Ottawa is in the Canadiens' heads. There's no other way to describe it, after a 6-1 Senators victory that included 236 minutes in penalties, and a third period that saw the Habs actively and repeatedly try to hurt their opponents. Oh, but Paul MacLean called a timeout!
The ugly has been brewing for a while, or at least since Eric Gryba demolished Lars Eller in Game 1. It's the playoffs, so you figured Chris Neil and Brandon Prust would get their inevitable fight out of their system and it'd be done. But this is one of those playoff series, it seems. Everything boiled over with 13 minutes remaining, after Kyle Turris scored to make it 4-1 and put the game out of reach.
On the ensuing faceoff, Michel Therrien put out a line that was decidedly not there to try and get a quick goal back: Travis Moen, Ryan White, and Colby Armstrong, with Francis Bouillon and Jarred Tinordi. Ottawa coach Paul MacLean saw it, countered with a beefy five of his own, White went for a two-handed slash on Zach Smith, and the line brawl was on:
That was just the start. After Ottawa scored to make it 5-1, Rene Bourque elbowed Cory Conacher in the head. P.K. Subban tracked down, started a fight with, and pummeled an unwilling Kyle Turris.
There was still more to come. Brandon Prust threw his own elbow at Conacher. Josh Gorges appeared to intentionally direct a shot at Kyle Turris. With all the penalties, the Senators bench at one point looked like this:
So, after all this, what do you think dominated the postgame talk? Michel Therrien was livid that Paul MacLean called a timeout with 17 seconds left.
"You never want to humiliate another team as a coach, and this is exactly what happened tonight. As far as I'm concerned, that was classless."
MacLean fired back angrily, saying he wanted to prepare his players for possible end-of-game retaliation (and to be sure, Gorges and Prust tried to start something.) But the bigger issue is Therrien, after coaching a game that included all the shit we've just gone over, accusing another coach of being "classless." Gooning up for a line brawl is OK. Targeting heads and picking fights and aiming slapshots at opponents, that's all cool. But an unnecessary timeout? Grab Michel his fainting couch!
The NHL has announced there will be no supplementary discipline, I guess for stupid reasons like "it's the playoffs" and "fuck you, Conacher." It's baffling, but probably wasn't going to act as a deterrent because with Ottawa now up 2-1, Tuesday's Game 4 becomes all-important for both sides. Too important for Michel Therrien to pull the crap he pulled last night.