The gritty Ottawa Senators scratched and clawed, and used a late power play goal from Patrick Wiercioch to tie the score and earn a single point. They couldn’t, however, get the winner and fell 2-0 in the shootout to lose the game 3-2. The goal was Wiercioch’s first NHL goal, and it could not have come at a better time for the struggling Sens power play.
Mika Zibanejad had the other goal for the Senators, as they twice erased one goal Islanders leads. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 33 Ottawa shots, while Robin Lehner turned aside 29 shots but allowed goals to both Islanders he faced in the shootout. Brad Boyes and Michael Grabner scored for the Islanders.
After killing off an early penalty and then taking the play to the Islanders for the next five minutes, a 4 on 2 break resulted in Brad Boyes‘ flip shot over Lehner’s shoulder after a slick pass from Matt Moulson to give New York a 1-0 lead. Lehner stopped John Tavares on a breakaway, making the low pad save to keep the game within 1 around the 11 minute mark as the Isles gained momentum from the Boyes goal. Dave Dziurzynski took a foolish interference penalty (his second of the period) with just over 6 minutes remaining in the period, which the Senators did a nice job of killing off. The Islanders outshot the Senators 11-6 in the first period on the strength of 2 power plays.
Ottawa spent the better part of the first four minutes of the second trying to get the puck out of their own end. Ottawa put some pressure on through the work of Peter Regin‘s 4th line as well as Daniel Alfredsson‘s line. Their pressure was rewarded just after the 8 minute mark as Mika Zibanejad pounced on a loose puck in the slot and quickly fired it past Nabokov. Ottawa earned a power play and although they threw some pucks in the direction of the net, Patrick Wiercioch‘s shot off the post was the closest they would get, and the 2nd ended with the score tied at 1 and New York leading the shot clock 23-17.
A tentative starting third took a turn when Zack Smith was whistled for tripping. The Senators continued their great penalty killing and were successful again. They got a power play of their own a couple of minutes later and again put pressure on, and were buzzing in the Islanders zone for almost the full two minutes, but the game remained deadlocked. Another penalty for the Sens, another successful kill as they let Sergei Gonchar off the hook. At the end of a long shift for the pairing of Marc Methot and Eric Gryba, another failure to get out of the zone got them hemmed in and Grabner wristed a low shot under Lehner’s glove to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. Kyle Okposo took a tripping penalty with 1:48 left to give the improving Ottawa power play one final chance to get the equalizer. Weircioch, who had a multitude of shots on the power play, had his one-timer tipped by an Islander defender and past Nabokov to even up the score with 1:09 left, earning the Senators at least a point.
Lehner made the save in the game 2 minutes into overtime, gloving a shot from Travis Hamonic and then made an even better one just over a minute later, flashing a pad out to stone Tavares on the doorstep. These saves allowed the Senators to go to the shootout.
Frans Nielsen – SCORED
Jakob Silfverberg – GLOVE SAVE
Brad Boyes – SHOT OVER THE NET
Daniel Alfredsson – PAD SAVE
John Tavares – PETER FORSBERG’d Lehner for the win.
- The Islanders’ first goal was a perfect example of how tough it is to get a matchup on the road. It was Zibanjad’s line out against Tavares’ line, a mismatch that Paul MacLean could avoid at home.
- The Ottawa penalty kill has been nothing short of spectacular, killing off all 5 Islander chances.
- Andre Benoit has apparently been told he will remain in Ottawa for the season. They could try to send him down, but they would risk losing him via waivers, a chance Ottawa is not willing to take.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Wiercioch was stellar on the power play, firing shots at will, and varying it between slap shots and quick wristers to keep the Islanders on their heels. The tying goal, even though it was tipped by an Islander, took a big weight off their shoulders and earned them a valuable road point at a time when it looked like they were going home empty-handed.