Tough loss – but one from which the Canadiens can derive solace.
Ottawa is a terrific team, a bona-fide Stanley Cup contender.
The Canadiens will not win the Stanley Cup. But they skated and hit with the Senators in a terrifically entertaining, up-tempo game that looked more late April than early November.
For 20 minutes, the Canadiens dominated the Senators in their own building. For 55 minutes, Cristobal Huet and friends shut out one of the most potent offences in the league.
Martin Gerber was just as sharp – give or take a highlight-reel glove save – at the other end of the ice.
But games last 60 minutes. And the Senators, who cranked it up a notch in the second period, dominated the third.
Daniel F. Alfredsson had seven shots and scored the tying goal. The Senators’ captain has 24 goals and 52 assists in 59 games against the Canadiens.
I wasn’t counting (too busy trying to figure out the new way to blog), but I don’t think Canadiens won a faceoff for the last five minutes of the game.
But let’s accentuate the positive:
• Huet was brilliant.
• Mike Komisarek and Roman Hamrlik played huge games.
• Alex Kovalev continues to play like he cares, and he has two terrific playmates in Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostisyn.
• The third and fourth lines played their hearts out.
Chalk it up as a learning experience.
On to Toronto.