In a game that both teams needed a win, but a loss for the Ottawa Senators would be devastating, and that is what happened. A 4-3 shootout loss for the Senators against the Toronto Maple Leafs after coming back from a 2 goal deficit to earn a point wasn’t a good enough result for a team on the brink of losing contact with the pack in the race for the final playoff spot.
The Leafs currently hold that spot, 8 points up on the Senators after gaining an extra point Saturday night. For the Senators, it is yet another case of close but not quite being not good enough.
Power play in the first minute, after Erik Karlsson fell and then took Nazem Kadri down to keep him out of the rush and take away an odd man advantage. It didn’t take long for Toronto to capitalize as James van Riemsdyk popped a rebound past Craig Anderson to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead 1:37 in. Patrick Wiercioch sent Bobby Ryan in alone, but he was hooked by Mark Frasor to take away the scoring chance and put the Senators on the power play. Ottawa couldn’t match the Leafs production and remained down by a goal. The Sens got a second straight power play and this time they did make the most of the opportunity as Mika Zibanejad found Clarke MacArthur in the slot, and the one-timer tied the game.
The second period was an exercise in frustration if you were a fan of the team in red. First, a non-call on a “can-opener” against Zack Smith resulted in a 3 on 1 for the Leafs, that was cashed in by Phil Kessel taking a nice saucer pass from VanRiemsdyk. Smith was upset on the play and took a minor and 1o minute misconduct. Then, with Marc Methot and van Riemsdyk wreslting in the crease, Jake Gardiner‘s wrist shot found its way through to make it a 2 goal game. Ottawa had 4 power plays in the period, of varying lengths, but couldn’t really threaten to score let alone bury the biscuit. Tempers boiled over late in the period with Chris Neil and Fraser MacLaren having a dust-up, and after they were separated Neil tried to spark his club by continuing to try to get to MacLaren.
The third period was slow to start by both clubs, but a hit by Erik Karlsson, knocking David Clarkson on his butt created a turnover that resulted in a goal by Erik Condra after Colin Greening forechecked strongly to get the puck and found Condra in the slot. Condra beat Reimer with a wrist shot over the glove. Then on their 8th power play of the game, on a too many men on the ice penalty, Erik Karlsson pinched down and another nice pass from Mika Zibanejad was re-directed past Reimer. Nine minutes left and it was a brand new game. That is how regulation ended, and overtime saw Ottawa with some chances but apparently a fear of shooting the puck, and solved nothing.
After going 0-3 in the shootout this season (including 0 for 8 individually), Paul MacLean sent up the ususal suspects and they failed to break that season long goose-egg. Spezza and Michalek missed, and van Riemsdyk and Mason Raymond scored for Toronto, and that was all she wrote, with the Leafs winning 4-3.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Mika Zibanejad got some quality time playing on the top line, and made it count with 2 nice assists, creating chances all night.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- They still have too many defensive lapses, but the Senators showed more compete in this game for the most part. Still, good efforts don’t mean a thing at this point in the season, and the fact is they lost ground they couldn’t afford to lose. .
- I hate pointing the finger at the guys in stripes, but the inconsistencies of the calls was borderline ridiculous. I don’t care for the most part if a penalty is called, but hate seeing it called one time and not another.
Ottawa hosts Philadelphia on Monday night in the first half of another back to back, before they travel to Buffalo.