The Montreal Canadiens traveled into the nations capital to face an Ottawa Senators team that continues to defy the odds and win games, in spite on injuries to top talent. The Canadiens out-played and out-shot the Senators 24-9 for the first half of the game, but found themselves at an unlikely and somewhat discouraging 1-0 deficit.
The towering 6-foot-7 Ben Bishop was in goal for the Senators replacing the injured Craig Anderson, and seemed impenetrable. For what appeared to be the first time this season, the Canadiens would attack the net with relentless pressure, and they would be stymied by the imposing Bishop.
Even feisty Habs rookie forward Brendan Gallagher attempted to rattle the hot Sens netminder with a cross-check, but failed to do so. The only rattle on this evening would be the sound of the puck ringing off the goal posts behind Bishop, which occurred on three separate occasions.
Ottawa broke the ice at 6:49 of the second period on a slapshot from the top of the left circle by left wing Dave Dziurzynski on a cross ice setup by Chris Neil. Canadiens goalie Carey Price took a poor angle on the shot and was caught back on his heels. It was a rare soft goal given up by Price this season.
Late in the second period, the Canadiens received a power play opportunity on a questionable roughing penalty to the Neil. Up until that point, the officials were letting the two teams play, and had only whistled a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty against Ottawa.
The Habs capitalized on the man advantage when defenseman Andrei Markov blasted the puck past Bishop from the blue line with only four seconds remaining in the period to tie the game at one. Markov’s shot was possible off a clutch faceoff win by David Desharnais in the Senators zone.
An exciting and well played scoreless third period would be slightly ruined with two iffy penalty calls towards the end of the period, which once again, emphasized the inconsistency in how a number of league games have been officiated this season. When both teams failed to capitalize with the extra man late in the third and in overtime, the game went into a shootout to decide the victor.
Senators center Peter Regin would end up depositing the winning shootout goal past Price. It was a sweet moment for Regin, who has yet to score this season, and nearly won the game when he hit the post in late in the overtime stanza.
The Canadiens outshot the Senators 45-24 and controlled play for a good portion of the game. Montreal, who remains in first place, travels to Toronto on Wednesday to play the Maple Leafs, who have beaten the Habs in their two previous encounters.