Cole and the Canadiens put Senators away early

Cole and the Canadiens put Senators away early
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators didn’t have to be told what they were facing after Friday’s 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, their fifth defeat (two by shootout) in their past six games.
It’s a black and white world, according to centre Jason Spezza: The Senators’ hold on a National Hockey League playoff spot is becoming precarious.
“The rest of the stretch now, I’d say they’re all pretty much playoff games,” Spezza said.
“Teams are chasing us and getting wins and we’re not right now, so they’re must-win (games).”
Ottawa is still seventh in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, but Winnipeg rallied to beat Washington 4-3 in overtime on Friday night, while Buffalo dropped the New York Rangers 4-1. The Senators are just two points up on both Washington and Buffalo with seven games to play, while 10th-place Winnipeg is six points back with a game in hand.
That brings us to the Saturday night game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, perhaps the hottest team in hockey.
After a night in which starting goalie Craig Anderson was replaced by Ben Bishop 4:56 into the first period, but then returned to the ice for the second and third periods, there is a question about who will start in net against the Penguins.
Coach Paul MacLean said after Friday’s game he hadn’t decided.
Anderson’s return after four weeks off because of a laceration to the baby finger on his right hand in a kitchen accident didn’t go as planned.
He gave up two goals to Erik Cole on Montreal’s first four shots, then gave up one to Lars Eller in the third.
He said he felt better in the second and third periods, but was sour about how the game started.
“They got a lucky shot off my glove,” Anderson said.
“Obviously I’d like it back.
“Then I made a blocker save and (the rebound) hit Cole in the chest and dropped right on his stick. Not much I could do on that one. We came out pretty flat and they took advantage of it.”
In between Anderson’s stints, Bishop gave up two goals on nine shots, including Cole’s third of the night and one by Petteri Nokelainen.
The 4-0 first-period deficit was ultimately too much for the Senators to overcome.
That, MacLean said, made it possible to put Anderson back in for some playing time.
“I just tried to stick with my game and not do too much,” Anderson said.
“Obviously I haven’t been in there a whole lot, and you just want to make sure to do a few of the simple plays and just play goal and stop the puck.”
Spezza scored the Senators’ only goal on Canadiens netminder Carey Price, who stopped 37 shots.
It was Spezza’s 30th goal of the season.
There were also two disallowed goals, one for the Canadiens and one for the Senators on a controversial high-stick call against a Daniel Alfredsson deflection in the second period. The Senators argued that Alfredsson’s stick appeared to be below the legal limit.
The game was also filled with penalties, most taken by the Senators. They took 19 for a total of 92 minutes, while the Canadiens took 11 for 52 minutes.
Defenceman Chris Phillips said it was time the Senators woke up.
“We like our chances because it’s in our hands,” he said. “But, saying that, we have to realize now — not soon, now — that we can’t go on cruise control into the playoffs.
“Teams behind us are playing well and we have to pick it up, not only to get ourselves in there, but that’s where you want your game at when you’re going to the playoffs.
WHY THEY LOST: Because the Canadiens opened a 4-0 in the first 8:21 of the game and the Senators were hopelessly buried.
STUD: Erik Cole: Got Montreal off to a big lead with a natural hat trick in the opening 5:41, the fastest Montreal hat trick from the start of a game. His 30 goals match a career high from 2005-06 with Carolina.
DUD: Zenon Konopka: He does nothing but take bad penalties that put his team at a disadvantage. It’s puzzling why coach Paul MacLean keeps putting him on the ice. Konopka had two minors, a fighting major, and a misconduct for his night’s work.
THE BELIVEAU RULE: Jean Beliveau scored Montreal’s fastest hat trick in 44 seconds on a second-period power play on Nov. 5, 1955. That was when the full penalty had to be served. The next season the NHL changed the rule to allow the penalized player to return after one goal had been scored. Only Montreal opposed the rule change. Chicago Blackhawk Bill Mosienko scored the NHL’s fastest hat trick in 1952: 21 seconds.

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