How happy are the Sens to have Alfie and Heatley back? Check that: How happy is Jason Spezza?
Spezza wrapped up the evening with a neat 3 goals and 3 assists, notching his first career hat-trick and passing his career high of 5 points in one game.
Alfie made his return felt as well, going on to tally 2 goals and 3 assists. Dany Heatley finished with 1 goal and 3 helpers, as the "Pizza" line combined for 15 points (refered to as the "Pizza" line because when Ottawa scores 6 or more goals in a game, the fans get a free slice of pizza from Pizza Pizza, and that line is more often than not responsible for the 6 goals in any given game.)
Spezza opened the scoring 22 seconds in on a nifty redirect off an Anton Volchenkov blast stemming from an offensive zone faceoff win. At 1:42 of the first (!:20 later), Spezza had his second of night, sweeping home a loose puck that Huet was unable to cover off a streaking Dany Heatley wrist shot. Huet was chased at the 4:45 mark, as Daniel Alfredsson officially capped his return with a goal, and, in doing so, introduced Carey Price to the ice. Price temporarily healed the wound, but in the second, Ottawa added goals from Heatley and Spezza.
Andrei Kostitsyn scored the Habs' lone goal of the game on a 5-on-3 man advantage with 25 seconds remaining in the 2nd, redirecting home a nice pass set up by brother Sergei to make it a 5-1 Sens lead. Price started that play off and was credited with the secondary assist, the first of his career.
But, to kill the buzz, Alfie earned the crowd their pizza, scoring 2:28 into the third on the powerplay, notching his 2nd of game and giving Spezza the personal-milestone 6th point on the night. Mercifully, the scoring would end there.
Huet allowed 3 goals on 4 shots. Price stopped 22 of 25 in relief. Montreal has now lost 4 of their last 6.
The Senators scored both of their powerplay goals on opportunities granted to them via Patrice Brisebois penalties (notice how much I like him?)
Montreal outshot Ottawa 34 -29, and Ray Emery had 33 saves in the win. Ottawa's lead in the standings has now increased to 5 points over Montreal.
The Habs are off until they kick off a south-Florida mini-trip, visiting the Lightning Tuesday before heading into Florida for a date with the Panthers Wednesday.
-- WHAT'S ON MY MIND? --
-I really hope Montreal finds a way to rebound from this loss as they continue their road-trip in So-Flo next Tuesday/Wednesday. They are now losing more than they are winning, something we are used to enduring in the past but not yet this season, and to keep the fans from panicing, a strong effort and a WIN is needed vs. the Lightning.
-Huet was to blame on 1 of the three goals he allowed. Spezza's redirect and Alfie's shot were practically unstoppable, but Spezza's rebound goal off Heatley was a gift left on the doorstep.
-Montreal really turned it on when down 3-0. They found plenty of ways to beat Ray Emery, but almost no way to solve the posts, as they dented the iron on 5 separate occasions! Emery owes his posts (and, on one occasion, his crossbar) dinner.
-The Habs REALLY need secondary scoring, as tonight demonstrated what the rest of the season could look like should the new big-line fail to produce, although it is rather unfair to judge a performance against a conference leader such as Ottawa.
-Good to see Sergei Kostitsyn not shying away from rough stuff, as he got into his second career fight. His opponent was much tougher this time around, as he upgraded from Chuck Kobasew to Wade Redden. Redden was able to knock him down with a swift uppercut, but, hey, at least he stepped up, which is more than what I could say about Maxim Lapierre, who likes to stir, but doesn't seem to like to shake (shake meaning fight).