Let me just say that the Canadiens got lucky.
The Ottawa Senators had all the momentum, all the mojo, and all the reason in the world to go into Montreal and show the Canadiens what hockey is all about. Everyone saw it coming, right?
Well that didn’t happen.
Ottawa scored first thanks to a Milan Michalek unassisted break in the scoreboard. Everything went smoothly for the visiting Senators the rest of the opening frame, but the second period was just sensational hockey — there’s no way around it.
But on top of that, the Canadiens just unloaded on offense to keep the fans and energy in the building.
After an intense ten or so minutes in the middle period, Montreal took the lead thanks to goals by Torrey Mitchell and Tomas Plekanec — which were only fifteen seconds apart.
This lead to intense, physical play with fights every other whistle and interesting (to say the least) exchange between P.K. Subban and Mark Stone. Subban appeared to simply be trying to stop Stone from getting the puck behind Montreal’s Carey Price, but he did so via a nasty slap on Stone’s wrist / forearm area.
And yes, it looked like it hurt. A lot.
As a result of the play, Subban was given a game misconduct and sent out of the building. As for Stone, a trip to the locker room was enough to get him back on the ice for the remainder of the game.
Forget Ford tough — how about hockey tough?
The Senators added two goals to their own but Montreal whipped four scores out of nowhere.
In the third period, although the scoreboard didn’t change from the 4-3 intermission tally, the intensity of the game escalated with each passing second.
And really, that’s what hockey — playoff hockey, I should say — is all about.
If Ottawa continues to play with the same kind of energy that they opened the series with then the Canadiens will have to keep upping the ante to slip into the second round.
Otherwise, the Senators have nothing to be ashamed about. They did everything they could and now have to move on to Game 2 and beyond.
The good news for the fans, though, is that the games are just beginning. Period.