The Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens went down to the wire on Saturday night. In an important battle for the standings, both teams displayed their understanding of the importance of the game. It was tight-checking and fast-paced, and both teams played their respective systems to a tee. It went back and forth all the way to a shootout, the only part of the game where one side dominated. The Canadiens scored two to take it away, 4-3.
Alex Radulov got the first good scoring chance in tight with a shot as he found himself alone in the crease. Erik Karlsson followed this up with a good slap shot from the point, and Carey Price made a quick leg save.
Paul Byron carried the puck into the offensive zone on a three-on-one for a good chance. However, he hesitated a tad too long, and he could not get a shot to the net.
Bobby Ryan forced a turnover behind the Canadiens’ net, with no defence in front. He passed the puck to Kyle Turris, who released a quick shot in close. Price stood tall and left no space to score.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau got a partial breakaway after blocking a point shot, but Jordie Benn was fast on the backcheck. He lifted Pageau’s stick, preventing a good shot while avoiding a penalty.
Andrew Shaw got a good wraparound chance, as his line was strong on the forecheck. Artturi Lehkonen got the rebound, but Anderson stopped him too.
Byron also tried his hand at a wraparound, catching Anderson looking at the other side of the net. Chris Kelly helped stop the chance, getting his stick in the way.
Anderson made another big save on Radulov. The forward found himself alone after he received a pass from Max Pacioretty. Radulov tried a deke, but Anderson did not bite on his move.
The Senators were on a short power play to start off the second. Turris got the best scoring chance as his shot rang off the post. Once they got off the penalty kill, the Canadiens kicked into their speed. Phillip Danault received a pass and found himself on the breakaway. He could not find any openings past Anderson, as the Senator goaltender made another big save.
The Canadiens got on the board first soon after. Lehkonen beat the Senators defenders on the forecheck and passed it to Danault, who found Andrew Shaw alone. Shaw only had to tap it past a sprawling Anderson to get his 11th of the season.
The Senators tied the game with a power-play goal. Turris delivered a great pass to Derick Brassard, who released a one-timer past Price. They extended the lead with a bizarre play, as the puck lay under Price. As the Senators were poking away at it, Price seemed to accidentally kick the puck back past the line.
The Canadiens struggled to establish good zone presence with their power play early in the third, but they took advantage just as it expired. Danault retrieved a blocked puck and slid it five-hole on Craig Anderson to tie the game 2-2.
Just like the Senators did in the second period, the Canadiens took the lead soon after tying the game. Brendan Gallagher won a battle in the corner and shot the puck past Anderson from a bad angle.
Karlsson demonstrated how his simplicity makes him so good. He took advantage of a sea of players in front of him to release a basic wrist shot. He managed to find a spot and beat Price cleanly. The Senators’ superior faceoff play benefited them again.
The Canadiens swarmed Anderson’s net for a good couple of minutes in an effort to get the lead again. With some close moments, including Anderson’s fall, the Senators were able to hold them off.
The Senators played a patient game in overtime as they only entered the zone when it benefited them. Karlsson drew a penalty when Pacioretty grabbed him by the jersey. It put the Senators on the power play with just under two minutes left, allowing them to finish on the man-advantage. The best chance they got was a Turris one-time shot at the buzzer that Price stopped.
In the shootout, Byron and Radulov scored for the Canadiens, while Price stopped all the shots that came his way. Montreal won 4-3 and remained at the Atlantic Division summit.
MTL – Andrew Shaw (11) assisted by Philip Danault (23) and Shea Weber (24)
OTT – Derick Brassard (13) (PP) assisted by Kyle Turris (29) and Mike Hoffman (29)
OTT – Ryan Dzingel (14) assisted by Alexandre Burrows (14) and Erik Karlsson (51)
MTL – Philip Danault (11) assisted by Artturi Lehkonen (6) and Andrew Shaw (15)
MTL – Brendan Gallagher (8) assisted by Andrei Markov (27)
OTT – Erik Karlsson (14) assisted by Marc Methot (12) and Derick Brassard (24)
MTL – Paul Byron
MTL – Alexander Radulov
THW Three Stars
First – Erik Karlsson (1 goal, 1 assist, 6 shots, 33:17 TOI)
Second – Andrew Shaw (1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots)
Third – Phillip Danault (1 goal, 1 assist, 4 shots)
Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
Bell Centre – 7:3o p.m. EDT – Sunday, March 18
Broadcast channel: SN