HABS HAVE A SUPER SUNDAY AS THEY EDGE THE SENS 2 – 1

Robert Lafleur February 3, 2013 3
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

That was not quite the pushback the Canadiens wanted after getting routed in Ottawa last Wednesday but they’ll take it. After outscoring Ottawa 2 – 1 in the first period of their rematch game at the Bell Centre Sunday afternoon, Carey Price made another 27 saves through the next two periods and the Habs managed to hang on for the win.

Max Pac Back

After having emergency appendectomy surgery only eight days ago, Max Pacioretty was back in the line-up and played as strong as ever, not missing a beat, or his appendix. After the Sens Jakob Silfverberg had put Ottawa ahead 1 – 0 on a breakaway, Pacioretty, a minute later, intercepted a clearing pass at the blue line and fed the puck to David Desharnais all alone in front of the net, Desharnais tipping the puck under Sens goalie Craig Anderson to tie things up. Last year’s top line of Erik Cole, Desharnais and Pacioretty put the Habs ahead to stay midway through the first period as their strong forechecking forced the Sens to loose the puck to P.K. Subban at the point, over to Frankie Bouillon at the other point, to Cole in front. Cole, on a beautiful old-timey backhand, lifted the puck over Anderson’s shoulder to put the Habs ahead to stay, but that was easier said than done.

Price Saves the Day

Carey Price has not let in a real bad goal this year, well maybe one against Toronto, and has been playing lights out. The Sens outshot the Habs 27 – 20 in the last two periods and Price had to come up with some big saves on Mika Zibanejad, Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson to secure the victory. Ottawa had thought they had tied things up early in the third as an Andre Benoit slapshot got past Carey Price, but referee Brian Pochmara had called Silfverberg for goaltender interference.

Atrocious Refereeing

I always thought Chris Lee was the worst referee in the NHL but Pochmara can’t be far behind. The calls in this game, and the non-calls, were the worst I’ve seen in a long time. It started twenty seconds into the game when Tomas Plekanec was called for goaltender interference (almost as bad as the Silfverberg call). This led directly to Ottawa’s first goal on the power-play. Josh Gorges was called for a phantom boarding call. Bouillon was called for embellishment as he was clearly tripped. Bouillon was later driven head first into the boards, no call. Brian Gionta took a stick in the face, no call. And of course, the call on Silfverberg, which was ridiculous.

Game Observations

- Andrei Markov looked tired.

- Travis Moen had a rough game.

- Lars Eller, who had a goal and two assists on the top line on Saturday, was rewarded by being relegated to the fourth   line with Moen and Colby Armstrong. To Eller’s credit, he sucked it up and played well. Michel Therrien had enough confidence in him to have him on the ice in the last minute when the Sens had Anderson pulled.

- Rene Bourque hit the post on a shot that I thought was going to knock the net off its moorings, I’m sure I saw it move.

- P.K. Subban was MIA for about ten minutes in the third period, which caused a lot of consternation for the fans. Turns out it was simply skate problems, he hadn’t been traded.

With the two back-to-back victories this weekend, the Habs are now 6 -2, and are 5 -1 at home. The Canadiens have another back-to-back this week, as they are at home to the big, bad Bruins on Wednesday night, and they face the Sabres in Buffalo on Thursday.