The Ottawa Senators picked the wrong time to suffer an offensive outage. A day after the announcement that Jason Spezza, the teams top offensive forward, would be out indefinitely after back surgery, the Senators were blanked by Dan Ellis and the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0. Ellis stopped 33 shots for his first shutout as a Hurricane, and Eric Staal had the lone goal of the game.
It was largely an uneventful game that could have gone either way. It was not intense, a no-hitter that had both teams sleep-walking through it,.
It is not unusual, Spezza’s absence aside, for the Senators to lose in Raleigh, a place that has never been friendly to Ottawa. They have now won only once in their last 10 visits to North Carolina.
Ottawa got a very early power play, just 13 seconds into the game. They had a couple of solid chances to take an early lead but could not finish. Carolina got a man advantage of their own a few minutes later, but Ottawa actually had the better chances. Just minutes after Ellis robbed Milan Michalek in close, Eric Staal broke the deadlock with a tip in after Alex Semin brought the puck into the Ottawa zone and held up and cut to the middle and made a nice pass to Staal for the deflection goal. That was all the scoring for the period (and as it turns out, the game), as Anderson made 14 saves and Ellis made 12 stops.
The second period highlight was a nice pass from the corner from Jordan Staal to Jeff Skinner, who railed it off the crossbar. The horn went off in the building, but the goal was waved off, a call that was confirmed by reveiw. Ottawa got a 4 minute power play when Chris Neil was the victim of a high stick by Jamie McBain. Daniel Alfredsson had the best chance, firing a wrist shot off the outside of the post. The Canes did a nice job killing it off, and Ottawa really didn’t threaten again until the waning seconds when Michalek was again stopped in close just before the penalty expired, and then Kyle Turris was denied just after McBain returned to the ice.Ottawa outshot Carolina 12-9 in the second, but couldn’t even the score.
Semin was given a gift from Karlsson right in front of the net, but Anderson made the save just before the 5 minute mark to keep it a 1 goal game. Sergei Gonchar had the best chance to tie the game in the third, but his shot was wide. Turris had a chance shortly afterwards on the same shift, but had the same result. Ottawa couldn’t find the back of the net and dropped a 1-0 decision.
- While you would hope the Senators would come out with more jump, they didn’t play a bad game per se. They had played 2 games already since the last time the Canes had taken the ice, so Carolina had much fresher legs.
- As I said earlier, the Sens picked a bad time to dry up offensively, as the more skittish among Sens Army will be looking for answers to replace Spezza. Patience is key, Ottawa is still in a good spot and this has been the exception rather than the rule.
- As long as Ottawa keeps the goals against down, to 2 or less, they will win more than their fair share of games even without Spezza.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Anderson continues to shine, as he allowed only one goal on 34 shots as he continually gives his team a chance to win. It didn’t happen on this night, but he hasn’t allowed a goal after the first period yet this season.
The Senators were scheduled to leave for Montreal after the game, where they will suit up for a Sunday matinee against the Canadiens. The puck drop on Super Bowl Sunday is scheduled for 2:00.