The Montreal Canadiens miracle season ended Thursday night with a 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. The Senators won the series four games to one. PK Subban scored the Habs only goal, but Craig Anderson shut the door, just like he has done all series.
The Habs came out flying to start the game, with Rene Bourque and Mike Blunden getting robbed early by Anderson. But Peter Budaj, who was in goal after Carey Price was injured, could not match Anderson. 12 minutes into the game, it was 2-0 Ottawa and the game was over.
“I felt good in the morning skate, I prepared well and I prepared the best I could,” Budaj said. “The result was disappointing but that’s how it goes sometimes, you prepare well and things don’t go your way”
Montreal’s only moment of hope after Cory Conacher made it 2-0 came with 14 seconds left in the first. That is when Subban fired a hard slap-shot over Anderson’s glove to make it 2-1. As the team’s went to intermission, the game was still close and could have gone either way.
Andrei Markov assisted the goal and was at a loss for words after the game.
“Right now it’s tough to say something,” he said. “Sure we had success in the regular season but we lost the battle to Ottawa.”
The Sens only goal of the second period came when a shorthanded shot banked off Kyle Turris, who was sitting in Budaj’s crease. The refs determined that Tomas Plekanec pushed Turris there and that it was not goalie interference.
“That’s a tough break, especially since it was on our powerplay,” Budaj said. “It’s just disappointing because the guys put in a tremendous effort and we just couldn’t get the result we wanted.”
Ottawa scored three more in the third to seal the deal. In the entire five-game series, Montreal didn’t score a third period goal. In his post game press conference, Habs Coach Michel Therrien didn’t shy away from congratulating the Sens on their play.
“First of all you have to give a lot of credit to the Senators, they played really well as a team [and] capitalized on their chances,” Therrien said. Craig Anderson, as far as we are concerned was the best player in the series. He gave them to stay in the game and gave them a chance to get some momentum with key save after key save.”
But he felt that his team was as prepared as they could be. Considering the Habs out shot the Sens in every game but game four, it was clear they were still able to get chances.
“From our stand point, even tonight even though we were missing a lot of players we approached the game with the right attitude,” Therrien said. “The guys came to play and worked hard.”
Therrien refused to make excuses for why the team has been in a rut, dating back to the end of the season. And he believed his players would do the same.
“The last two weeks we got a lot of bad luck,” he said. “But for us and my approach with the team since day one that was not an excuse. I don’t think the players with their attitude would use that as excuse.”
And so the road ends early for the Montreal Canadiens. Their amazing turnaround season could not be replicated in the playoffs and they now must reflect on the year and use this loss as fire for the upcoming season.
In the coming weeks and months on this site, I’ll be recapping all the different areas of this Habs season. Make sure to follow me on Twitter for more information on that.