The Ottawa Senators completed their 4 game road trip with a 3-0-1 record, bringing home 7 of a possible 8 points as the playoff race thickens.
Robin Lehner, in his first start since allowing 5 goals on Dec 28th, made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season.
It was Ottawa who got out of the gate strong, with one of their most dominant first periods of the season. They stormed the net around Darcy Kuemper in waves, firing 15 shots at him in the frame. Clarke MacArthur opened the scoring, getting behind the Wild defenseman and rediriecting a pass from Kyle Turris past Kuemper. It was a power play goal, with Michael Granlund off serving a double minor for high sticking Erik Karlsson. The dominance of the Senators was a result of the fact that they didn’t spend much time in their own end, allowing only 3 shots in the period as Lehner was eased back into action.
Minnesota came out stronger in the second period, especially early on. Lehner was equal to the task, and although the Wild outshot Ottawa 10-8, the game remained 1-0 through 40 minutes.
Ottawa took advantage of a favorable bounce, as Marco Scandella‘s attempted shot from the point was foiled when his stick shattered. Erik Condra blocked the shot and took off on a breakaway. With Scandella bearing down on him and taking him down, Condra still had the ability to put the puck past Kuemper for the 2-0 goal. Ottawa sealed the deal late in the third on another power play. Jared Cowen dished a pass across to Turris at the top of the circle, and the Ottawa centre wired a one timer past Kuemper to give the Senators a 3-0 lead with less than two and a half minutes left. The only matter still in question was whether or not Lehner would get the shoutout, and indeed he did, facing 14 Wild shots in the 3rd and turning them all aside.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
While Lehner was very solid in earning the shutout, Turris was exceptional all night, with a goal and an assist.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Cody Ceci continues to get better night after night. He is making other blueliners expendable and opens the door to a potential trade for needs in other areas.
- The Senators had a miserable night in the faceoff circle, with their top 3 centres (Spezza, Turris, Zibanejad) all 36% or lower in the dot.
- Ottawa has the confidence in their game that was missing in much of the first half. They now look more comfortable in close games and look like they are trying to win rather than trying not to lose.
Ottawa returns home to face arch-rival Montreal on Thursday night. Ottawa beat Montreal to open the road trip a couple of weeks ago.