In what can only be described as their worst game of the season, the Montreal Canadiens were beaten up all over the ice Sunday night, losing 6-1 to the Ottawa Senators. Penalties were the story, especially in the third period. Montreal finished the game with 129 minutes while the Sens had 107. Ottawa now lead the series two games to one and at this point appear to hold all of the cards.
Before the whole game went down the tube, Montreal actually put in a good effort and kept it close. The score was only 1-1 after the first period and the shots were 12-11 for the Habs. Rene Bourque scored the Habs goal, tying the game at the 14 minute mark on a very lucky shot. His shot was partially stopped by Craig Anderson and just barely crossed the line. And that was the only goal Montreal would get, on 34 shots.
The scoreboard turned out to be very misleading. The final score is accurate but the shot totals are not. Once the carnage was done with, Montreal actually out shot the Habs in every period. But at about the halfway point of the game, shortly after Jean-Gabriel Pageau picked up his first of three goals, things started to fall apart for the Habs.
They stopped skating and shooting, and Ottawa jumped all over them. PK Subban took a hooking minor at the 12 minute mark and from then on, Montreal couldn’t get possession long enough for any meaningful offence. All of their shots came from the outside and none of them came anywhere close to going in. But it was still only 2-1 after two and they had a chance to regroup and come out flying in the third.
Instead, it was Pageau who scored to start the third, his second of the game and on an almost mirror version of his first one. He skated in just over a minute into the period and fired a hard wrist shot over Carey Price’s glove to make it 3-1.
Now, a 3-1 lead is very easy to overcome (just ask the Anaheim Ducks or New York Islanders) but Montreal could not find the fire to do it. When Kyle Turris scored at the seven minute mark, something snapped in the Habs and they threw the towel in.
On the ensuing faceoff, one of the most disgraceful things hockey players can do happened. All 10 players on the ice started fighting and all 10 players were kicked out of the game. With 13 minutes to go. For Montreal, this meant Travis Moen, Ryan White, Colby Armstrong, Jarred Tinordi and Francis Bouillon were each given 15 minutes in penalties and were done for the game.
And eight second later Ottawa scored again.
Standing on the bench, Michel Therrien looked like a man at a funeral. And that isn’t a bad analogy. Something in the spirit of the Habs died Sunday night and it burst into a fiery ball of hate and incompetence.
By the time Subban and Brendan Gallagher were also ejected and Pageau had his third goal, the game was already long over. For Ottawa, this means they are one step closer to moving on. And for the Canadiens, this means they are lost in a world of chaos and have one less lifeline before their season is over.