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Canadiens vs. Senators recap: Montreal’s top line rolls – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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Less than 24 hours after the Ottawa Senators thumped the Montreal Canadiens 7-2 in the nation’s capital, the two sides met again, this time at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The lineup was very different than the one that was crushed on Friday night. Notably, it featured the return of Brendan Gallagher, in Cole Caufield’s spot, alongside Nick Suzuki.

It also saw Ryan Poehling slide into the second-line centre role, flanked by Artturi Lehkonen and Jesse Ylönen, while Mathieu Perreault centred the third line alongside Laurent Dauphin and Gabriel Bourque. In net Cayden Primeau was given the full 60 minutes for the Habs, while Michael McNiven backed him up.

The game started with a continuation of the physicality that popped up at moments the previous night. Scott Sabourin grabbed Brandon Baddock as he was skating away and began throwing punches, earning an extra two minutes in the box while the Canadiens’ power play went to work.

The man advantage moved the puck well, forcing the Senators’ penalty-killers to scramble constantly, but their shots on net were swallowed up by Anton Forsberg. Once the play returned to even strength, the Canadiens drew another penalty as Laurent Dauphin caught the Ottawa defence flat-footed as he circled the net.

The second Montreal power play was not as pretty as the first as the Senators generated the best chances on short-handed rushes, but Primeau was equal to the task as Ottawa got their second kill of the period. Then, because that’s how the game had gone up to that point, Montreal then headed to their first penalty kill of the night after they were called for cross-checking.

Much like their counterparts, the Canadiens’ penalty-killers were steadfast in the defensive zone, clearing out any rebounds and stifling the Senators’ man advantage to keep the game goalless.

That latter part did not last much longer however, as the Senators cycled around the Habs zone, eventually with Erik Brannstrom lining up to shoot. The young defender’s shot looked like it was heading right for the pileup in front of Primeau, but a deft tip by Tim Stützle lifted it past the screened Primeau and put the Habs down by a goal late in the first.

The penalty parade continued, this time with Arber Xhekaj sitting for a cross-checking penalty. The Montreal penalty kill remained as strong as its first showing, not allowing the Senators any space to operate, and the entire kill was capped off with Alexander Romanov catching Ridly Greig with his head down, hammering him as he tried to enter the Habs’ zone with the puck.

The period ended with the Senators still sitting on their one-goal lead, but with plenty of the game left to play.

It looked like Montreal had opened the scoring in the second period as Jeff Petry pulled off a wraparound, but his shot stayed directly along the goal line, and despite the official signalling that it was a good goal, the puck never crossed the line.

The Canadiens were doing well to control the flow of play as the period wore on, but they were not able to find a tying goal against Forsberg. An odd-man rush for the Sens drew a hooking call as Petry got his stick around Connor Brown’s wrists to break up the play.

Montreal’s penalty kill remained perfect on the night, even with their leading penalty-killer sitting in the box, and the game returned to even strength with the Habs still looking for their first goal of the night. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though, as Petry sent J.-C. Beaudin in alone on net, but the AHL forward failed to solve Forsberg as well.

The Canadiens soon found themselves back on the power play as Tyler Toffoli drew an interference call as he flew into the Ottawa zone. The second unit started the power play, and with Jesse Ylönen acting as the trigger man the Habs mounted a massive attack against the Ottawa penalty-killers. Forsberg remained unbeaten as he robbed Ylönen on what looked like an empty net, but the Habs got a bit of good luck when the next unit took the ice. Josh Brown went to clear the puck, but had his stick crumble in his hands. The puck trickled right to Gallagher, who wasted no time roofing the errant pass by Forsberg to finally get Montreal on the board.

A late Senators power play was again shut down by the Canadiens’ penalty-killers and the teams headed into the final period tied at one goal apiece.

It was another fast start for the Canadiens in the third period as the top line went to work, and found a goal in just 21 seconds. Toffoli worked behind the net and threw a pass out front where Gallagher fanned on the chance, but Suzuki calmly walked in behind him and wired the shot by Filip Gustavsson to put Montreal on top.

With the lead in their grasp, the Habs were content to play safe hockey, slowly pushing the Senators back out of the attacking areas, and getting the puck in deep when that space was given to them. Montreal nearly added a goal a handful of times on a late power play, but Poehling was inches off on his chances at the side of the net.

In the end it didn’t matter much as the Canadiens saw out the end of the game, even with Ottawa pulling their goalie, to secure the win at home in front of 7,500 fans at the Bell Centre.

Montreal has a few days off now to sift through their next round of cuts and do more theoretical work before a third game with the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday night.

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Ex-Bears Star Wanted To Punch Aaron Rodgers' Face Over 'Still Own You' Taunt – TMZ

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NHL suspends Sharks’ Evander Kane 21 games for COVID-19 protocol violations – Sportsnet.ca

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The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

The NHL also announced Monday that its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Deanna, could not be substantiated.

Kane said he is in counselling in a statement released by the NHLPA.

“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols,” Kane said in a statement released by the NHLPA. “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”​

The Sharks also released a statement.

Kane will forfeit about $1.68 million of his $7 million salary for this season with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Kane had previously been cleared by the NHL in an investigation into allegations made by Deanna Kane that he bet on hockey games, including some against the Sharks.

But the league did determine that Kane violated the COVID-19 protocols. A person familiar with the investigation said earlier this month that the league was looking into allegations that Kane submitted a fake vaccination card. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details weren’t made public.

Using a fake vaccination card is illegal in both the United States and Canada, as well as against NHL rules.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week that only four players on active rosters hadn’t been vaccinated.

Kane had not been around the team since the start of training camp while these investigations were ongoing in an agreement between him and the team.

Kane, 30, is three seasons into a $49 million, seven-year contract. He’s with his third organization after being drafted by and debuting with Atlanta/Winnipeg and a stint in Buffalo.

The 30-year-old led the Sharks in scoring last season with 22 goals and 49 points in 56 games.

The Vancouver native has 506 career points (262 goals, 242 assists) in 769 NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Sharks.

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Red Sox’s two grand slams lead ALCS rout of Astros – Sportsnet.ca

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HOUSTON — J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers helped the Red Sox have a grand old time in Houston.

Boston became the first team to slug two grand slams in a postseason game, with Martinez and Devers connecting in the first two innings of a 9-5 win over the Astros on Saturday that tied their AL Championship Series at one game apiece.

Martinez made it 4-0 with his opposite-field shot off rookie Luis Garcia with two outs in the first. It was the first career playoff slam for the four-time All-Star, who began his career with the Astros.

Garcia exited with right knee discomfort after walking the first batter of the second inning. Jake Odorizzi took over, and shortly after a 13-minute delay while the right-hander warmed up on the field, Devers connected with one out for slam No. 2.

“J.D.’s swing was huge to get us on the board early, and then Raffy, same thing, another granny,” red-hot teammate Kike Hernandez said. “Has that ever happened before?”

It has now.

Game 3 is Monday night in Boston. It’s the first of three consecutive home games for the Red Sox, back in the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2018 World Series after downing Houston in the ALCS.

Hernandez, who Boston manager Alex Cora referred to Friday night as “en fuego” after a two-homer performance in Game 1, remained on fire Saturday. He had two hits, highlighted by a solo homer in the fourth inning.

Hernandez has been this postseason’s hottest hitter, leading all players with 16 hits, five homers and four doubles. His nine extra-base hits are also the most in these playoffs and tied a Red Sox postseason record with Mike Lowell (2007), Kevin Youkilis (2007) and David Ortiz (2004 & 2007).

“The importance of the game is allowing me to stay focused and stay locked in,” Hernandez said.

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi permitted five hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Astros captured a 5-4 win in the series opener as they rallied behind homers from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa before falling into the huge hole early in this one.

“That’s a tough team,” Cora said. “It’s never comfortable with them because they’re a swing away from getting back in the game.”

The Red Sox were up 9-0 when Houston got on the board with an RBI double by Kyle Tucker with two outs in the fourth. The Astros cut the lead to 9-3 when Yuli Gurriel followed with single to right field that scored two more.

Gurriel and Jason Castro added solo homers in the ninth off Darwinzon Hernandez before Ryan Brasier got the final out.

“At the end, it was a little too close for comfort, but we got it done,” Hernandez said.

The injury to Garcia is another blow to a Houston team trying to reach the World Series for the second time in three years. The Astros are already reeling after an injury to staff ace Lance McCullers Jr. that kept him off the roster for this series.

They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

When McCullers went out, manager Dusty Baker said the team would just have to “hit more” to absorb the loss. But now that the rotation is further depleted, it’ll be an even taller task for this powerful lineup outgunning a Boston team whose offense has outpaced everyone this postseason.

Odorizzi was left off the Division Series roster after a disappointing first season in Houston before getting a spot in this round after the injury to McCullers. He allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings Saturday in a performance that certainly isn’t good news for a team that is running short on starters.

TOUGH UP TOP

Altuve and Michael Brantley, the top two hitters in Houston’s lineup, are a combined 2 for 17 in the series with a hit each, including Altuve’s homer in Game 1.

UP NEXT

There’s a day off Sunday before Houston’s Jose Urquidy makes his first start this postseason in Game 3 Monday. The Red Sox have yet to name their starter.

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