There are really no words to describe how huge this game was for the Senators. So much pressure was put on them to wrap this thing up and join the party! The NHL playoffs party that is. Now the two remaining games will decide who the Sens will play in the first round. Now all mixed up in this was the return of Erik Karlsson. No big deal right? Well he did have some rust to shake off but it didn’t take long for him to shine. I will be sure to keep this recap short and sweet, so we can all enjoy what tonight marks. The 2013 NHL Playoffs!
For the most part the Sens were the better team in large portions of the game. The first period was probably the closest period as the Capitals had a few chances to score but Craig Anderson was up to the challenge and stopped all the shots in the opening frame. Immediately we seen what a difference Erik Karlsson makes to this team. He did not seem like someone who had just recovered from a “season ending injury”.
When the second period started you could tell which team was in it to win it,as the Senators had a way better effort than the Capitals. It just looked like the Caps were there to finish off the season and the Sens were playing for their lives. To open up the scoring it was none other than Erik Karlsson’s that was going wide that was deflected into the net by fellow Swede Jakob Silfverberg.
The deeper we went into this game the more we came to realize that maybe Michael Neuvirth was going to steal this game. He made save after save after save. It seemed like the Sens shot over 20 times at him, (oh wait they did, 23 times!) and he saved them all. After getting frustrated by Neuvirth’s play, Alex Ovechkin just blew past Chris Phillips with a freakish power move and shot it passed Craig Anderson. After that goal I just kept getting flashbacks to pretty much every one of Ovechkin’s goals from 3-4 years ago. After we all figured out that both goaltenders weren’t ready to get scored on again, we needed the extra time. Mike Ribeiro gave the Senators a wonderful chance to score late in the third but the Sens just couldn’t get one. But with one minute left I guess he just felt he didn’t give the away team a good enough chance to win so he took yet another penalty to give the Sens a one minute 5-4 to finish off the 3rd period and another minute of 4-3 in overtime.
As the extra period began myself along with probably all Senators fans out there were sitting at the edge of our seats just praying for a goal with all that room on the ice with the man advantage in overtime. Ottawa won quite a few vital face-offs late in the game and were rewarded for it with the game winning goal in overtime from Sergei Gonchar, assisted from who you may ask? How fitting is it that it was Erik Karlsson and the captain Daniel Alfredsson?
- How good did Karlsson look at there? I mean wow! I don’t think anyone expected him to play this well after not playing for 10 weeks! And also that pretty severe injury he had to deal with! I think everyone will agree that 2 assists on his return aren’t bad at all.
- Craig Anderson was stellar tonight. He made all the saves he could and was lucky enough that he was not score on when Nicklas Backstrom shot wide after having almost the entire net to shoot at. If Anderson can play like this in the playoffs the Sens will be just fine I think.
- I would love for Paul MacLean to play Patrick Wiercioch next game instead of Eric Gryba. I don’t have anything against him, I just think Wiercioch is better and can help to contribute on the back end and keep pushing the puck up the ice. He could flourish under controlled minutes and might be able to help more come playoff time.
SENSHOT PLAYER OF THE GAME
You’d be stupid not to go with Erik Karlsson. What a way to come back to the line-up! Two assists on his return, no big deal right? Just a regular day at the office for him! What a talent Karlsson is, pretty hard to argue the fact that very few players can do this , and we are lucky enough to be able to say he plays for the Ottawa Senators!
The Senators will play back to back to end the season. The back-end of this being the remake with the Boston Bruins due to that awful tragedy. The game will be this weekend on Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday game being a home game versus the Philadelphia Flyers and the Sunday game is in Boston. Both game are a 7 PM start.