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Game Report: Sens Fall Short in Comeback, Lose 5-4 in SO to Atlanta

(source: uk.eurosport.yahoo.com)

Your Ottawa Senators had a Sunday matinee against the Atlanta Thrashers yesterday as they began their three game Southeast division road trip. Coming in on a two game winning streak, Ottawa hoped to extend their streak and put Atlanta’s playoff hopes to bed. With the Thrash in a dog fight for the 8th and final playoff spot, this was a must win for them.

The first period started off great for the Thrashers as they scored on their first shot of the game. With a shot from the point that bounced off Blake Wheeler and then off a Senator in front of the net, Craig Anderson had no chance on the shot that changed direction a few times before it got to him. Ottawa responded quickly as Marek Svatos took a puck out from the corner a drove to the Atlanta net. Losing control of the puck in front of Chris Mason, the puck luckily slipped through him for Svatos’ 99th career NHL goal. A few minutes later, the intensity picked up as Zach Smith and Chris Thorburn got into a spirited tussle. With his third fight in as many games, Smith is sticking up for teammates with his fists. Check out the fight video courtesy of HockeyFights.

The second period saw the Sens come out flat and on their heels for the first half of the period. Being outshot 22-11 in the period, Atlanta showed they were the better team. In a 19 second span, Atlanta broke the tie and notched two quick goals. Bryan Little netted his 17th of the year to put the Thrash ahead 2-1. Then, 19 seconds later, Anderson was caught being a little too cocky and misplayed a shot and its rebound as Ben Maxwell scored his first career NHL goal. With the Thrash up 3-1, Chris Neil banged in a loose puck to get Ottawa back into the game. Rookie Patrick Wiercioch got an assist on the goal which was his first career NHL point.

The third period saw the Thrashers extend their lead as Mark Stuart scored from a point shot that was tipped in front of Anderson to put Atlanta up 4-2 two minutes into the period. Atlanta continued to pour it on as Anderson was the only reason the score didn’t get out of hand. Just as their fifth penalty of the night ended, Jason Spezza  made a great rush up the ice with the puck and deked Ron Hainsey out of his skates and put a slick pass to Erik Condra in front of the night for his sixth goal of the season. With Ottawa pushing to tie the game up, some great work by Erik Karlsson and Filip Kuba  led to Marek Svatos scoring his second of the game to tie it at four apiece with five minutes left in the game. The goal was also Svatos’ 100th goal of his career and put the game into overtime.

With not much happening in the overtime period, the Sens were headed to their second shootout in their last three games. With both teams going goal-less in the first three rounds, Thrasher captain Andrew Ladd notched the only goal of the shootout to give Atlanta the 5-4 shootout victory.

The Positives

Marek Svatos has had a very unimpressive audition here in Ottawa since arriving at the trade deadline. With only one point in 15 games, his two goals can hopefully lead to more production from the former 30 goal scorer.

Even though he allowed four goals and looked horrible on Atlanta’s third goal, Craig Anderson kept Ottawa in the game. Making 43 saves, Anderson was able to rebound from unlucky tips and a bad goal to not allow Atlanta to put the game out of reach.

The Negatives

Bobby Butler  only played more minutes than Francis Lessard Sunday afternoon. Not having scored a goal in eight games, Butler was a minus two and only had 13 shifts all game.

Here are the Game Highlights courtesy of NHL.com.

***Three Stars***

First Star: Marek Svatos – nets two goals and scores his 100th career NHL goal.

Second Star: Craig Anderson – earns it with 43 saves and for regaining his composure after a few bad goals.

Third Star: Ben Maxwell – scored his first NHL goal and had an assist too.

Ottawa may have lost the game, but they showed their resilience as they battled back from a two goal deficit to push the game into overtime and earn a point. Still occupying the Eastern Conference basement, Ottawa has earned 17 points in the month of March to gain some respectability. Next up is a battle with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the third time in the last 19 days. With Ottawa winning the last two games this month, we’ll see if Ottawa can go three-for-three against Tampa in the month of March on Tuesday night. ‘Til next time, GO SENS GO!!!

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