Canadiens-Senators: Habs Clinch and Shed Monkey off Back

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Canadiens-Senators: Habs Clinch and Shed Monkey off Back
The Montreal Canadiens played what was perhaps their best 40 minutes thus far this season against the Ottawa Senators Monday night. The dominant 7-5 victory allowed for 14 different Habs to grace the score-sheet.

 

Both Ottawa goaltenders had the pleasure of experiencing Montreal's league-leading offense, and neither were shown any mercy. Gerber was beaten 3 times on 14 shots in the first period, started the second on the bench next to the water boy.

Gerber's counterpart Ray Emery, didn't fare any better. After being saved by the posts twice early on in the period, Emery's luck quickly ran out as he let 4 pucks past him on 16 shots.

The Habs deviated from the game-plan severely in the third period however. With virtually no defensive pressure, the Sens managed to beat an abandoned Carey Price 4 times, tarnishing what was otherwise a fantastic performance by Les Glorieux.

A few observations:

  • Canadiens Head Coach Guy Carbonneau told his team not to give the Ottawa any respect before the game, and it was evident that the message was well received. The Habs have finally developed a style of play that can allow them to be victorious over a team that has caused them so much grief in the past; by setting a physical tone early in the game, Ottawa's top line was virtually invisible until the third period.
  • Max Lapierre did an excellent job of playing the thorn in Ottawa's side and drew several penalties.
  • After lying dormant for several games, the Habs' special teams resurfaced with fury. The PP went 2 for 5 and the PK went 5 for 6 including a rare short-handed goal by Tom "the bomb" Kostopolous.
  • The youth movement continues to impress. The three young Belorussians, or " Hell's Bels" as the Gazette's Mike Boone calls them, soared last night. Sergei Kostitsyn set up Mikhail Grabovski for another highlight reel goal and his older brother Andre potted 2 (4 in his last 3 games).

The win allowed for a 7 point buffer to be created between Montreal and their North-East division rivals, and 3 point lead for sole possession of first in the East.

The Habs have a 3 day break before they travel to Buffalo on Friday night. I hope, for the sake of all Habs fans' hearts, that the boys run some drills on lead protection, so I am spared any more instances of third-period of cardiac arrest in the future.

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