Pacioretty nets hat-trick as Habs beat Senators 7-4
Ottawa Senators defenceman Cody Ceci, right, gets a face full of glove from Montreal Canadiens forward Ryan White during second period NHL hockey action in Ottawa on Friday, April 3, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Published Friday, April 4, 2014 9:54PM EDT
The Canadiens brought out the high-powered artillery to score seven straight even-strength goals against the woeful Senators in Ottawa Friday, to take a 7-4 decision.
Max Pacioretty notched a hat trick and collected a pair of assists, while linemate Thomas Vanek was credited with three assists and David Desharnais scored his 16th goal and also collected an assist as the line combined for 10 points.
The game appeared to look like a laugher from the start but in favour of the Senators, who scored three times in the first six minutes on Habs netminder Peter Budaj.
But the Habs returned the onslaught by scoring a trio of markers in seven and a half minutes soon after the Senators' goal outburst, leaving both teams tied at three going into the second period.
Andrei Markov scored his seventh of the season at 7:22 from a bad angle, as Senators' goaltender Craig Anderson saw the puck bounce off of his pads into the net behind him.
Mike Weaver narrowed the Senators' lead soon after with a seeing-eye wrist shot from the blueline and Pacioretty then scored the first of his three, coralling a saucer pass that Eric Gryba had trouble with, to get in alone on Anderson to tie the score at three.
The Habs took the lead for good at 4:09 of the second period when Lars Eller pounced on a loose puck in the crease to put the Canadiens up 4-3 and Pacioretty then scored his second of the night, as he cruised in on Anderson on a breakaway following an Ottawa powerplay.
The Habs scored their seven goals on just 23 shots against Craig Anderson. Meanwhile Budaj, who looked shaky at the start, turned back 39 of 43 shots, with the help of a couple of goalposts.
The Canadiens extended their lead to two goals thanks to their red-hot top line, who connected at 1:09 and 9:14 of the third, with Pacioretty scoring the first and Desharnais the second and Vanek assisting on both goals.
Mika Zibanejad scored his 15th of the season at 14:07 for the Ottawa Senators following a Jarred Tinordi turnover, to complete the scoring.
With the victory, the Canadiens took the five-game season series over the Senators 3-2.
Ottawa beat the Habs in Ottawa 4-1 on November 7 and duplicated the feat in Montreal on January 4. But the Canadiens won 5-4 in overtime in Ottawa on January 16 and and then took a famous home-ice 5-4 comeback victory on March 15.
Pacioretty’s 38 goals now leaves him fourth in goal scoring in he NHL, trailing only Alex Ovechkin (49), Corey Perry (41) Joe Pavelski (39). Pacioretty has played only 69 games, having missed nine games due to injury.
Pacioretty has four games to score two goals if he wants to become the first Hab to score 40 goals in a season since Vincent Damphousse accomplished the feat in 1993-94.
Since the only other Canadiens along with Pacioretty to score over 30 goals are Mark Recchi (32 in 1997-98) Richard Zednik (31 in 2002-03) Michael Ryder (30 in 2005-06 and 2006-07), Alex Kovalev (35 in 2007-08) and Erik Cole (35 in 2011-12).
Michel Therrien praised the top line after the game.
"That line was very creative offensively. In Tampa it was harder for them but they answered as leaders and I found that Pacioretty played very well,” said Coach Michel Therrien after the game.
P.K. Subban, who was paired with Francis Bouillon played just 13:39, just over half of his seaon average of 24 minute per game and appeared possibly slowed by some minor injury.
"He had a bad start and we as coaches have to take decisions," said Therrien referring to Subban's limited ice time. "He played well in the second and third period."
Therrien had praise for Jarred Tinordi, who stepped up against Eric Gryba in a fight between two giant-sized defencemen. "Tinordi involved himself physically that’s one of his responsibilities," said Therrien.
The Canadiens wrapped up their four game road trip with three wins and one regulation-time loss and next play in Montreal Saturday at 7 p.m., hosting the Detroit Red Wings.