When the Ottawa Senators defeated the Montreal Canadiens in five games back in the 2013 playoffs, goaltender Craig Anderson played a big role. Could he top that in their current first round series?
He’s certainly giving Montreal a reason to be concerned as he turned aside 45 of 46 shots in Ottawa’s 5-1 victory Friday night. This is the second straight time that Anderson has thwarted the Canadiens’ attempt to advance as he also earned a 28-save shutout in Game 4.
Anderson first came into the series for Game 3 and nearly kept the Senators from falling behind 3-0 in the series by kicking out 47 of 49 shots in that contest.
If there was one big difference between this contest and Anderson’s previous efforts though, it’s that Ottawa was able to provide him with plenty of support. Bobby Ryan ended his 16-game goal scoring slump while captain Erik Karlsson and forward Erik Condra each found the back of the net for the first time in this series. However, it was 24-year-old Patrick Wiercioch that netted what proved to be the game winner:
The one major setback for Ottawa was that Clarke MacArthur sustained a lower-body injury and didn’t play in the third period as a result.
That obviously hurts the Senators, but they now have the momentum and the series is heading back to Ottawa. Montreal won’t have much time to regroup as Game 6 is set for 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.
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The Montreal Canadiens are rolling at the moment with a commanding 3-0 series lead against Ottawa, but announced some bad news on Tuesday, ruling out d-man Nathan Beaulieu for the rest of the opening round.
Beaulieu, 22, was hurt on this hit from Sens captain Erik Karlsson in Game 3:
Beaulieu remained in the contest but didn’t play in the third period or overtime.
The loss will sting Montreal a bit — Beaulieu played 15:34 and 12:47 in the first two games of the series — but the club is well equipped to deal with losing a defenseman. Sergei Gonchar, Greg Pateryn and Mike Weaver all sat out Game 3, and it looks as though Pateryn will draw in for tomorrow’s potential close-out contest.
Erik Karlsson recorded an assist on the Ottawa Senators’ opening goal, but the offensive defenseman has also been a big factor without the puck. He’s been throwing his body around all game, including his big open ice hit on Montreal Canadiens blueliner Nathan Beaulieu, which you can see below:
The Senators captain has been credited with six hits through 40 minutes of play. That’s more than he had in any regular season contest in 2014-15. He’s not alone in playing a physical game though as Ottawa has recorded 46 so far, including nine from Chris Neil.
Down 2-0 in the series, Ottawa has a 1-0 lead going into the third period of Game 3.
Update: Although Beaulieu initially stayed in the game, he didn’t take a single shift in the third period.