Game 6: Canadiens put up a fight but fall 4-3 to Senators

0habsgoal1.gifCanadiens’ Guillaume Latendresse (second from left) is congratulated on his first-period goal by (from left) Roman Hamrlik, Tomas Plekanec and Tom Kostopoulos.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

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On paper, it didn’t look like much of a game – the Ottawa Senators, 6-1-0 this season, against the visiting Canadiens, 2-1-2 and struggling with a regulation and shootout loss in their last two starts.

On the ice, however, it was indeed a contest. The Canadiens gave the Senators all they could handle tonight at Scotiabank Place in Kanata.

With a little attention to their defensive game, the result could have been better than the 4-3 loss Ottawa handed their rivals from down Highways 417 and 40.

Montreal’s Alex Kovalev converted a pretty passing play with defenceman Patrice Brisebois at 12:51 of the third period, beating Ottawa netminder Martin Gerber to pull the Canadiens into a 3-3 tie and give the visitors a lift you could feel all the way back in Montreal.

But a weak pass by Tom Kostopoulos in his own end just 24 seconds later was picked off by Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson and ultimately provided Senators’ Jason Spezza with all the room he needed to bang a rebound past Canadiens goalie Carey Price to put the home team back in front with what proved to be the winning goal.

0cube.gifCanadiens defenceman Francis Bouillon passes against Ottawa.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

Price was pulled for a sixth attacker with just less than a minute to play, but the Canadiens were unable mount much pressure on Gerber.

The ice was still wet when the Senators struck at 31 seconds of the first period, Wade Redden snapping a long, partially screened shot through the pads of Price, who was dropping into his butterfly position. It came on an Ottawa power-play, 14 seconds after Brisebois was sent off for holding.

Equally strange was the goal at 17:11 that tied it 1-1, Guillaume Latendresse banking a goal-line, from-the-corner shot off the skate of Gerber. The game report says Latendresse’s first goal of the season was a 39-foot shot. If so, every inch of it was cross-ice.

The soft, early goal didn’t rattle Price, however. He made several impressive saves on the nine more fired his way in a first period in which the Canadiens held a 13-10 edge.

Senators’ Nick Foligno took advantage of a seriously disorganized Canadiens line of Tomas Plekanec, Latendresse and Kostopoulos, sweeping the puck behind the Montreal net and scooping it beneath the arm of prone Price on an unmolested wraparound at 4:00 of the second period.

Ottawa jumped out to a 3-1 lead when Senators’ Dany Heatley took a pass from captain Daniel Alfredsson, first having clearly interfered with Brisebois, and went in alone on a breakaway, beating Price at 12:43.

Michael Ryder got that one back with his first of the season at 14:32 in a wild goal-mouth scramble, spade work on that done by Christopher Higgins.

The Senators had a 16-11 advantage in shots in the second.

The Canadiens returned home immediately after the game and will practice Friday for Saturday’s home game against the Buffalo Sabres. Montreal is home to Boston on Monday.

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Senators goalie Martin Gerber drops to his pads to make a shoulder save against the Canadiens.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

PREGAME STATISTICS:

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From the Senators point of view:

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