Senators Lose 5-1 to Canadiens

Check out the highlights

If there was a “MUST WIN” this season for the Ottawa Senators, tonight was the night.  Both Jason Spezza & Craig Anderson returned to the lineup as Ottawa hoped to end their mini-slump and keep some distance between themselves and those beneath them in the standings.  Unfortunately, the troublesome Montreal Canadiens stood in their way of accomplishing that goal; a team that had pretty much dominated the Senators for the entire season.    

And it couldn’t have started out any worse for the Senators.  Just 29 seconds into the game, Erik Cole’s harmless looking shot on net glanced off Craig Anderson’s glove and in to open the scoring for the Habs.  4 minutes later, Cole found himself in the crease with the puck after a point shot bounced off Anderson.  Cole banged it in and it was 2-0 Montreal.  That spelled the end for Craig Anderson as Coach Maclean called a timeout and removed the Senators’ starting goaltender. 

But it didn’t end there.   After Milan Michalek was called for holding, Cole completed the natural hat-trick on the power-play when he snapped in a loose puck alongside the net.  It only took Cole 5 minutes and 41 seconds to accomplish the feat, virtually burying the game in favour of the Canadiens.  

Just for good measure, Petteri Nokelainen beat Ben Bishop for his 3rd of the season and after one period of play, Montreal was up 4-1.

5-1 ended up being the final.  A horrific performance by the Ottawa Senators in a game they absolutely had to have.  Many fans/pundits/analysts will question whether starting Craig Anderson was the right decision and rightly so.  Anderson gave up 2 goals on 4 shots in the first 4:46 and definitely did not look comfortable early on.  His return in the second period made a lot of sense from a coaching standpoint but was unable to spark a momentous comeback.  Anderson finished with 20 saves on 23 shots.

It doesn’t get any easier as the Penguins await the Senators to return home for their tilt Saturday night at Scotiabank Place.  

Notes:  Jason Spezza scored his 30th goal of the season in his 600th NHL game.  An impressive individual accomplishment during a forgettable team game. 5 different Senators had 10 or more penalty minutes (Neil had 33 PIM).

Paul MacLean (audio)

MacLean, Spezza & Anderson (video)


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