One advantage of playing a road game on the West Coast is that the Senators knew before heading to the ice that the teams right in front of them and right behind them in the standings (Philadelphia and New Jersey) both lost earlier in the evening. A win would be a good chance to jump into 4th place and get some space above 6th.
Ottawa’s eyes would be on hometown boy Mark Borowiecki who was making his NHL debut, in front of his parents and sister who flew in for the California road trip. While Borowiecki was lacing them up for the first time, Sergei Gonchar was playing his 1,100th game.
The Sharks swarmed in the offensive end for much of the first minute, getting a couple of quality scoring chances. They continued the pressure and it finally paid off when Brad Winchester‘s snapshot from the high slot beat Craig Anderson high glove side to open the scoring just over 3 minutes in. The Sharks continued relentless pressure throughout much of the period. After weathering the storm of the Sharks, Kyle Turris found some space at the side of the net and slid home the equalizer just past the midway point of the period. Kaspars Daugavins left the game after ackwardly blocking a point shot while on the PK. He gutted out the rest of the shift in obvious pain, but had to be helped to the dressing room. Despite being outshot and outplayed, Anderson stood his ground, making 15 saves to keep the Senators tied 1-1 through 1.
The Senators picked up their play early in the second period, taking most of the crowd out of the game. Off an Anderson save, Erik Karlsson led the breakout with a pass to Turris and then joined the rush. Turris carried it into the Sharks zone and fed a perfect drop pass to Karlsson who one-timed it home from the top of the circle to give the Senators the lead. Anderson continued to make save after save, denying the Sharks the equalizer. Zack Smith was injured in an inadvertent collision with Winchester, and left the game, leaving Ottawa with only 10 forwards. With Jamie McGinn off for kneeing Jason Spezza, Colin Greening made the Sharks pay when he wired a slapper past Antti Niemi as the Senators took a 3-1 lead and took over the pace of the game.
The Senators came out with a purpose in the third, and for the most part played a solid, smart 20 minutes. Bumps to Chris Neil, Karlsson and Turris were mildly concerning as the period went on, but all were back into the game before too long. Just before the 10 minute mark of the period, a harmless-looking shot from the high slot from Greening eluded Niemi to put the Sharks in a big 4-1 hole that they could not swim out of. A couple of Joe Pavelski tripping calls kept Ottawa on the power play for much of the last 10 minutes and kept the Sharks from really mounting a desperate comeback. Despite being outshot in the game by a margin of 37-21, Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators continue to roll along.
Post Game Show
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Senshot’s Three Stars
3. Erik Karlsson (OTT)- His under-rated defensive ability is starting to get noticed, but it is his transition game that makes him truly stand out.
2. Kyle Turris (OTT) – 1G, 1A and was Ottawa’s best skater in this game.
1. Craig Anderson (OTT)- His play in the first 10 minutes allowed the Senators to be even when they finally got their feet under them. This is a recording.
WHAT I SAW
After weathering the storm early on, it became apparent that Anderson wasn’t going to let this one get away. He has been stellar since the Buffalo game on Nov 11 that saw him get pulled 2 plus minutes in.
With Daugavins and Smith getting banged up, it is pretty much a sure thing that Andre Petersson will get to make his NHL debut on Saturday in Anaheim.
Spezza moved into the top 10 in scoring with his 2 assists. He is 4 points behind the league leader, Evgeni Malkin, who took the lead earlier in the night.
Logan Couture showed why he is an All-Star as he was easily the best Shark on the ice, despite not playing with Thornton, Marleau or Pavelski on a regular basis. With his normal linemates out of the lineup, he is carrying his line and demonstrated that he is indeed rising to star level in the NHL. Good for the former Ottawa 67′s captain.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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