Habs hand Senators first preseason loss
Richard Zednik tallied the game-winner with both teams at even strength, a seemingly rare feat during the preseason.
MONTREAL - In yet another penalty-filled night that has been the norm so far this preseason, the Canadiens rode their red-hot power-play to a convincing 6-3 win over the previously unbeaten Senators at the Corel Centre in Ottawa.
After the Senators went up 2-0 on a pair of goals from Martin Havlat, the Canadiens roared back to hand the Senators their first preseason loss. With the win, Montreal improved their record to 5-2 while Ottawa fell to 6-1.
Tomas Plekanec continued to make a strong case for a spot on the Canadiens' regular season roster with two more points, including his team-leading fourth goal of the preseason. Plekanec is also tied with Radek Bonk for the team lead with eight points.
Also scoring goals on the night for Canadiens were Mike Ribeiro, who tied the game on a two-man advantage with only five seconds left in the second period, Alex Kovalev, Richard Zednik and Michael Ryder, who now has three points in two games since coming back from an ankle injury. An apparent front-runner to crack the season-opening lineup, Christopher Higgins then sealed the victory with an empty net goal.
To say that the Canadiens have lived and died by the power-play this preseason would be an understatement given that a whopping 66.7 per cent (18-of-27) of Montreal's goals so far have come with the man advantage. No team has better exploited the league's crackdown on obstruction than the Canadiens, who boast the NHL's top ranked power-play, which now stands at 27.7 per cent after going 3-for-10 on Saturday while the Senators were 2-for-11.
Yann Danis was solid in his second full 60 minutes of action of the preseason on Saturday night. He hopes to lock down the available back-up spot behind Jose Theodore, as the Canadiens continue to wait for would-be understudy Cristobal Huet to recover from offseason knee surgery. Danis, who certainly had his work cut out for him in facing Ottawa's high-octane offense, kept the Canadiens in the game and turned away 28-of-31 shots he faced. Danis earned the game's first star following his strongest performance of the preseason so far.
The Canadiens and Senators will do it all over again tomorrow night at the Bell Centre in the final game of the preseason for both teams.
NOTES: Claude Julien's lines on the night consisted of: Kovalev-Bonk-Zednik, Ryder-Ribeiro-Pierre Dagenais, Plekanec-Higgins-Niklas Sundstrom, Raitis Ivanans-Steve Begin-Peter Vandemeer... On the blueline it was: Mathieu Dandenault-Sheldon Souray, Francis Bouillon-Mike Komisarek, Craig Rivet-Mark Streit... The Canadiens were outshot 31-27... Following the trade of Marcel Hossa to the New Rangers on Friday, both the Canadiens and Senators will enter the 2005-06 season having dealt a Hossa brother, with Ottawa's blockbuster trade that sent Marcel's older brother Marian to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for Dany Heatley who scored the third and last goal for the Senators on Saturday night...
EXHIBITION SHOOTOUT RESULTS
|Alex Kovalev (MTL)||Dominik Hasek||No|
|Michael Ryder (MTL)||Dominik Hasek||No|
|Pierre Dagenais (MTL)||Dominik Hasek||No|
|Jason Spezza (OTT)||Yann Danis||No|
|Dany Heatley (OTT)||Yann Danis||No|
|Martin Havlat (OTT)||Yann Danis||YES|
Ottawa wins shootout 1-0
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com