A duel of goaltenders, they said it would be. Tight-collar hockey. Players checking each other so tightly, there would be no daylight between them. Here’s hoping sidelined Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty didn’t aggravate whatever’s hurting him by laughing himself silly, wherever he was watching this. Surely there’s no way the rest of this Eastern Conference quarter-final can be as goofy as Game 1 played Wednesday at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens’ 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators gives the Habs a 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven series. Just think: 15 more wins and the Canadiens will have a parade. In front of no one, probably, because every fan will be in a cardiac ward. Shots on goal finished at 39-33 for Montreal, which often is the shot total for two playoff games. “The playoffs are a whole different beast,” Canadiens forward Devante Smith-Pelly said with a grin afterward. “You want to play like that every game, but there’s nothing like the first playoff game. I guess that’s pretty much my game right there.” Smith-Pelly’s game, in fact, was a dandy. In a city that forever is a construction zone, the 22-year-old came dressed as a wrecking ball, generously throwing his weight around for a total of six hits. That equalled the total of teammate Alexei Emelin, one fewer than the game-high of Ottawa forward Clarke MacArthur. “We knew we had to be physical, we knew they’d be physical, and with the physical comes a little bit of chippiness and nastiness,” Smith-Pelly said. “I don’t think any of the guys shied away here tonight. That was expected. “The first 10 minutes were as fast of a game as I’ve seen in a long, long, long time. There’s that, then the quick goals back and forth. It was an emotional roller-coaster shift to shift.” Fitting, since a Ferris wheel has been set up below the Bell Centre as part of the team’s playoff Fan Jam.
Habs survive own-goal, loss of Subban in wild win over Sens
Montreal Gazette | Apr 16