Winning The Battle On And Off The Ice

As the seconds ticked off the clock in the last minute of last night’s game, I turned to my friend at the bar and said, “This is one of the best Senators games that I’ve seen in quite some time.”

While the game summary accounts for the Senators and Habs combining for a whopping 236 PIMs, 7 goals, and 7 fights, what it won’t tell you is that the night culminated with the Canadiens collectively losing their minds. (Note: Ottawa’s 107 PIMs last night established a new postseason franchise record. Their previous high was 60 in an April 25th, 2006 game versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.)

Here's the video of the line brawl that was sparked by Ryan White's two-handed slash across the back of Zack Smith's knee: 

From P.K. Subban chewing out Max Pacioretty for a suicide pass, to the Ryan White two-handed slash, to the Rene Bourque elbow upside Conacher’s dome, to Josh Gorges screaming profanities at Paul MacLean after the latter strategically called a timeout with a minute left in a 6-1 game, to Michel Therrien stewing on the bench, Montreal’s obsession with trying to match Ottawa’s toughness is bordering on ridiculously comical levels.

Over the course of the past week, much has been made about the quotes being made through the media by members of the Canadiens and Senators head coach Paul MacLean. It’s been nothing but a string of head games and much like the games in this series, the Senators are winning more than they are losing. The husky walrus’ decision to call a timeout was ingenious; not only was it defensible, it was calculated and consistent with his strategy of provoking the Habs by drawing more attention to himself and having them subsequently spend less time focusing on their game.

For what felt like the first time in Senators postseason history, it felt good to be on the other side of it. Having lived through those four playoff losses to the Leafs, we know what it’s like to be told that we’re not big enough, tough enough or go the dirty areas of the ice enough to have postseason success. It feels nice to be able to bask in it and enjoy the moment.

Although Montreal blew a gasket in game three, none of their players will face supplementary discipline for the events that occurred in last night’s third period.

Just when you think that things could not get any crazier on the ice, Patrick Wiercioch’s lower body injury means that Eric Gryba, who is eligible to return after serving his two-game suspension, will likely draw in for game four on Tuesday night.

Pageau In Select Company…

With his hat-trick performance last night, Elias Sports Bureau indicated the 20-year-old Pageau is the fifth player in the NHL's expansion era to record a playoff hat trick before his 21st birthday. The other players to do that since 1968 were Wayne Gretzky (who had two playoff hat tricks at age 20 in 1981), Peter Zezel (age 20 in 1986), Patrick Kane (age 20 in 2009) and Sean Couturier (age 19 in 2012).

http://youtube.com/watch?v=3zA8GC_tov0?list=FLuzb0upONXBpfQFTkdonnRw

As great as Regin was in the spring of 2010, I think there's a new standard by which we measure unexpected playoff performances in Ottawa.

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