- Pre-Game Warmup
The Ottawa Senators host the Carolina Hurricanes, knowing they will be going to the playoffs regardless of tonight’s result. However, tonight is a must win game if Ottawa is to have any chance of catching the New Jersey Devils for the 6th spot and a likely post-season matchup with the Florida Panthers. Craig Anderson would get the start for the Sens while Cam Ward would get the nod for the Canes.
The First Period
The first period belonged to the goaltenders. Anderson made 10 saves in the period including a goal line stop, while Ward made 13 himself including a stop on a Chris Neil breakway. After one, the game remained scoreless.
The Second Period
The Canes would strike early in the second. Coming down the side Brandon Sutter would wrist a shot on net that would hit Anderson’s shoulder and bounce over into the goal, giving Carolina the lead at 1:33. It was definitely one Anderson should have had. Jeff Skinner appeared to have the go ahead goal with Anderson coughing up the puck and leaving his net wide open. Erik Karlsson would bail him out though, stopping the puck right at the goal line and clearing it out. Later, the Sens would appear to tie it after a Nick Foligno shot would rebound off Ward and then off Chris Neil’s body into the goal. However, after a lengthy goal review, the war room in Toronto determined it to be no goal. It was definitely a controversial call seeing as a similar goal by Evander Kane was allowed when the Sens last played the Jets. At 17:01 another iffy call, as Foligno would be tagged with kneeing on what appeared to be a nice open ice hit. On the ensuing powerplay, Tuomo Ruutu would deflect the point shot past Anderson to give Carolina a 2-0 lead heading into the third.
The Third Period
Carolina would do a good job of limiting Ottawa’s chances in the third. However, the main storyline in the period was the reffing. Neil would be docked with an interference call after clearing the front of the net with an open ice hit at the midway point of the period. In my opinion that call could have gone either way as the player did try to make contact with the puck but whiffed and never touched it. The worst call of the evening would happen late in the game as a Canes player picking up the puck exiting his own zone would have his head down and Neil coming out of the box would make full contact with a beautiful hit. Carolina players began swarming Neil, and it appeared that Ottawa would get the benefit of a powerplay. Shockingly, Neil somehow received the only penalty for interference for hitting a guy who had literally touched the puck less than a second before the hit. Jason Spezza would get a goal late in the period with under 15 seconds remaining to ruin Ward’s shutout bid (as well as give the home fans a free Baconator for scoring in the final minute). Final score 2-1 Carolina.
+ Pluses +
+ Erik Karlsson: Karlsson played over half the game, logging 30:14, including 50 seconds on the penalty kill. This shows how much faith MacLean has in his young defenceman even when he’s not putting up points. Also stopped a sure goal in the second period by Skinner.
- Minuses -
- Be More Greedy: Too many times tonight I saw the Senators pass up quality shooting opportunities to pass instead resulting in no shot on goal. Ottawa has to take shots and go for the rebounds instead of trying the fancy play every time.
Will Post When Available
*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***
* Cam Ward: 38/39 – Was fantastic tonight and the only reason the Sens didn’t win this game.
** Chris Neil: 0G 0A – Was a force to be reckoned with tonight. Had a questionable disallowed goal and was easily the most physical player on the ice. If it weren’t for the refs and the Toronto war room he likely would have been the first star in this game.
*** Tim Gleason: 0G 1A – Played a solid game on defence for the Canes and was physical when he needed to be.
With the loss tonight and the Devils winning the Sens can place no higher than 7th meaning a likely matchup with the Boston Bruins is coming. The disallowed Neil goal was definitely the turning point of the game, and in my opinion should have counted based on similar calls. The refereeing was atrocious tonight with every open ice hit deserving of a penalty apparently. Hockey’s no longer a contact sport if that’s the case. Overall Ottawa played a solid game but just couldn’t solve Ward. I think they definitely missed Sergei Gonchar who was out as he’s a big part of the breakout. Ottawa next game is on Thursday where they host their likely playoff opponent, the Boston Bruins. Until next time, Go Sens Go!
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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