The Ottawa Senators returned home from the Meltdown in Montreal facing a tough back to back against the upstart Colorado Avalanche for a late afternoon start.
The downward spiral continued, but in a different way as they couldn’t find much offensively. They did manage to shut down the offensive leaders for the Avs for the most part, but it was the foot soldiers who led the way to Colorado’s 3-1 win.
The first period was a snoozefest, with each team managing just 4 shots on goal, with Ottawa having the lone power play of the frame early on.
The second was more wide open, with Ottawa firing 20 shots on goal but Semyon Varlamov was equal to the task. It was Colorado that got on the board first courtesy of an old Ottawa friend. Former Senators defenseman Andre Benoit jumped into the rush after Chris Phillips got caught pinching. A poor decision by Ales Hemsky who was covering for Phillips led to a 3 on 1, and a backchecking Milan Michalek made another poor decision to dive for the puck carrier instead of taking the other man and left Cody Ceci stuck in no-mans land. Patrick Bordeleau found the trailing Benoit who wristed a shot past Robin Lehner.
Colorado doubled the lead on an early third period power play. Matt Duchene walked out of the corner and tried a cross-crease pass to Nick Holden, but Ceci slid to block it. However, as Ceci was getting up and looking for the puck in his feet, Jamie McGinn got to it first and tapped it across to Holden who had a wide open cage from three feet away and even Erik Condra couldn’t miss that opportunity. John Mitchell made it three nothing, finishing off a bang-bang play off a nifty move from Gabriel Landeskog to evade Marc Methot just below the goal line and make the quick pass to Mitchell.
The only question left in the dying moments was whether Varlamov would get the shutout. With 6 seconds left and the Ottawa net empty, Mika Zibanejad wired a blast from the point that beat the Russian Olympian to break the shutout. It was far too little, far too late and the Senators dropped another important game.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- The third Colorado goal was another misplay by Michalek and Erik Karlsson, who each had a man but unfortunately it was each other as they both stood side by side and watched Mitchell tap the puck home about a stick length away.
- The team is in a downward spiral that will be tough to recover from. The playoffs were a pipe dream before Montreal and now those hopes are dead and buried.
The Senators host Martin St. Louis and the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.