A sleepy day for both teams, but in the end it was a deflection by Alexei Ponikarovsky that flipped over the shoulder of Ben Bishop that was the difference in Winnipeg’s 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Hockey Day in Canada. In the battle of the backup goalies, Al Montoya was perfect in making 33 saves, while Bishop was just as good stopping all but one of Winnipeg’s 35 shots.
Neither team played well, but Winnipeg played just a bit better in earning the road win. It was a game Ottawa needed to have, against a team lower than them in the standings, with a long tough stretch ahead. And on top of that, they wasted a good performance from their backup goalie.
Ottawa’s lacklustre defensive coverage led to prime chances early on by Alexander Burmistrov and Kyle Wellwood. Stephane Da Costa was sent in alone by Patrick Wiercioch, but was denied on a blocker save by Montoya. Ottawa got a late power play that they didn’t do much on, but did gain some momentum and had a couple of chances to open the scoring, but couldn’t beat Montoya. After trailing in shots 9-3 at one point, Ottawa ended up even with the Jets 12-12 through one period.
Both teams were basically sleepwalking through the second until Ottawa got a power play just past the midway point of the period. They had a few chances, the best being Sergei Gonchar one-timing Erik Karlsson‘s cross-ice feed, but Montoya read it and got across for the save. Daniel Alfredsson had a great chance just after the penalty expired, but Montoya was there again for the stop. Mike Lundin‘s turnover at the Ottawa blue line led to a couple of great scoring chances for Winnipeg, but a couple of even better saves by Bishop kept the game scoreless. The Senators turned the puck over a couple of times on the same shift, for a couple more chances in what might have been Ottawa’s worst shift of the season.
Ottawa came out flying in the third and dominated the first 3 minutes, until Zack Smith took a tripping penalty 200 feet from his own net that gave the Jets their first power play of the game. Ottawa killed the penalty, but on the next shift Karlsson’s turovner resulted in a shot tipped by Ponikarovsky off the post and in to give the Jets the lead just before the 6 minute mark. Ottawa pressed to get the equalizer and peppered Montoya with shots from everywhere, but not really the quality variety. A scramble in front of the net resulted in a penalty call, but Ottawa also could have been awarded a penalty shot as Ron Hainsey covered the puck with his hand in the crease momentarily. The Senators floundered on the power play and the boo-birds came out among the faithful in attendance.
- Not one Ottawa skater stood out for good things. Even Erik Karlsson didn’t have the usual jump in his legs as he looked slow and uninterested
- Peter Regin didn’t come back after the first period and left with what was called a “chest” injury by the Senators. If he is out long term, the Sens might have to look for help up the middle, even though they don’t want to.
- Regin’s absence forced MacLean to juggle the lines constantly and the same combinations weren’t out there very often.
- Give Bishop and Montoya credit, as they both had stretches where they had to be good and stepped up to the plate.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ben Bishop was chomping at the bit to get in after his 6 goals allowed in his only other action. He played well, and on most nights allowing only one goal would be good enough to win a game. Unfortunately, the players in front of him couldn’t provide any offensive support whatsoever.
Ottawa will be looking for a much better effort on Tuesday night when they play host to the Buffalo Sabres.