If the Ottawa Senators could a) start playing when the puck drops; and b) learn to play with a lead, they would be unbeatable. The Colorado Avalanche score twice in the first 5 minutes to put the Senators in their customary hole, but it took a late Avs goal to send it to overtime and then win it in overtime.
It wasn’t a good start for the Senators, with Cory Conacher taking a needless tripping penalty just over a minute in. On the ensuing power play, former Ottawa 67′s winger Jamie McGinn deflected home a pass from Erik Johnson past Craig Anderson. The tip happened at the hash marks, so it is a play that you would hope Anderson stops more often than not. Then, just before the game was 5 minutes old, Jan Hejda‘s blast from the point nicked Bobby Ryan‘s stick on the way past and went top corner on Anderson, again one that was tipped, but from far enough away that usually the goalie would have time to adjust for the tip. Some good forechecking by Bobby Ryan led to a turnover and quick pass to Clarke MacArthur in the slot, and he one-timed it past Semyon Varlamov to cut the Avs lead to one before the break. Ottawa didn’t allow a shot in the last half of the period, and took momentum of the game.
The Senators dominated the first half of the second period, aided by three Colorado penalties. After nailing a couple of posts early on, Ottawa finally evened up the score on a 5 on 3. MacArthur’s cross-crease pass to a returning Jason Spezza for an easy tap-in tied it at 2, and kept the Senators on the power play. Four seconds after that man advantage expired, Mark Stone fed a nice pass to Kyle Turris at the top of the circle, and his one-timer was a laser to the top of the net, over a diving Varlamov to give the Senators their first lead of the game.
The third period was largely uneventful until about 2 and a half minutes left, when Gabriel Landeskog broke up the wing and went wide around Eric Gryba. Anderson poke-checked the puck off the stick of Landeskog, but it went right to Paul Stastny, and with Anderson out of position Stastny had the empty net to shoot at and tied the game.
Overtime was short, as just 33 seconds in Tyson Barrie‘s took a Stastny feed from below the goal line and his wrister from the hash marks beat Anderson over the shoulder for the game winner.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Erik Karlsson played a solid game, registering 2 assists, was a +1 playing over 28 minutes at high altitude. He also tied for the team lead with 4 shots on goal. Some people will point to him losing his stick and then going out to cover the point on the play that resulted in the game winner, but with the other 3 Senators within 2 feet of the goal crease when the shot went in, he actually made the right decision in this case. It was 2 players watching the puck carrier and nobody paying attention to Barrie that led to the goal.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Its going to take a couple of games to get used to the new look lineup, and people still finding their roles. Chris Neil returning against Nashville would be a welcome addition.
- With 2 mobile defensemen, Joe Corvo and Patrick Wiercioch being the healthy scratches, the Senators defense looked slow at times. Against an up-tempo and fast team like the Avs, I might have dressed a speedier lineup that can skate with them. Sure, Gryba adds a physical presence, but you can’t hit what you can’t catch.