The Habs needed to show the Ottawa Senators that they could manage their top line and they did just that at the Bell Centre in Montreal last night, building a 7-1 lead before heading into the third period. The Senators made a valient comeback effort in the third period, scoring four goals to cut the lead to 7-5 as they kept the Canadiens well on their heels for the majority of the period but that’s the most they could do.
Montreal got first period goals from Andrei Kostitsyn (2) and Chris Higgins and second period goals from Francis Boullion, Andrei Markov, Mikhail Grabovski and Tom Koustopolous while Carey Price kept the Sens to a single goal from Antoine Vermette during the first 40 minutes.
The third was a different story as Ottawa managed to put the Habs on the defensive as they ran the net and pummled Carey Price with shots from every direction, and they goals from Dany Heatley (2), Jason Spezza and Martin Lapointe before the dust settled. The shot total was close at the end of the game (36-32) even after Ottawa outshot the Canadiens 14-2 in the third.
We’ll forgive the boys a lazy third period in light of the huge victory Les Habitants now hold a commanding seven point lead over Ottawa in the Northeast and a three point lead over Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference (the Pens do have a game in hand, however).