Montreal Canadiens: Game Two Loss and Game Three Thoughts

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By Kolby Fournier (@k4nier17)

Once again the best goaltender in the world wasn’t between the pipes for the Montreal Canadiens. Al Montoya played a great game in my eyes and did what he needed to do to give the Habs a chance at another win. Unfortunately the decision to leave the game on David Desharnais stick wasn’t the best. There were many different things throughout the game that need attention going down the road for the rest of the year.

The first few minutes of the game were very entertaining. There was a lot of pace, competitiveness, and hits being thrown on both sides. After that, Montreal seemed to slow down for about the next 40 minutes of play leading into the third period. The power play had its ups and downs throughout the night, the first power play showed what fans were seeing last year from the Canadiens, as there was no control and no possession presented. Ottawa scored the first goal of the game, as Andrei Markov made a bad pinch which lead to a lot of free ice given to the Senators to capitalize. Montoya would bail Markov out on the first shot, but not the second. It seems that Markov knows he can’t keep up with the pace of game anymore and the decision to pinch lead to this. There needs to be smarter plays from the veteran to try and keep his game going. The first 10 minutes of the game was mostly sloppy for the Habs they couldn’t break out of their own zone neither could they make tape to tape passes. The second power play during the first period showed us that Shea Weber has a great shot. There was a lot of great sequences during that power play which is hopefully going to come alive soon.

The second period began with Torrey Mitchell in the penalty box after a holding call to end the first. The second period was basically the same for the Habs as they couldn’t get anything going. They couldn’t break out at all, which should be a simple thing to do. There was never any pressure against the Senators to make them cough up the puck. This team hasn’t been the same without Carey Price, but when Al Montoya is playing like he has they need to get their game back we saw at the beginning of the year last year. Once again we see Michel Therrien mixing up the lines. In his defense, though, he was trying to get something going from the players, as they showed no compete level at all. Jeff Petry found himself with an open shot and sniped one in to make it 2-1 heading into the third period.

After the lines were mixed up, the Canadiens started to show life and actually compete against this improved Senators team. Lehkonen scores his first career goal. It was a great gritty shift from the fourth line. They battled in front of the net to come out rewarded with a goal. Jeff Petry then would find himself with a opportunity at the point to take a hard slap shot from the point that squeaked through traffic and into the back of the net. Once again Markov was out there when the Senators tied it late in the game. Nothing happened in overtime, so we headed into a shootout. The shootout was questionable at the end, as Therrien decided to pick Desharnais to send the shootout into another round. Out of all the other players on the roster that didn’t go yet he was chosen. Desharnais hasn’t impressed me the past two years and especially after that, there’s going to have to be a change sometime soon.

So let’s talk about the upcoming game Tuesday night against Pittsburgh at the Bell Centre. Al Montoya once again gets the nod as Carey Price will be out again. Carey did hit the ice today with Stephane Waite which is always a good sign. Mikhail Sergachev will be back in the lineup once again as Greg Pateryn will be a healthy scratch. After juggling the lines Saturday night, Therrien decided to reunite the same lines to begin the season, which is a good idea as the critics won’t be all over him. It’s going to take some time for this new team to find chemistry, but in the end it will all work out. There is a lot to look forward to once this team can find it’s grove. It’s only game three on Tuesday, but playing the defending Stanley Cup Champions in your own building isn’t just another game. Tuesday night can show if they can hang in there this year with the big boys.

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