The New York Rangers finally have a homestand after opening in Europe and spending time in beautiful Western Canada. They lost their home opener in the re-furbished MSG against the Maple Leafs, and the Senators hope the trend continues. Ottawa is riding a 4 game winning streak and are at the .500 mark through 10 games. Robin Lehner got the promotion to be the backup to Craig Anderson as Alex Auld hurt himself at practice this morning.
The First Period
Each team played a cautious first 10 minutes, and each team enjoyed a power play but both were unsuccessful. Henrik Lundqvist demonstrated why he has the Rangers at the .500 mark early on by stopping a shorthanded 2 on 1 and then making a nice glove save on Zack Smith. Chris Neil got the Sens on the board after a Filip Kuba shot from the point that went off a Ranger forward with Neil providing a screen and was able to get a toe on it and Lundqvist was unable to follow the deflection.
The Second Period
Jason Spezza came close to getting the Sens up by 2 early on in the frame, but Lundqvist was able to sprawl and corral the rebound. Four minutes in, Zenon Konopka was whistled for a 5 minute major (and a game misconduct) for boarding Artem Anisimov. Upon review of the play, while Anisimov was clearly not expecting it, Konopka got to his shoulder and it was Anisimov’s putting himself in a position to get hit that resulted in the penalty. On the power play, a bad rebound placement from Anderson was put right on Ryan Callahan‘s stick and he buried it to tie the game, and the Rangers remained on the PP for 2 and a half minutes. A minute or so later, Brad Richards put the Rangers up by one as he went 5 hole after Milan Michalek failed to clear the puck. For the record, Anisimov was so hurt that he was on the second shift of the power play. The Rangers were buoyed by the turn of events and the Senators spent the next few minutes trying to regain momentum. Eventually a couple of strong shifts by the Spezza line and then the Neil line seemed to get Ottawa back in the game and they started pressing again. A late period Senators power play fizzled and the clubs went to the room with the Rangers leading 2-1.
The Third Period
With Sens fans anticipating another 3rd period comeback, Marian Gaborik was fed from behind the net and left wide open to stuff it past Anderson five minutes into the third, to make the comeback more difficult. It was Sergei Gonchar who was standing alone in front of the Ottawa net without checking a man. Shortly after, a Senators power play again got no momentum as the Rangers did a great job of blocking multiple shot attempts. Richards added his second of the game to start making the game look like it might get out of hand. Spezza gave the Sens hope ass he deflected a Kuba pass from the sideboards past Lundqvist to bring the Senators back to within 2. Wojtek Wolski went out of his way to deliver a blatant elbow to the head of Daniel Alfredsson who not near the puck, and Wolski was only given a minor penalty on the play. Spezza made them pay on the power play as he wired a shot past a screened Lundqvist to bring them within one with just over 7 minutes to play. Michalek completed the comeback, burying his own rebound to tie the game up with just under 3 minutes remaining.
With a point in their pocket that 15 minutes earlier they couldn’t have expected, the Senators took it to the Rangers in the Overtime period. It was a fairly wide open period that saw chances for both teams, most notably a great save by Anderson on a Richards to Gaborik pass across the ice to keep the game going. Overtime solved nothing, and it was time for the shootout.
Christensen NYR – Saved
Michalek OTT – Goal
Richards NYR – Saved
Spezza OTT – Missed
Wolski NYR – Missed
Senators finish an unlikely comeback and defeat the New York Rangers in spectacular fashion by a score of 5-4
POST GAME SHOW
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SENSHOT’S THREE STARS
3. FILIP KUBA – 3 helpers and +2
2. BRAD RICHARDS – 2 G, 1A
1. JASON SPEZZA – 2 G keyed the 3rd period comeback
- The call on Konopka will be debated for the next few days, but it is a fast moving game and we have the advantage of looking at slow motion replays. At full speed the hit looked bad, and it probably deserved a boarding minor at most. However, Wolski went out of his way to target Alfredsson’s head and he deserved at least a major.
- I can’t remember a more exciting time in the regular season than what Sens fans are going through right now. The method of the wins, although may be giving Paul MacLean a grey ‘stache, is really and truly remarkable. Comebacks, last second victories and winning games they shouldn’t are making this club legendary.
- I read the NHL.com preview of the game, and the statement that “Quietly off to a great start is Jason Spezza, who has 5 goals and 13 points in 10 games. … “. If being 3rd in the NHL in scoring (heading into this game) is quiet, then… (I don’t even have an analogy that fits that statement, so insert your own anti-Senators bias comment here)
- Pending Saturday night’s action, Ottawa trails Toronto by only a point for the division lead which makes Sunday’s matchup an important early season game. Ottawa fans will be over the moon and might finally drown out the Leafs fans.
- Alfredsson didn’t return following Wolski’s elbow, which was very similar to the elbow taken by Sidney Crosby at the Winter Classic in January.
The Leafs pay a visit to Scotiabank Place Sunday night at 7:30 pm. Check SenShot tomorrow for a preview of the game.