Senators Vs. Canadiens: Carey Price Exceptional In SO Victory

Mar 14, 2012; Montreal, QC, CAN; ontreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) makes a save on as defenseman Josh Gorges (26) defends against Ottawa Senators left wing Milan Michalek (9) during the second period at the Bell Center. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-US PRESSWIRE

Ben Bishop and the Ottawa Senators looked to roll over the Canadiens en route to the Northeast Division title, but Carey Price had other ideas.

Over the past two weeks, observers have stopped asking if the Ottawa Senators could overtake the Boston Bruins for the lead in the Northeast Division, and have switched over to asking "When?"

Finally in position to overtake the lead with a victory against the Montreal Canadiens, many expected tonight to mark their ascension, but they failed to account for Carey Price.

Though facing an exceptional level of rubber in the first period thanks to the Ottawa offense buzzing through Montreal's forecheck, the Canadiens' goaltender would remain in control through the storm, while newly acquired rookie Ben Bishop would handle his duties with equal aplomb.

Erik Cole would finally open the scoring late in the period, taking a long feed from Petteri Nokelainen up the boards before firing a long wrist shot, marking the occasion with a goal celebration that nicely straddled the line between "Awesome" and "Hubris."

Though the move gave fans and media alike a good chuckle, perhaps it could be argued that the hockey gods were unamused -- the Senators would tie the game back up on the ensuing possession thanks to a swarming attack that saw Erik Karlsson, Milan Michalek, and Jason Spezza get shots on goal before the puck kicked loose to Colin Greening for a shot into the open side of the net.

In the second period, both teams would trade several consecutive minors, leading to a unique 4 on 3 power play for the Canadiens, but neither would find a way to break their stalemate. Montreal would also temporarily lose the services of both Cole and Andrei Markov due to minor injuries, but each would return after visits to the team's medical staff.

Still tied after 40 minutes, David Desharnais would continue his points streak less than 30 seconds into the third period, redirecting a P.K. Subban point shot from in front of the crease. The Senators would look to respond as they sought a league-leading eighth victory when trailing in the third period, and it would be all-star defenseman Erik Karlsson who brought them one step closer when he followed up a shot from the point, collected the puck, skated to set up a clear shot, then fired again through traffic for his 19th of the season, tying the Ottawa franchise record for goals by a defenseman in a single season.

Despite the Senators outshooting the Canadiens 34-26 at the end of regulation, the two teams would head for overtime still tied, and both Price and Bishop would make key saves to keep their teams alive through the extra period.

In the shootout, Ben Bishop would make a conventional save against Max Pacioretty, while Price would perform a cobra like poke-check, darting out with a lightning-quick strike to knock the puck away from Milan Michalek.

Desharnais would score his second goal of the game with a deceptive shot through Bishop's legs, while Jason Spezza was denied on his attempt.

With a chance to end the game, head coach Jacques Martin turned to Andrei Markov, playing in his first home game in almost two years after finally returning from multiple knee issues. The veteran defenseman's kodak moment was ruined, however, when his shot went into Bishop's glove rather than the net.

Daniel Alfredsson would go over the boards in an attempt to keep the shootout going, but Price stopped his attempt, leaving the Senators one point behind Boston and the Montreal fans with a good dose of bragging rights until the rival teams meet again.

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