The Senators gave up a very important 2 points to the Carolina Hurricanes. I say “gave up” because until the game was 4-0, they had shown no sign of even being remotely interested in the game. Those were 2 very important points, as the Hurricanes have passed the Senators in the standings, getting even closer to taking one of only two wildcard playoff spots.
The Senators had a golden opportunity to strike first, getting a powerplay just over 2 minutes into the first period. They couldn’t score on the powerplay, but continued to play in the offensive zone consistently for the next few minutes. At the mid point of the period, it was Nathan Gerbe that put the Hurricanes on the board first. It seemed like a harmless shot from beside the net, but it fooled Robin Lehner, and managed to make its way through his pads. Things looked like they could get even worse just a few minutes later, as Colin Greening was sent off for hooking. The best scoring chance on that Hurricanes man advantage belonged to the Senators however, as Kyle Turris entered the offensive zone, and sent a streaking Erik Karlsson a perfect backhand pass right on the tape. Karlsson was stopped by Anton Khudobin. What was almost as impressive as Turris’ backhand saucer pass, was the fact that Karlsson started that breakout fifteen behind Turris. The period ended with a score of 1-0, but not before referee, Tim Peel called Jordan Staal‘s shot to the post a good goal. They had to review the goal to prove to Peel that he’s an idiot.
The second period was the exact opposite of the first. The first period saw a single goal, the second saw seven. It wasn’t a great start to the period for the Senators, as Eric Staal scored on a breakaway. That was followed by another goal, just 22 seconds later. Manny Malhotra tapped in a perfect cross-crease pass from Nathan Gerbe. Things got even worse for the Senators, as Riley Nash put the Hurricanes up 4-0. Nash had way too much time with the puck. He was all alone in the high slot at least three seconds before he received the pass, then waited another three seconds with the puck before shooting. Just horrible defensive play by the Senators.
The Senators managed to show some sign of life The Turris-Bobby Ryan-Clarke MacArthur line showed that they – unlike the rest of the team – were very much interested in playing, as a offensive zone rush was kept alive by Ryan in the corner. The puck eventually found its way to Clarke MacArthur, who sent it to Kyle Turris who had a wide open net, as Khudobin was badly out of position. Things were slowly looking up, until Chris Neil took a double minor. Then two players – SURPRISE! It was MacArthur and Turris, again – surprised everyone by scoring shorthanded. Turris crossed the offensive blue line straight up the middle as MacArthur crossed on the left side with the puck. MacArthur sent Turris a perfect pass, who roofed the puck above Khudobin. And just like that, it was 4-2. We had a game. Because it was a double minor, the Hurricanes were still on the powerplay in the final minute of the period. With just 33 seconds remaining in the second frame, Tuomo Ruutu scored on a wrist shot on the rush. But just 10 seconds later, with just 23 seconds on the clock, Mika Zibanejad brought the Senators within 2. Directly off the faceoff, Cory Conacher took the puck into the Hurricanes end, trying to send it in front to Ryan. Ryan got a piece of it, and the puck went to Mika Zibanejad on his right.
The third had even less action than the first. Despite two powerplays for both teams, the only goal scored was an empty netter for Manny Malhotra, his second of the game. Hurricanes win, 6-3.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
I’m going to have to name two: the duo of Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur. Plays between the two of them kept the Senators in the game when they should have been down 6-0. Ryan hasn’t seen too much success as of late. I’d try putting him on a line with Spezza again, just to see what happens.
THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Going forward, the Senators can’t expect to get as many rushes in the offensive zone without a third defeceman capable of moving the puck. Karlsson and Cody Ceci are both doing their job, but having Phillips and Gryba together offers nearly nothing of offensive value. Gryba had two assists in today’s game, but they were both secondary on the two Turris goals. Either put Patrick Wiercioch in, or if MacLean refuses to use him (for no good reason, apparently) at least use Joe Corvo for the powerplay. Get the puck out of the zone more often, and we won’t have to worry about Jared Cowen or Phillips as much.
- Robin Lehner allowed 5 goals, but the team wasn’t helping him any. Players, and coach included. Keeping him on the bench for four games wasn’t a good idea, especially since he had a shutout in his last start. The players in front of him didn’t play like they were into the game at all (just like they did in Tampa on Thursday night).
- With this loss, the Senators are 1-8-2 this season when playing before 5 PM. But it’s okay everyone, only 6 more of them to go. Thanks, NHL.
The Senators take on the surging Blue Jackets in Columbus on Tuesday night.