Move over B's, Sens take over first
BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
|Senators forward Zach Smith eyes the puck along with Canadiens forward Petteri Nokelainen at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont., March 16, 2012. (BLAIR GABLE/Reuters)
OTTAWA - The Senators moved into a position of power in the Northeast Division Friday night.
Even without their power play.
The Senators went a humiliating 0-for-9 with the man advantage, but defenceman Filip Kuba struck with his sixth goal of the season to secure a 2-1 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Place.
While many of the 20,500 were pulling for the Habs, the Senators' faithful left with a smile as the Senators moved into the No. 1 spot in the Northeast Division, ahead of the Boston Bruins, and the No. 2 slot in the Eastern Conference.
Kuba took a pass from captain Daniel Alfredsson and fired it past Carey Price on the stick side at 3:07 of OT. Colin Greening tied it up in the third to send it to the extra period.
"That's a big win for us," said Kuba, who scored his first in 12 games. "Not only are we leading the division, but we're also trying to separate from the bottom teams as well.
"This is a big accomplishment, but it doesn't really mean anything. We have to keep going. We've got plenty of games left and we'll see where we are (at the end). To be there right now, with the way we've worked on the ice and off the ice, is big."
"After the all-star break we really put on the onus on ourselves not only play well but be the top team in the Northeast," said Greening. "It was a great opportunity for us and we took advantage. That's a good stepping stone."
Ottawa goaltender Ben Bishop was hardly forced to break a sweat. He said standing around wasn't easy. The Habs had only six shots in the final 45 minutes.
"It was a little tough," he admitted. "The guys did a good job of blocking shots in front of me. It made it easy on me."
Power play runs dry
This isn't the time of year you want your power play to go dry. Ottawa has only two goals with the man advantage in seven games and both of those came March 6 in Tampa.
"Their penalty killing was outstanding or our power play was awful. It was either one or the other or a combination of both," said Senators coach Paul MacLean.
Greening tried to downplay the unsuccessful power play.
"What do you want me to say? That happens," said Greening. "It just means we had an off night. We play 82 games, there are going be times when you get opportunities and you don't score on the power play.
"Michalek hit two posts. If he had scored on those two shots, maybe we wouldn't be having this conversation. It's weird how things happen. It was just one of those nights where it didn't go in for us."
There was no flow to this game because of the penalties called by referees Chris Lee and Don VanMassenhoven.
It's understandable that the Habs wouldn't be playing at a high level of intensity because they're not going to the post-season, but there were stretches where the Senators' battle level was non-existent.
Midway through the first, Chris Neil sent a message for the Senators to wake up. He scored a decisive victory over Brad Staubitz.
Montreal took a 1-0 lead on Plekanec's 14th of the season, a short-handed effort.