns, Daniel Carr fit in nicely on the power-play and Charles Hudon picked up a second assist on Brian Flynn’s goal. Sven Andrighetto should be back on the second line playing with Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller, a much better use of his talents.
But this game belonged to the leadership core. Andrei Markov has been the Canadiens best defencemen all season logged 24 minutes of impressive hockey. P.K. Subban, even though he was held off the scoresheet, had one of his better games. Max Pacioretty broke his goal-scoring drought. Tomas Plekanec was a warrior and showed again why he is one of the Canadiens most underrated players.
The Canadiens are home to the Sharks and Kings on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
▲ Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Alexei Emelin, Nathan Beaulieu, Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban
▼ Tomas Fleischmann, David Desharnais