The Ottawa Senators kept their playoff hopes alive with a big win over the Winnipeg Jets, thanks to great performances by Craig Anderson, making 46 saves, and the line of Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, and Ales Hemsky, who had 3 points each.
Scoring began around the halfway mark of the first period. Spezza took the puck from the Senators end up to the offensive blue line, and sent a pass to Hemsky on his right. Hemsky brought the puck into the zone, and sent a beautiful pass across the zone to Michalek. Michalek’s shot bounced off of two Winnipeg skaters, and barely made it past the goal line. 7 minutes later, the Jets tied it up on the powerplay. Dustin Byfuglien took a shot from the point, which was stopped by the toe of Anderson. He was unable to stop the rebound however, as Bryan Little put it into the wide open net. The Senators regained the lead with just over 2 minutes remaining in the period. Jared Cowen‘s point shot went through a maze of bodies, and found the back of the net.
Scoring in the second started just 2 minutes into the frame. Hemsky and Spezza were headed to the Winnipeg end. Hemsky sent Spezza a pass for a one-timer, but the puck was knocked down by a sprawling Mark Stuart, saving a goal. However, Stuart went sliding into Ondrej Pavelec, sending him rolling into the boards, leaving the net wide open for Eric Gryba, who received a pass from Spezza. Not even Gryba could miss a shot that easy, as he put the Senators up by 2. Just over two minutes later, the Jets were on the powerplay. Evander Kane won the offensive zone faceoff back to Tobias Enstrom, whose rocket of a shot went right over Anderson’s shoulder, bringing them within a goal. The Senators regained their 2 goal lead 4 minutes later. Bobby Ryan was pressed against the boards in the offensive zone, and sent a pass back to Mike Hoffman. Hoffman took the puck towards the net, but was wrestled to the ground by Olli Jokinen as he reached the crease. Hoffman somehow managed to make a perfect pass to Kyle Turris while falling, and only having one hand on his stick. Turris took the pass and went bar down. It was Hoffman’s first career NHL point, and he would get his first career goal less than a minute later. Hemsky was in the slot, and made a pass to Spezza who was on the right side of the net. Spezza made a perfect cross-crease pass to Hoffman who had a wide open net to shoot at. The Senators were up by 3 going into the second intermission. There were a total of 4 goals were scored in that period, along with 11 penalties.
Colin Greening really didn’t make himself any more popular among Sens fans to start the third period. He lost the puck to Byfuglien at the defensive blue line. Byfuglien took the puck into the zone, and took a shot that was so hard, I was convinced it would have gone right through Anderson if it had hit him. It brought the Jets within 2, but it was the final goal of the game. 5-3 for the Senators.
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
- What a difference Hemsky has made to the Spezza/Michalek duo. Zone entries are much better (because it isn’t only Spezza taking it in anymore #DropPass), and they’re keeping possession of the puck in the offensive end.
- Turns out Jared Cowen is even worse at fighting than he is at playing hockey.
- Has Paul MacLean finally come to his senses? Turris and Ryan finally had more ice time than Greening, Smith and Neil. Progress, right?
The Senators take on the Nashville Predators on Monday back home at the CTC.