Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rough Night

The Canadiens 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators was the result of a lacklustre effort on the part of the home team and a perfect shutdown game executed by the visitors.

It's the second time the Sens have brought the Habs crashing back down to earth, the first was on February 9th when Jason Spezza had a six point night and they pounded the Habs 6-1. Spezza has the Canadiens number. He has absolutely decimated the Canadiens this year and tonight was no different.

The Sens made a statement. They're still the best team in the Northeast division and look to be back to form right now, although time will tell whether they can win consistently. Martin Gerber was perfect although he wasn't frequently tested. His team played well in front of him, didn't really allow the Habs a chance to get pucks in deep and scored on two of their five power plays.

The Canadiens were 0 for 3 with the man advantage, including a power play 42 seconds into the contest that the Sens stifled and never looked back. When their power play doesn't connect early it can often take the wind right out of their sails and this game was a perfect example. They looked tired, pucks weren't bouncing their way and Carey Price was beaten on shots he had basically no chance of saving. He talked about the Sens getting bounces after the game but I think we can all agree that putting up a goose egg on the scoreboard is a pretty good way to lose.

You can't overemphasize the importance of Saturday night's showdown with the low-scoring New York Islanders. Every point is so important right now, losing to the bottom-tier teams is not an option. The difference between finishing atop the Northeast division and finishing second is playing either Pittsburgh or New Jersey (that would be bad) and playing Philly or Boston (that would be good).

Winning the division will be a very tough task to accomplish but these guys can do it. Two more games against Ottawa and one last monkey to get off of their collective backs.

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