After suffering a 2-1 setback at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks, the Ottawa Senators were looking to get back on the winning track against the struggling LA Kings. Ottawa put Mark Borowiecki and Bobby Butler back in the lineup, with Andre Petersson and Matt Carkner coming out.
Craig Anderson made his 13th consecutive start in the Ottawa net, while All-Star Jonathan Quick was manning the cage for the Kings.
The festivities didn’t take too long to get started as Zenon Konopka and Kyle Clifford squared off in the LA end just under three minutes in. Kind of pointless scrap, as Konopka just finished his check, and not overly hard and both players dropped the gloves. Moments after Zack Smith rang one off the post behind Quick, Borowiecki took his first NHL penalty behind his own net, as he was whistled for cross-checking. After running roughshod over the Senators for the first 10 minutes (some legal and some illegal), Dustin Brown drew a weak tripping penalty (called on Nick Foligno) for the Kings second power play of the period. Then, on the power play, Brown slashed Chris Phillips‘ stick in two, again with no call. After a shift where the Kings tough guy line dominated the Ottawa defense, Willie Mitchell‘s wrist shot from the point got past a screened Anderson to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. That is how the first period ended, with Ottawa holding an edge in shots, by a margin of 8-6.
After having some jump as the second period started, the Senators couldn’t beat Quick. It came back to bite them as Kyle Clifford made it 2-0 by knocking home a 3rd or 4th rebound in a goalmouth scramble. An Ottawa power play, awarded after Jarrett Stoll ran over Anderson. The power play gained some momentum and had some good chances, but the highlight was Colin Greening absolutely DESTROYING Drew Doughty in an open ice collision, that sent Doughty flying. However the Sens still couldn’t solve Quick. With Bobby Butler already off for hooking, Smith took a tripping penalty, creating a 73 second 5 on 3. Kaspars Daugavins got caught out of position and the result was a Jack Johnson one-timer that found the back of the net to put the Kings up 3-0. Before the period ran out, a terrible call by the referee resulted in a penalty shot goal for Trevor Lewis. Referee Tim Peel indicated that Phillips covered the puck in the crease, when replays clearly showed he batted the puck to Anderson. The 4-0 lead seemed insurmountable, but is there anything the Cardiac Kids can’t do?
As expected, Alex Auld was in for Anderson to start the third period. LA played a defensive style protecting the lead, but the shutout bid was broken on a power play goal from Daniel Alfredsson with just under 12 minutes left. Neil was caught in the neutral zone by a Clifford hit, that to me seemed accidental, despite the position of Clifford’s stick, that made contact with Neil’s head. To me it looked like a last second reaction to brace himself for impact, and he looked genuinely surprised and sympathetic after the play. The Senators got close to another one but Smith’s shot from a bad angle was plucked off the goal line by defenseman Rob Scuderi with just over 3 minutes left in the game. With the 4-1 loss, Ottawa falls to .500 after 4 games of the 5 game pre-All-Star break road trip. The rubber match goes in less than 24 hours in Phoenix.
Post Game Show
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SenShot’s Three Stars
3. Kyle Clifford (LA) – Recorded the Gordie Howe hat-trick
2. Jonathan Quick (LA) – 27 saves for the victory
1. Dustin Brown (LA)- The Kings captain led by example and was a destructive physical force
WHAT I SAW
Karlsson was hacked down behind his own net on a first period power play, without a call. If Karlsson has indeed earned a reputation among officials for being a diver, as was asserted during/after the Anaheim game, his life is going to be much more difficult. That play by Dustin Brown is called a penalty 99% of the time. However, Brown played a whale of a game and didn’t have a point, or even a shot on goal in this game. He was dominant physically, and although could have been called for a couple of minors, got away with it. He was a force to be reckoned with in both ends of the ice and that is why he was my first star.
That being said, I was hoping someone (Konopka, Neil, Borowiecki?) would have taken Brown to task for running around like that. THAT is when a message needs to be sent, not 3 minutes into the game when nothing untoward has happened yet.
Curious move to completely revamp the forward lines, by putting Bobby Butler from the press box to the first line with power play time. I haven’t seen enough out of Butler to justify having that type of faith in him, and he didn’t do very much at all in that slot.
It is very tough not to blame officiating for some of the Sens troubles in this game, but they weren’t in it from the start, and couldn’t overcome the adversity. Yes, both referees made some very questionable calls, but you have to create your own breaks, and Ottawa didn’t do that in this game.
Tuesday’s game in Phoenix becomes a must win for the team as they do not want to go into the All Star break on a three game losing streak. If that happens, all of a sudden with hard charging Pittsburgh, Washington New Jersey and even the Toronto Maple Leafs all having the Sens in their sights and games in hand after the break.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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