The Ottawa Senators lost much more than just the game against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. In addition to another 5-2 defeat at the hands of their arch-rivals the second time this week- the Senators also suffered the loss of their star player Matt Duchene and veteran Bobby Ryan.

Following the game, Senators head coach Guy Boucher could not provide an immediate update on their status. “We’ll know in the next days“, he said. 

Exciting First Period

Fresh off their testy meeting at the Bell Centre on Tuesday, the Sens and the Habs hit the Canadian Tire Centre ice in their second of a home-and-home series with a lot of energy in the first period. This exciting start delighted a heavily mixed audience of fans supporting both teams.

“I think the guys were ready to rebound tonight”, said Boucher about his team, who was defeated in Montreal earlier this week. “I think the first period showed it. We got the first goal, guys were working hard, lots of body checks, guys were paying the price”. 

In addition to the player’s efforts, it was a battle of the goaltenders early in the game. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson and Montreal’s Carey Price both made some spectacular saves to keep their teams competitive. 

Price arguably had his biggest save off a dangerous Brady Tkachuk shot in close, who sped into the Montreal zone with his teammate, Mark Stone, on a two-on-one. Not to be outdone, the 37-year-old Anderson also had some incredible stops, including a couple of glove saves. 

The Senators opened the scoring 7:58 into the period, when Colin White won a face off and slide the puck to Stone, who tricked Price with a big-time head fake, followed by a quick wrist shot, which soared top-shelf. 

However, the away team wasted no time eliminating the Senators lead on home ice. Only 20 seconds later, the game was tied up, when defenseman Jeff Petry sent a rocket past Anderson from the blue line. 

Sens Fell Apart

Despite a competitive start, the final 40 minutes were very much a one-sided affair in favour of Montreal. The Habs would go on to score four more goals, compared to one from the Senators, and outshoot Ottawa 30-11 during this span, including a whopping 19-3 in the third period.

Although the Senators managed to limit Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin from the scoreboard this game, it was Montreal’s depth generating most of the offence. Paul Byron scored twice, earning the first star. Petry recorded an assist in addition to his goal, earning him third star honours. While, it was Andrew Shaw who put away the game-winning goal. 

For much of these two periods, Montreal was the faster team with more energy and speed. Perhaps the players simply carried on the momentum from Tuesday night’s 5-2 win at the Bell Centre. Or perhaps they were empowered by a strong and supportive presence of their fan base in enemy territory. 

Injury Strikes

Regardless of what energized the Canadiens, it certainly didn’t help the Senators when they lost both Duchene and Ryan to injury part way through the game. The importance of these two players on the Senators roster cannot be overstated.

Duchene, 27, plays a major role on the team’s top line as their number one centre. He logs an average ice time of 19:11, and leads the team with 34 points (12G, 22A) in 29 games. His production is strong enough to rank him top 10 in the NHL scoring race. In 15 games last month, Duchene recorded an astounding 22 points, including eight goals and 14 assists. 

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Ryan, on the other hand, has also been having one of his more productive seasons in some time. The 31-year-old has accumulated 18 points (6G, 12A) in 29 games while averaging 16:00 of ice time per night. Both also eat up plenty of minutes on the Senators power play.

After these injuries, the under-belly of the Senators became exposed, as the youth and inexperience bubbled to the surface. From that point on, the team seemed to become disjointed, failing to match the intensity brought on by their opponents and on multiple occasions, looking very uncoordinated and disorganized. Their game became littered with accidental giveaways and unnecessary turnovers, in addition to losing races and battles for the puck against a much more powerful Montreal team.

The game slips away in that second period because of bad puck management. It doesn’t matter who you play against. If you don’t manage the puck well, it’s going to haunt you. In both games puck [mis]management killed us“, explained Boucher in the post-game press conference.

Snap Shots

  • After skating in the pre-game warm-up, there was heavy speculation that Max Lajoie could rejoin the Senators line-up this game. However, he did not, as he continues his recovery from an injury.
  • The Sens and Habs play against each other three times in 12 days this month. Currently, the Canadiens hold a 2-1-0 edge over the Senators on their season series. Dec. 15 will be the last time these two teams meet in the regular season this year.

Official 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Paul Byron, Montreal (2G, 4 Shots, 3 Hits)
  2. Colin White, Ottawa (1G, 1A, 4 Shots, 1 Hit)
  3. Jeff Petry, Montreal, (1G, 1A, 6 Shots, 2 Hits, 2 Blocks, +3)

Up Next

The Senators welcome Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins to Canadian Tire Centre for some classic Saturday night hockey.

Scoring Summary

Mark Stone (14)Colin White (10)
Jeff Petry (4)Michael Chaput (1)
Kenny Agostino (5)
Paul Byron (5)Phillip Danault (13)
Artturi Lehkonen (11)
Andrew Shaw (8)Jonathan Drouin (16)
Jesperi Kotkaniemi (11)
Colin White (8)Ryan Dzingel (9)
Mark Stone (18) 
Brendan Gallagher (13)Tomas Tatar (12)
Jeff Petry (16)
Paul Byron (6)Shea Weber (2)

Cover Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.

Billy Morrison

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