The Senators made a game of it, but in the end their lack of players with true finishing ability was obvious as they dropped a 2-1 decision at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers. Marc Methot scored his first goal as a Senator in the losing cause, as Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds both beat Ben Bishop.
It had the makings of a barn-burner early on as Mike Lundin was nailed by Harry Zolnierczyk and knocked out of the game midway through the first period. Ottawa had their chances, with 34 shots, but were missing the deft touch that would otherwise allow them to score more goals.
If you are looking at the game from the Sens’ point of view, you have to be very discouraged with the way the game was officiated from the start. Scrums where no penalties were called were commonplace, and Daniel Alfredsson‘s major was not worthy of such a call. In the end, the Sens have to brush this one aside and move on to Long Island tomorrow afternoon.
Ottawa dominated early on, with a couple of great scoring chances by Kyle Turris and Chris Neil in the opening minute. Ottawa continued to take most of the play, until a poor pass in the Ottawa end by Patrick Wiercioch gave Max Talbot a clear shot, but he was robbed by the big glove hand of Bishop. Mike Lundin got caught in the trolley tracks and was leveled by Zolnierczyk, but the contact was to the head and the Flyer got a major for charging and a game miscoduct, as Lundin left the game, most likely with a concussion. Kaspars Daugavins squared off with Zac Rinaldo on the same stoppage, but Kaspars Daugavins was fighting out of his league on that one, but give him credit for stepping up. Ottawa’s power play was disrupted by a too many men call, and after the 4 on 4 Alfredsson had a nice deflection but was turned away. Dave Dziurzynski set up Erik Condra in alone but Ilya Bryzgalov stopped it, although he wasn’t sure he had it and looked behind himself. The Flyers had a last minute flurry and came close but Bishop was Bryzgalov’s equal. Through 20 scrambly minutes from both teams, the game remained scoreless.
One of the hottest players in the NHL, Voracek fought off Eric Gryba and drove the net and slipped the puck past Bishop for the game’s first goal, 7:24 into the second. Wayne Simmonds doubled the lead after being stood up by Wiercioch at the Flyers blue line, and he beat the Senators blueliner into the Ottawa zone and took a pass from Danny Briere and slipped it through Bishop’s legs. After killing off a Flyers power play, Marc Methot‘s shot with no traffice somehow got through Bryzgalov and brought the Sens within one on his first goal as a Senator.
The third period saw both teams enjoying power play opportunities. Check that, because there wasn’t much enjoyable about the Sens power plays as they failed to click yet again. A scrum saw Alfredsson’s afternoon end early with a cross-checking major and a game misconduct after he came to the aid of Chris Phillips who was hit by Rinaldo. After Rinaldo’s penalty expired, Erik Condra took a high sticking penalty, giving the Flyers a full 2 minutes 5 on 3. They did a good job in killing it off, but once the penalties were over they had less than 3 minutes left to try and get the equalizer. Ottawa got a late power play and had 45 seconds of 6-on-4 to try and knot the game up. Wiercioch had a few chances on both slap shots and easy wristers and came very close, but to no avail.
- Zolnierczyk will likely face supplementary discipline after his hit on Lundin. Don’t expect a similar call for Alfredsson, as that was a very weak major call that really took the game away from the Sens.
- Ottawa needs to tighten up defensively, and that means everyone. One of the things they need to get much better at is getting it past the blue line when they get it within a few feet. I have lost count the number of turnovers they have committed within 5 feet of getting it out. This leads to more defensive zone time, more shots against and the greater opportunity for penalties against. This was the third straight game that Ottawa allowed 40+ shots, a difficult thing to overcome when you are so offensively challenged.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Bishop continued the trend of Ottawa goalies giving their team a chance to win every game. When Jason Spezza and then Erik Karlsson went down, you knew there was going to be lots of games like this, and that the Senators would end up on the short end of them. Bishop was stellar, making 39 saves and was instrumental in killing the full 5-on-3 and keeping his team in the game.
Ottawa gets right back at it as the 5 game road trip reaches its midway point with another afternoon game on Sunday, at 3:00 pm against the Islanders. It could be just what the doctor ordered for the Sens, who have traditionally dominated New York over the years.