It wasn’t a good afternoon for the officials in Sunday’s Ottawa Senators – Montreal Canadiens game. Trailing 2-1 after 2 periods, the Senators appeared to have the tying goal off the stick of Andre Benoit just 1:36 into the third. Unexplicably, the goal was waved off by the down low official, who called the goal off and assessed a minor to Jakob Silfverberg for goaltender interference. The call was game-changing and was just the biggest in a number of questionable decision making, that affected both teams.
The goaltending of Carey Price and Craig Anderson was stellar, and it was a shame for such a competitive game to be decided on such a weak call. I don’t know what would have happened in the last 18 minutes had the goal counted, but it shifted the momentum and likely cost the Senators at least a point, as the game ended 2-1.
With Tomas Plekanec off for running into Anderson, Ottawa used the power play to gain momentum in the way of offensive zone time, and on the second shift, to open the scoring when Silfverberg was sent in all along and his quick wrister beat Price. David Desharnais responded quickly, getting away from Mark Borowiecki and sliding a rebound past Anderson. Just after a Daniel Alfredsson penalty expired, Erik Cole stopped a cross-ice pass that caught Anderson off guard, and Cole backhanded it into an open net.
Questionable penalty calls from both sides was the story of the second period as both clubs seemed to be confused as to what the referees were going to call. A pretty dangerous hit from behind was ignored twice (once by each team) while some weak hooking and diving calls were made. Despite some good chances both ways, the netminders were up to the task and the Habs maintained the one goal lead into the third period.
Early in the third came the Piece de Resistance of bad officiating, when Andre Benoit’s shot from the point beat Price, but the goal was waved off due to Silfverberg’s alleged goaltender interference. Replays showed the contact, what little there was, came about two feet outside the crease and was initiated by Price himself.
- All of the focus will be on the call back of Benoit’s goal, which was a ludicrous call and decided the game. In addition to this, at least 6 of the 10 minor penalties called were very questionable, and both teams would have a right to gripe about the guys wearing stripes.
- The hullabaloo over the officiating will overshadow the Senators’ lack of offense for a couple of days, probably to the benefit of the Senators. I don’t like to blame the refs, because they are human and can make mistakes and things move at a fast pace. However, I would be hard pressed to find any reasoning that the referee would have had to make that call on Silfverberg.
- Erik Karlsson has taken the Senators on his back. He is trying to do everything, and succeeding in most cases. He is so involved in the play at both ends of the ice you would swear their was two of him out there.
- The Senators missed Sergei Gonchar, who missed the game with the flu. His presence at the offensive end was evident, especially without Jason Spezza as well.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Karlsson was all over the ice, and led all players with over 30 minutes of ice time. He was leading the rush, being the first attacker and still played great defense.
The Senators host the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night at 7:30 pm.