Your Ottawa Senators went into Carolina last night looking to extend their winning streak to three games and to also get their first road win of the season. With the Hurricanes coming off two losses over the weekend, they were hoping to jump on the weaker Sens squad and get back in the win column.
The Canes were all over Ottawa in the first 20 minutes. With Ottawa being out shot 15-5, it was the stellar play of Craig Anderson who was able to keep the game tied at zero. Nothing major happened in the frame, but it was clear that Ottawa would have to pull up their socks if they wanted to get into the game.
After a stern verbal lashing from coach MacLean (I assume), the Sens came out and broke the tie game as sniper Zenon Konopka notched his first as a Senator. After taking a breakout pass from Sergei Gonchar, Konopka skated in and snapped a wrister shot side on Cam Ward for the 1-0 Ottawa lead. With the period dying down, Ottawa capitalized on a Jay Harrison hooking penalty as Jason Spezza picked up his fifth of the year (and easiest goal he’ll ever score) after some hard work by Colin Greening in front of the Canes net. Ottawa out shot Carolina 13-7 and had the game fully in hand.
With the game going Ottawa’s way, all they had to do was play smart hockey for 20 minutes to skate away with their fourth victory of the year. But by playing a little too cautious, the Sens let Carolina back into the game as a brain fart put the Canes on the board. As the Canes iced the puck, Ottawa forgot they had to touch the puck for the play to be called for icing as Anderson, Gonchar and Jared Cowen did not play the puck and allowed Tuomo Ruutu to get his third of the year with under five minutes to go. Then after a dive from Jeff Skinner got the Canes an unwarranted powerplay in the final minutes of the game, Skinner scored the tying goal off a great tip in front of the net.
The overtime period was the “Craig Anderson Show” as the tender stopped six shots in the five minute extra frame. With the game headed to a shootout, Anderson and Spezza stepped up as Anderson stopped all three Cane shooters and Spezza scored the only goal in the shootout. In a game that should have never went to a shootout, Ottawa was able to close out the game and continue their winning streak.
+ PLUSES +
+ JASON SPEZZA put the team on his back and led the way, especially with captain Daniel Alfredsson MIA. Spezza played almost 22 minutes and notched his fourth in as many games.
+ SERGEI GONCHAR had a good game (minus his brain fart on the icing play) as he assisted on both the Senators’ goals and now has six points on the year. Hopefully this leads to a better year than last year and a little slack from the Sens fanbase.
+ KASPARS DAUGAVINS played pretty well in his first NHL action of the year. He played over 15 minutes and had three shots on goal. He showed a lot of energy and may be sticking around if he keeps playing like he did last night.
- MINUSES -
- STEPHANE DA COSTA played a team low 8:03 minutes of ice time as he centered the fourth line. It is obvious that Da Costa is having trouble at this level and probably would be better off developing in the AHL.
Here are the game highlights courtesy of NHL.com.
1st* Jason Spezza ~ got a goal and the shootout winner. He looked dangerous every time he was on the ice and was the leader out there.
2nd ** Sergei Gonchar ~ got two assists and played his offensive game.
3rd *** Zenon Konopka ~ used his fists to put the puck in the net and showed he’s more than just a scrapper.
The Sens seem to be finally understanding coach MacLean’s philosophy and the players are playing their roles. The winning streak is great and should be celebrated, but the wins have come against the league’s weaker teams. However, these are the games Ottawa needs to win if they hope to have any shot at the playoffs. Up next is the Florida Panthers on Thursday night in Ottawa as they will try to continue their win streak against the 5-3 Cats. ‘Til next time Sens Army, GO SENS GO!!!
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