Maybe it was a case of yet another afternoon game, or a letdown after the Canadiens, but the Ottawa Senators that took to the ice on Saturday looked nothing like the team that played on Thursday night.
Bad penalties, turnovers, mediocre goaltending and a lack of finish all contributed to the demise of the Senators by a 4-1 score, and by the end of the night the still find themselves on the outside of a playoff spot with more teams to climb over to get there.
Ottawa got on the board first with a nice forecheck from the Mika Zibanejad line. Milan Michalek created the turnover behind the New York net and fed the point. Cody Ceci‘s cross ice pass to Marc Methot and a point blast later, and Ottawa was up 1-0 just over three and a half minutes in. While Ottawa was on the power play near the midway point of the period, Clarke MacArthur took a penalty to negate the man advantage and then Erik Condra joined him, resulting in a 5 on 3 for the Rangers one their penalty expired. The Blueshirts capitalized on a nice passing play, with Derek Stepan finding Brad Richards wide open on a back-door pass and Richards had 24 square feet of net to shoot at and did not miss. New York gained momentum and outshot Ottawa 16-6 in the first period, but the Senators escaped still tied at 1.
The first half of the second period was even, but the Rangers took the lead past the midway point. Chris Phillips tried to hold the line, but Stepan chipped it out over him, sending Rick Nash on a partial break. Cody Ceci took away the angle so Nash couldn’t cut to the middle, but it didn’t matter as Nash’s snap shot beat Craig Anderson over the right shoulder. Then, the shot to the heart came with just 12 seconds left, when Erik Karlsson‘s reverse behind his own net went right to Stepan, whose quick shot beat a suprised and un-set Anderson to put the Rangers up 2.
Ottawa played a better, more desperate game in the third, but had trouble putting together plays that resulted in quality scoring chances. The final nail in the coffin came when Phillips carried the puck out of his zone and just outside the Ottawa blue line tried a fancy drop pass that was intercepted by Mats Zuccarello, who went in alone on Anderson and deked him out of the net and slid it home to put the Rangers up 3 with just over 3 to play.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
It was tough to watch after the utter dominance for the most part against the Habs, that this team didn’t resemble that team in any way. So there was no player of the game for this one.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Anderson didn’t get much goal support, but you still want your goaltender to make a save on both the Nash shots and the Stepan goal. Nash’s was a good shot, but if Anderson is cutting the angle properly, it hits him on the shoulder. Stepan’s was off a turnover, but Anderson simply wasn’t ready.
- Jason Spezza simply isn’t heatly enough to contribute. He has never been a great skater, but it was like he was in quicksand in the first period. It might be time to shut him down and let him get to full health for after the Olympics. A month off might do him some good.
- Ottawa is still just a point out of the wild card spot, but again have two full days off before they next take to the ice…
Ottawa heads out on another 4 game road trip, starting off on Tuesday night in Washington against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.