CFN – When Habs GM talks about wanting character in his players he wasn’t kidding as the team showed huge character in defeating the Ottawa Senators in game one of their series.
Missing was team leader and top scorer Max Pacioretty and Norris candidate PK Subban earned a game misconduct for a clear two handed slash on Sens scorer Mark Stone who in spite of running on and off the ice a few times notched 15 minutes of ice time.
It was the 3rd and 4th lines that broke the Sens with late season pick up Brian Flynn putting up 3 points in his 10 minutes.
Carey Price was strong when he needed to be, but by the end of the second Montreal clearly was in command.
For some reason the Sens weren’t as physical as expected. They didn’t establish the body game or put fear into the Montreal players who they themselves put up the muscle.
Devante Smith Pelly and Alexei Emelin both had six hits as Montreal had 42 recorded to Ottawa’s 44.
Home ice was an advantage as Montreal simply ground down the Sens top lines with Lars Eller and Dale Weise being particular messy and Jacob De La Rose laying on the body as well.
Montreal was limited to one power play opportunity as the refs put the whistles away for the most part.
The win took the emotion out of the Sens who lost one coach to cancer and GM Bryan Murray also has a late stage of the tragic disease. What Montreal also did was show that the Sens miracle goalie is human after all lighting him up for four goals without their top scorers in the line up.
It should be interesting to see what happens next game when Subban returns.
In the Game ™ for Montreal:
Prust, Plekanec, Smith Pelly, Weise, Petry, Galchenyuk, Emelin, Gilbert, and Markov
Methot, Turris, Michalek, MacArthur, Pageau, Lazar, Weircioch, Karlsson, Borowiecki
The Flames meanwhile upset Vancouver 2-1 in double over time. They did it the same way they have been winning all season; with grit and determination.
D man Kris Russell scored the winner in double OT with assists from rookie Sam Bennett and Dennis Wideman who has had an incredible season.
Canada’s other team in the play offs starts their series against Anaheim tonight. Go Jets!