The Senators squared off against the New York Rangers for the third time this season, splitting away victories in the first two meetings. The Rangers came into the game riding a five game win streak while the Senators had a streak of their own with points in their last seven games (6-0-1).
The Senators came out aggressive getting lots of zone time in the Rangers’ end. The solid pressure by Ottawa led to several icing calls against New York but Ottawa couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities. The momentum the Sens were accumulating was put to a stop when they were caught with the all too familiar too many men on the ice call. A nice kill by the Sens was followed not long after by another penalty. The star of the period however led his team to another kill. It was Craig Anderson stopping all thirteen shots he faced to keep the Senators tied going into intermission. A scary moment did come for the Senators in the final minute however as Fedotenko hit knee on knee with Jason Spezza, who fell awkwardly to the ground but shook it off and stayed on the bench. The play also sent the Senators their first powerplay of the game that would continue into the next period.
The New York Rangers finished off their penalty kill as Fedotenko came out of the box. A very tight game between the teams as they exchanged chances but both goalies were unwilling to break first. Kyle Turris had one of the best chances as he found himself behind the Rangers defense but couldn’t get a shot away with a bouncing puck. It was the Sens and Jason Spezza who would score first. His 17th of season both maintained his point per game pace and gave the Senators the lead. Chris Phillips had the only assist. After two, the goalies were still the highlights of their respective teams, Lundqvist with 14 saves and Anderson with 21 saves. Both making key saves to keep the game close, but it was the Sens carrying the 1-0 lead into the third period.
Senators began the period shorthanded with Neil earning a boarding penalty in the final seconds of the second period. The Senators killed another penalty preserving their delicate one goal lead. Rangers began putting the pressure on the Sens as time counted down but it was the Sens who would strike next. Milan Michalek increased the lead to two mid-way through the period to give the Sens a bit more breathing room. That room was increased greatly with Spezza’s second of the night, a power play goal with Callahan off for high-sticking. Erik Karlsson picked up the lone assist, his second of the night to increase his lead in the defensive scoring race. With less than two minutes remaining Milan Michalek was called for a slash as the Sens continued to dangerously test New York’s power play. The win was already safe and after a kill that made them 4 for 4 on the night, so was the shutout. The Senators defeated the Rangers 3-0 for their first shutout of the season.
*** SenShot’s Three Stars ***
1st Star * Craig Anderson: Anderson picked up his first shutout of the season stopping all 34 shots he faced. He kept the Senators in the game making 13 saves in the first before the Senators offense got going. Made solid, key saves throughout the game.
2nd Star ** Jason Spezza: Spezza had two goals, including the game winner. Was on the ice for all three Senators goals though he didn’t get a point on the second. Consistently making plays at both ends of the ice.
3rd Star *** Erik Karlsson: Only had 20:44 minutes (his lowest total since opening week) but was a factor each shift. Shut down the Rangers big weapons and helped the team to the shutout. As always, he also pitched in offensively with two assist to increase his already big lead for the defensive scoring title.
Since before the season started everybody has doubted and underestimated this team and every game the Senators have tried to prove them wrong. The energy and effort of this team has been a difference maker constantly. Even sitting 5th in the Eastern Conference to begin the night many questioned their talent. If shutting out the number one team in the league doesn’t tell you this team is serious i don’t know what will. The team has their flaws pointed out early in the season but are constantly improving and currently playing the best hockey they have all season. The Senators who now have an eight game point streak (7-0-1) head to Montreal to face the only team to beat them in regulation since December 14th.
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