The Senators came into New Jersey for the second night of back-to-back games. The Senators fell 5-3 to the Washington Capitals yesterday – their third loss to the Caps of the season – despite having a lead going into the third period. The Sens didn’t have to wait long for a chance to redeem themselves as they come into New Jersey for the second game of a back-to-back set.
The Senators came out strong, playing maybe the best first period they have all season. Milan Michalek got his league-leading 18th of the year just under seven minutes into the game off a pass from Jason Spezza. The Sens then had a perfect chance to increase that lead as Neil went off the ice with blood dripping from his face after receiving a high-stick near the eye from Petr Sykora. The Senators powerplay were unable to capitalize on the four minute opportunity. Not long after however, the Senators did in fact double their lead. Nick Foligno backhanded a shot past Brodeur with assists going to Cowen and Greening. The shots we’re tied at 9 a piece after one but the Senators were the only ones to score.
After failing to capitalize on the great man-advantage opportunity in the first, Ottawa was given another chance when they got over a minute of 5-3 time to work with. Mattias Tedenby went off first for holding, with Petr Sykora following 46 seconds later with an unsportsmanlike call. The power play finally striked with a Daniel Alfredsson blast beating Jonas Hedberg, who replaced Brodeur after his less than Stellar start. Karlsson picked up his 23rd assist to tie the league lead and Spezza had the other for his second of the night. The Sens goal came with a few seconds left on the 5-3 so they still got some power play time to expand their 3-0 lead but they couldn’t manage another. The next goal did come on another Sens PP but it was for the wrong team. With 5 minutes left in the second, New Jersey captain Zach Parise one-timed a feed from Adam Henrique past Alex Auld. Other than that short handed goal against, the Senators played a decent period only allowing 5 shots against, but still only getting 7 for themselves despite all the powerplay time.
New Jersey took over in the third, scoring another short handed goal just minutes into the period, to reduce Ottawa’s lead to a single goal. A bad turnover in the neutral zone led to a scoring opportunity for the Devils and Zubrus did not miss, getting his eighth of the year. Ottawa was then sent to a very important penalty kill as Nick Foligno went off on a weak goaltender interference call. The Sens did well to preserve the lead, the penalty kill working much better than the power play. It didn’t last though. Half-way through the period the New Jersey Devils made a strong push, getting two goals within 40-seconds of eachtoher, to not only tie the game, but take the lead as well. The first goal came off a Clarkson shot that hit Tedenby in the stomach area as he was skating by the crease, and deflected into the net. The second, just 37 seconds later, was Ilya Kovalchuk with the help of Parise and Henrique. This followed by a not too unexpected fight involving Zenon Konopka and Mark Fraser. Konopka got the instigator, putting the Senators shorthanded again, but they killed it off once more. The Senators didn’t give up though, pushing hard to try and tie the game. Their task was made more difficult when Erik Karlsson went off for triping with just over a minute remaining. The Senators are nothing if not battlers though and it’s not unknown that they can come from behindno matter how much time is left. They showed that again, this time it was Jesse Winchester with five seconds remaining in the game getting the puck past Hedberg despite being shorthanded. The score remained 4-4 as regulation finished; the shots 31-29 in favour of New Jersey.
An odd extra period saw the Sens and Devils play 5 on 5 instead of the typical 4 on 4. I’m not sure if it was just unnoticed or what but it continued for a good 3 minutes of the 5 minute period. Regardless the play went on and with Karlsson continuing his penalty from the third period, New Jersey had some early chances but the game remind tied at the end of overtime. You know what that means – Shootout!
Despite Ottawa’s 3-1 shootout record entering the game, it was a bit of a nervous thought for Sens fans with Auld in net this time around. Also, New Jersey entered with an even better 5-1 record. Here’s how the shootout went:
NJ Kovalchuck – Miss
OTT Michalek – Save
NJ Parise – Goal
OTT Spezza – Goal
NJ Elias – Goal
OTT Alfredsson – Goal
NJ Henrique – Goal
OTT Rundblad – Save
(will be posted later)
*** SenShot’s Three Stars ***
1st Star – Zach Parise, NJ – Scored New Jersey’s first goal and got the team started on their comeback, also picked up an assits and had a shootout goal.
2nd Star – Daniel Alfredsson, OTT – Alfredsson also had a goal, an assist and a shootout goal. His assist was an important one that helped lead to the Winchester goal to tie the game with seconds left. He was hard working as always and kept the team going after losing their lead.
3rd Star – Adam Henrique, NJ - The rookie skated well the whole game and picked up two assits. He also scored the winning goal in the shootout.
Before they knew it the three goal cushion they relied on the second half of the game wasn’t enough and the Sens have now lost third period leads in their last two games. In back-to-back games that should have seen them get away with 4 points – or at the very least 3 – they finish with a mere 1. And though they were lucky to get even that one point with just seconds left in the game, they shouldn’t be to pleased with it knowing very well it was less than they should have had. The Senators are going straight back to Scotiabank Place where they begin a four game homestand versus the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Hopefully a better outcome awaits them there. Until then, Sens fans.
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