(source: ERROL MCGIHON/THE OTTAWA SUN/QMI AGENCY)
Your Ottawa Senators continue their role as spoilers as they went into New York and beat the playoff bound Rangers. With Ottawa coming off a hard fought loss to Carolina on Tuesday night, Ottawa looked to repay the Rangers for the beat down they gave them three weeks ago. With the Rangers looking to move up in the Eastern conference standings and secure the playoff birth, this game was an must win. Craig Anderson returned to the Sens net after backing-up the last three games and was tasked with out-dueling Henrik Lundqvist.
The first period was fast paced as both teams played tight as neither team wanted to make the first mistake. With only 12 total shots in the period, Ottawa had seven compared to the Rangers five. Even though they didn’t get much work in the period, both goalies were solid. The period ended with Zach Smith and Michael Sauer trying to get at one another but being broken up by the officials and both given unsportsmanlike penalties.
The second period started off where it ended with Smith and Sauer finally getting to play punch face as the two grabbed each other as they left the penalty boxes. (Check out the fight video below courtesy of HockeyFights.com) I’d say the tussle was a draw. The Sens were able to break the goose egg on a good rush up the ice by Nick Foligno, Bobby Butler and Ryan Shannon. With Foligno streaking towards the net, Butler made a great cross ice pass to Shannon for the perfect wide open shot. With lots of family in the crowd, the NY native Shannon increased his career high in goals with his 10th of the year. The period ended with Ottawa holding onto a 1-0 lead.
As the third period started, the Rangers came out on a mission and peppered Anderson with shots as they tried to get back into this game. Two and a half minutes into the period, Chris Phillips lost his footing at centre ice and tripped up Marc Staal (which was leading to a penalty) which lead to a 3 on 2 as Brandon Prust ripped home his 12th of the year to tie the game at one. The rest of the period was exciting as both teams traded chances. The intensity rose as the period came to an end as there was almost a line brawl in front of the Ottawa net. When the penalties were handed out, Ottawa came out on top as Ottawa had Zach Smith and Jesse Winchester in the box compared to NY’s Brandon Dubinsky and Brian Boyle. However, with a stupid holding penalty, Chris Neil gave the Rangers a powerplay with 26 seconds left of the period. Luckily for Neil, the Rangers could not capitalize before the period ended.
Overtime started with the Rangers on a 1:34 minute powerplay. They could not beat Anderson and Neil almost made up for his penalty as he got out of the box and had a break-a-way on Lundqvist. Neil couldn’t beat King Henrik and the overtime period ended as the game was heading to a shootout. With Ottawa’s dreadful shootout record this season (1-4), Sens Army didn’t have high hopes for a Sens win. With the first six shooters failing in their attempts, the shootout went into extra shooters. With Anderson stopping Ryan Callahan, the tenth shooter, Erik Karlsson skated in on Lundqvist and beat him low glove side for the win. With the win, Ottawa snapped NY’s five game winning streak.
Craig Anderson had a strong game in his return to the net after his last two starts were less than stellar. Making 30 saves, including six in overtime, Anderson bested one of the best goalies in Lundqvist.
Ryan Shannon is a man on a mission lately. With four goals in his last five games, Shannon is making a case for a new contract next season.
Erik Karlsson played over 30 minutes last night. Even though he didn’t get any points, the kid scored the only goal in the shootout and played well defensively all game.
Chris Neil took a penalty with 26 seconds left in the game. It almost cost Ottawa the game and more is to be expected from the veteran.
Here are the Game Highlights courtesy of NHL.com.
First Star: Craig Anderson – made 30 saves and is showing Sens Army that his new four-year contract was the right decision by the organization.
Second Star: Henrik Lundqvist - King Henrik also made 30 saves and stymied the Sens at every corner.
Third Star: Ryan Shannon – scored his fourth in his last five games and has been one of Ottawa’s best players as of late.
Ottawa is enjoying the role of spoilers and have beaten some playoff bound teams in their last ten games. With many on the roster playing for jobs and pride, Ottawa proved last night that they cannot be overlooked. Ottawa gets no rest as they have to fly home and face the hottest team in the NHL right now, the Washington Capitals. ‘Til next time, GO SENS GO!!!
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