It has been over 6 weeks since we could say this about the Ottawa Senators, but they are on a winning streak. After a 4-3 win over the Bruins on Saturday, the Senators finally followed up a win with a win for the first time since November 9th, by beating the Washington Capitals 3-1.
A pair of highlight reel goals for the Senators erased yet another 1-0 deficit and Craig Anderson was stellar making 34 saves for his personal 3 game winning streak a feat he hadn’t accomplished in over 2 months.
Ottawa once again gave up the first goal just over 2 minutes into the game. Joel Ward‘s innocent looking backhand with his back to the net was inadvertently knocked in off the knob of Anderson’s stick into the net. Chris Neil left the game after just 3 shifts with a lower body injury, meaning the lineup had to be shuffled in his absence. Ottawa failed to capitalize on a pair of power play chances but a nice two on one where Cory Conacher feathered a pass to Mika Zibanejad for the equalizer with 6 minutes left in the period sent the teams to the dressing room tied at a goal apiece.
Ottawa took the lead early in the second, on a nice solo effort by Kyle Turris, who took a pass from Bobby Ryan and sliced through the defensemen and but a nice move on Phillip Grubauer for his 10th goal of the season. That was the only goal of the period and Anderson was good enough to keep Washington off the board and the Senators headed into the third protecting a lead.
That is what happened, as the Senators barred the door, not allowing many second chance shots and Anderson was stellar. There were a few nervous moments but finally Erik Karlsson chipped a puck past a Capitals defenseman and broke in alone on the empty net. He spotted a slumping Clarke MacArthur breaking down the wing and unseflishly dished off, allowing MacArthur to put the puck in and hopefully end the personal skid he was on. Make the final 3-1 Ottawa.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
On a day where it was reported that he was not going to be named to the U.S. Olympic team, Anderson seemed to have a bit of weight lifted from his shoulders, and other than the fluke goal that he knocked into his own net, he stopped the other 34 shots he faced. He matched his season best 3 game winning streak and other than one weak goal on Saturday against Boston has looked very good in his last 3 starts.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Neil’s injury is not expected to be day-to-day and he could be out for some time. That will hurt the makeup of the Senators but will give an opportunity for others to step up, like Erik Condra and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
- Ending the year on a high note with back to back wins takes a load off the shoulders of the Senators. They haven’t had a first half to remember, but the fact they are still within a couple of wins of a playoff spot is a good thing.
The Senators will finish their 3 game homestand with a game against Winnipeg on Thursday, before heading on the road for 4 games starting in Montreal and then heading West through Colorado, Nashville and Minnesota.