It was deja-vu all over again, as just like Friday night against the Islanders, the Senators once again earned a point, but in the end fell in the shootout, this time 4-3 to the Dallas Stars.
Jamie Benn scored the lone shootout goal, beating Robin Lehner who was in the crease in place of Craig Anderson, who was stretchered off the ice in the overtime period, but was reportedly ok and walking around after the game.
The Senators fell behind 2-0 and fought back to tie it up, before falling behind again. A last-moment goal from Bobby Ryan earned the Senators a point but they couldn’t get the second one, to stretch their winless streak to 5 games.
For a team working on their defensive game, it didn’t get off to a very good start. An opening-minute turnover resulted in a 2 on 0 down low, but Jamie Benn was stopped by Craig Anderson. Dallas committed their fari share of turnovers as well, most notably a steal by Bobby Ryan, but a poke-check from Kari Lehtonen thwarted his attempt. Dallas got on the board first when Ray Whitney broke in and wired a slap shot from the top of the circle past Anderson after an ill-timed pinch at the Stars’ blue line from Jared Cowen.
The second got off to a dreadful start as a 3-on 2 was successfully completed by Valeri Nichushkin, whose wrist shot from about the same spot as Whitney’s went in under the arm of Anderson just 30 seconds in. It was the 2013 first rounder’s first NHL goal. Just when it looked like a disaster in the making when Chris Neil took a double minor for high-sticking, the tables turned. Ottawa had 2 great chances offensively ad shut the Stars power play down and took over. Shortly after the penalty to Neil ended, Erik Karlsson took a feed from Bobby Ryan and one-timed it from the slot past Lehtonen. Then, with the momentum on their side and their second power play of the period, Jason Spezza picked up a puck off the back boards and tucked it into the open net to tie the game with just over 3 minutes left in the second.
The Stars won the battle of 4th lines early in the third, as Antoine Roussel threw it out front from behind the net and Mark Borowiecki inadvertently knocked it into his own net to give the Stars a one goal lead. Ottawa tried desperately to get back to even, and their best chance came when Clarke MacArthur missed a wide open net from about 8 feet away, as the bouncing puck went over the net. Just when it looked like alost cause, in their own end and less than 40 seconds left, Jason Spezza led the rush and dumped it behin Lehtonen. Michalek, off the bench for the goaltender, got to it first and found a trailing Ryan in the slot. Ryan broke his stick on the shot, but the dribbler found its way through a defenseman and Lehtonen for the tying goal with just 10 second left to force overtime.
A scary moment in overtime, when Nichushkin drove the net and bowled over Craig Anderson in the Ottawa crease. After some delay, Anderson was stretchered off the ice and was replaced by Robin Lehner. There were no goals in OT, so the shootout was necessary, and Michalek, Spezza and Ryan all missed while Benn potted the winner.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Erik Karlsson contines to excel offensively, and at least for this game, wasn’t a liability in his own end to the extent that he (and the other blueliners) had been in recent outings.
THOUGHTS & OBSERVATIONS
- Another tough loss for the club, and who knows what the result would have been without a cold goalie in the pipes. But not being able to score on any of their 8 shootout attempts this season is unacceptable. Michalek (0/3), Spezza (0/3) and Ryan (0/2) isn’t working. Maybe its time for Turris, MacArthur & Karlsson to be the selections.
- After allowing 19 shots in the first period, the Senators buckled down and did well in keeping the Stars under 40 for 65 minutes.
The Senators travel to Columbus in what is another “should win” game, this time against the Blue Jackets. The last two were “should-win” games as well, and the Senators need to start winning the “should-win” games and not leave points on the table.