After the Rangers beat a listless New Jersey squad earlier in the day, the Senators task was simple. A single point in either of their two remaining games means the Senators would avoid the Penguins, and to get Capitals in the first round they would need three points. Anything else and they could get either Boston or Montreal.
Steve Mason played the spoiler as he made 43 stops to ensure Ottawa didn’t pick up the point that would guarantee they wouldn’t face the juggernaut Penguins in the first round. The 2-1 loss means that Ottawa will finish either 7th or 8th in the East. Ottawa dominated at times, but an error in judgement from a couple of the Senators young defensemen ended up costing the club.
Ottawa native Jason Akeson broke the ice with his first career goal (in his first career game) when he pounced on a loose puck in the slot after a Karlsson giveaway and Anderson pokechecked it off the stick of Claude Giroux. Akeson chipped the loose puck over the shoulder of Anderson. Anderson made a huge pad save on Simmonds on the doorstep with seven and a half minutes gone to keep the game within one. With the benefit of a couple of power plays, Ottawa gained momentum but Steve Mason kept the door shut. After 20 minutes, Ottawa led 14-5 on the shot clock, but trailed 1-0 on the scoreboard.
Kyle Turris got the Senators on the board early in the second, picking up a deflected Chris Phillips pass and quickly firing it past Mason. Ottawa carried the play until an Erik Condra penalty that got the Flyers some momentum, but it was Anderson’s turn to bail his teammates out a couple of times on quality Flyers chances.
Anderson made a big save on Giroux who drove the net and the Ottawa goalie flashed our the pad to stone the Flyers sniper. Michalek had the best early chance for Ottawa, ringing a shot from the slot off the crossbar. A nearly tragic collision as Brayden Schenn was coming to finish a check and Marc Methot fell and Schenn’s legs made contact with Methot’s upper body, shaking both players up a little bit. As Eric Gryba got caught up on a pinch behind the Flyers net, Philly broke in 3 on 2 and Jakub Voracek‘s snapshot beat Anderson far-side at just about the mid-way point of the 3rd. Michalek had a golden opportunity to tie it up as he was all alone at the faceoff circle, but took a moment too long to get the shot away off the cross-ice pass from Karlsson and Mason had just enough time to get across for the save. Moments after the ensuing faceoff, Karlsson set up Alfredsson for a snap shot from the other circle, but the captain fired it just wide. Jakob Silfverberg had yet another Ottawa chance as they kept the pressure on, but with a crowd in the crease he fired it high. The Senators got the goaltender out for the extra attacker and maintained pressure in the offensive zone, but couldn’t get one past Mason.
- As has happened so many times this season, Ottawa deserved a better fate and just could not buy a goal. Michalek had a couple of glorious opportunities that any other year he buries, and just cannot find the range.
- The Senators power play went 0 for 5, which made all the difference.
- Now the Senators are forced to take a full complement of players to Boston, who with an OT loss on Saturday also needs to win the game in order to win the Northeast Division and get the #2 seed.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Erik Karlsson played over 27 minutes once again, including a ridiculous 12 minutes in the third, with over 10 of them at even strength as the Senators pressed for the much needed point. He did have the bobble that led to the opening goal of the game by Akeson, but he set up at least 3 incredible scoring chances in the third that his teammates failed to capitalize on.
Well, it all comes down to a one game showdown. Both teams have something to play for when the Senators travel to Boston. The Senators need a point to get the 7th seed while the Bruins need a win to get the 2 seed. If it was me, the best case scenario would be an Ottawa win to play Montreal in the first round.