The Montreal Canadiens were facing many questions entering this past weekend of play. The team was searching for goals, particularly secondary scoring, and the Ottawa Senators were dangerously closing in on them for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. The Sens were only one point back of the Canadiens and had a game on hand, and they were going through a good stretch. For many around the NHL, particularly around Ottawa and the Toronto media, it was just a matter of time before they could gloat at the sight of seeing the all-mighty Habs fall off their throne as they did a year ago.
But unfortunately for colour-commentator Garry Galley and the rest of his anti-Habs’ fellow media pundits, Claude Julien and his men had something else in mind. The Canadiens scored seven goals in two games against the Senators and swept the two-game series, creating some much needed space between the two teams. The Canadiens now sit atop the Atlantic Division with a four-point lead over the Sens, who have a game in hand.
Surprisingly enough, this surge of offense came without the help of the first line of Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov, who combined to a single assist in those two games. Secondary scoring, which was the Canadiens’ trademark at the start of the season, was predominant against Ottawa. Phillip Danault (1G – 2A – 3Pts), Andrew Shaw (1G – 2A – 3Pts), Brendan Gallagher (1G – 1A – 2Pts) and Paul Byron (1G – 1A – 2Pts) led the charge for the Canadiens who also received some help from the back end. Shea Weber (0G – 2A – 2Pts), Andrei Markov (0G – 2A – 2Pts), Nathan Beaulieu (1G – 1A – 2Pts) and Jordie Benn (1G – 0A – 1Pt) contributed to the much needed offense.
Carey Price was… Carey Price, stopping 58 of the 62 shots directed at him for a .936 saves percentage, with a few of them coming at key times during the two-games series. He did not allow a goal on the three shots that he faced in the shootout on Saturday.
All in all, it was a statement weekend for the Canadiens who were celebrating each win by listening to Hall and Oates, Private Eyes.
This week’s schedule is busy, the Canadiens facing the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, before butting heads against those same Senators on Saturday night. All games will be at the Bell Centre.