The Phoenix Coyotes made their first, and only appearance at the Canadian Tire Centre, in yet another Saturday afternoon game.
Playing against a team that’s as strong defensively as the Coyotes, it was a must for the Senators to score the first goal. Now, opening the scoring hasn’t exactly been the Senators’ forte this season, but they managed to do it. Marc Methot gave the Senators the rare 1-0 lead on the powerplay (it’ll be a while until we see Chris Phillips out there on the man advantage again… Hopefully). It was quite the goal, with all five Senators skaters touching the puck before it hit the back of the net. That was the only goal in a very tight first period, with the shots even at 9 apiece.
Zack Smith spent the entirety of the first intermission calculating the best way to score a goal to put the Senators up 2-0. He decided that finding a genie was a long shot, so he went with plan B. He took a dumb hooking penalty just over a minute in. Or so we all thought. As his penalty expired and he stepped back onto the ice, Eric Gryba sent him a beautiful pass, sending him on a breakaway. He made no mistake, and put the Senators up 2-0. Apparently making Erik Karlsson wear Gryba’s jersey for that penalty kill was also part of Smith’s master plan. Sadly for the Senators, much like most of their past 2 goal leads, it wouldn’t last long. Antoine Vermette brought the Coyotes within one, with a pretty deke around Craig Anderson. Yes, this is all going according to plan, thought Zack Smith. Then he remembered that Vermette doesn’t actually play for the Senators anymore. Things started to get even worse for the Senators, as Radim Vrbata scored on the powerplay, tying the game at 2. Slowly but surely, the Senators started to get momentum back. Then Marc Methot surprised everyone, including himself when he found out he was behind the Coyotes net, with the puck. He used those “sweet, sweet hipster feet” (copyrighted by Charlie Arsenault) to get in front of Mike Smith, get a shot, and give the Senators the lead again. After a period with a total of 13 penalties, the Senators were up 3-2, and had a shot advantage of 28-18.
The third period was filled with good scoring chances, and two powerplays for each team. Unfortunately, the only goal of the period was scored by Vermette with just over 2 minutes remaining, his second of the game. Zack Smith starts to stand up to celebrate, but sits back down, realizing his mistake sooner this time. That Vermette goal wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the combined efforts of Erik Condra and Jason Spezza. Condra took the panalty, followed by Spezza failing to successfully clear the puck on a routine penalty kill play. We were off to over time.
Antoine Vermette scored for the hat trick in over time. Marc Methot didn’t. Hockey is stupid.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Marc Methot, without a doubt. His first ever two goal game is going to make it a whole lot harder for Paul MacLean to keep him a healthy scratch.
THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- The only thing I hate more than being down 2-0, is being up 2-0.
- Erik Karlsson, Cody Ceci, Eric Gryba and Marc Methot all had a great game. If the Senators’ blue liners can continue to play this well, it’s only a matter of time until they pick a few more points.
- The referees were better… I guess. A total of 21 penalties were handed out tonight, and they were all minors.
- I hope whoever decided to use “Methot to his Madness” on Sportsnet loses their job.
The Senators will be up against the very injured, yet very strong Pittsburgh Penguins. The Senators know first hand that you can still be successful, even without key players. They won’t take them lightly.