The Ottawa Senators took a 2-1 series lead by beating the Montreal Canadiens 6-1 with rookie Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau stepping up his play by scoring his first career playoff hat-trick. In addition to the performance from Pageau, Senators’ goalie Craig Anderson continued his strong play as he made 34 saves while facing 35 shots during the course of the game.
The Senators started slowly in Games 1 and 2, allowing the Canadiens to dictate tempo, but in Game 3 they were the ones who started strong from the opening puck drop. They established a physical presence which would end up paying off for them as they capitalized on their good start with Daniel Alfredsson opening the scoring on a power play to give the Senators an early 1-0 lead. For the Canadiens, Rene Bourque has had a good start to the series and he would get them back into the game later in the period by scoring his second goal of the series on a power play to even the game up.
The Senators would go back to establishing the tempo of the game in the second period, one which the Canadiens have controlled and won in Games 1 and 2. Pageau opened his personal tally for the game scoring with a wrist shot that found its way past Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price who has been outplayed by Anderson in this series. Outside of the second Period in Game 2 where Anderson allowed the Canadiens to score three goals on 10 shots, he has been unbeatable in the two wins for the Senators so far this series, with 50 saves in their Game 1 win and 34 in Game 3. Anderson’s play has served to give the Senators an opportunity to settle into the series offensively, and his offense stepped up as exhibited by their play in the third period with Pageau scoring a hat-trick.
Although the Senators were penalized for 107 of the 232 penalty minutes in Game 3, the Senators showed composure in their play and allowed a young Canadiens team to be the ones to get frustrated and take bad penalties in the third Period. If the Senators can continue to let the Canadiens lose composure and act out their frustrations, the Senators might just find themselves within a game of advancing on to the next round.