-Ottawa kept home ice advantage in a convincing 6-1 win over Montreal last night. The game wasn’t blown wide open until the third period, with Ottawa ultimately outshot 34-30. Craig Anderson was good when he had to be, while Jean-Gabriel Pageau (3), Daniel Alfredsson, Kyle Turris, and Jakob Silfverberg scored the goals. The game was marred by chippy play (including a pair of elbows to Cory Conacher‘s head), a number of fights (all of which the Habs lost–somehow Prust did not get into a scrap, which can’t have gone over well with his coach), and general silliness as the score got out of hand. Here’s the boxscore and Amelia L‘s play-by-play.
–Eric Engels offers a Habs perspective and he’s absolutely correct that the officials allowed the game to become as silly as it did. He offers some criticism of various Montreal players, but I think the main problem (not specifically addressed) is that the Habs aren’t really built to play the physical style he (and others) are advocating. Pound for pound Ottawa has the tougher team, so I think Montreal’s success has to come through speed and skill rather than grinding it out.
–Patrick Wiercioch was hurt in the game and there has been no meaningful update on his condition other than it’s a “lower body” injury.
-I’m surprised how surprised fans are that the NHL took no action in terms of supplementary discipline from last night’s game. The league almost never suspends a player unless there is an injury, so elbows to the head of Conacher are incidental. I realise some might have hoped that after the Andrew Ference suspension that the league had turned over a new leaf, but keep in mind the NHL has never been remotely consistent about discipline.
–Pageau became the fifth 20-year old (and under) player since 1967 to score a playoff hat trick. Pageau has been excellent in the series, coming a long way from being the fourth-line checking center in Binghamton, but I think expectations need to be tempered for him offensively.
–Luke Richardson talked about how he pushed to keep Pageau in the AHL:
We had so many numbers because of the lockout year they struggled on whether we should keep him or send him back to an overage junior. We really liked him in training camp and exhibition games and we wanted to keep him. We pushed for that and I think it turned out. For me it was not one of the biggest surprises but one of the best decisions.
I was one of the people who thought Pageau would be returned to junior because of the numbers, but clearly the correct decision was made (Pierre LeBrun also offers some comments on the subject).
–Travis Yost wonders why Michel Therrien is making a spectacle of himself and I think it’s clear he’s doing his best to deflect attention away from his team’s performance. I’d argue he’s been reasonably affective in moving the conversation away from the game, even if he does look a little ridiculous doing it.
-Therrien complained about MacLean’s timeout at the end of the game, but I thought the latter’s response to it was good:
I have 10 players left on my bench and I put them on the ice and I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I felt bad for the referees. I brought the players back to the bench because I didn’t want to get anyone hurt. It was getting dumb enough as it was. We’re not giving them a freebie (to fight a Senators skilled player). There was already enough of that. It got a little bit stupid in the end, but that’s hockey.
–Mark Parisi offers negative assessments on Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad in the playoffs thus far, but provides no real basis for it.
-Given the 3-0 knockout of the Binghamton Senators their playoff performance doesn’t really warrant a separate post, so here’s a quick recap of the series against Wilkes-Barre: the B-Sens lost every game 3-2 (the first in overtime), which is about as close as it gets. Nathan Lawson played all three games and finished with mediocre numbers (2.60 .905). Matt Puempel was the only multi-goal scorer (2), while Mark Stone and Chris Wideman lead the team in points (3). There were no other multi-point players, but Shane Prince, Mark Borowiecki, Stephane Da Costa, David Dziurzynski, and Fredrik Claesson also hit the scoresheet. Hugh Jessiman was a team worst -3, while Stone, Prince, Claesson, and Wacey Hamilton were a team-best +1.
Other thoughts: it’s a compliment to his development this season that Wideman was such a contributor–it’s easy to forget he was shipped down to Elmira early in the season and was a non-factor initially when he returned to Binghamton. It was a disappointment that Cole Schneider was not able to bring his improving offensive game into the series. Pat Cannone ended his terrible year by taking the penalty that lost the B-Sens game three. Tyler Eckford played so poorly that ECHLer Danny New took his spot in the final game of the series. Neither Corey Cowick or Derek Grant were able to produce in the post-season.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)