This time 5 was enough for the Ottawa Senators against the Chicago Blackhawks. After scoring 5 against the Hawks in October in a losing effort, Craig Anderson made 5 stand up as the Senators downed defending Stanley Cup Champions 5-3 at Scotiabank Place.
Maybe it was the fact that Chicago had played first place Boston the night before and goes on to play 2nd place Pittsburgh on Sunday in this Eastern Conference road trip and they overlooked the Senators. Perhaps it was Antti Raanta instead of Corey Crawford in the Hawks net, but whatever the reason was, the Senators took advantage and came away with 2 points despite being outplayed, outshot, out power-played and out face-offed.
Ottawa got on the board first with Zack Smith taking advantage of a Duncan Keith bobble at the Chicago blue line with the Hawks on a power play. Smith picked up the loose puck and hit Erik Condra at full speed, and Condra simply walked in and beat Raanta glove side for the shorty just before the midway point of the first. Cody Ceci sent the Senators to the room up 2-0 with a last minute goal. His shot went in off the stick of Blackhawks rookie Matt Carey, who was making his NHL debut.
Ottawa made it 3-0 early in the third on a very nice breakout and passing play. Erik Karlsson started the play with a pass to Ales Hemsky on the wing. Hemsky carried it into the zone and fed Jason Spezza in the slot. Spezza had options and instead of shooting saw Milan Michalek driving the net ahead of his cover and fed a nice pass that Michalek easily tipped past Raanta just 23 seconds in. It was all Chicago after that, as they took the play to the Senators and Anderson did his best to stem the tide. A power play allowed Chicago to get on the board just before the 11 minute mark. Patrick Sharp took the puck behind his own net and led the rush right to the Senators’ blue line, dishing off to the boards and continuing to the net. Jonathan Toews picked up the puck and quckly returned it to Sharp who redirected it past Anderson. Marian Hossa picked off a Marc Methot clearing pass just inside the Ottawa line, carried it in and stuffed it past Anderson in the last minute to bring Chicago within 1 after dominating the second, outshooting Ottawa 23-5 and the Senators fans had to wonder if they would indeed hang on.
The dumbest rule in hockey worked to the Senators’ advantage and got them a little breathing room. With Carey off for gloving the puck on the faceoff, Patrick Wiercioch‘s shot from the faceoff circle was stopped, Clarke MacArthur‘s rebound attempt was also turned away, but Raanta could not stop Kyle Turris‘ third crack in the goalmouth scramble to restore the two goal cushion. Mark Stone picked Keith’s pocket and sent MacArthur in alone and he beat Raanta to make it a 3 goal game once again with just 9 minutes left. Andrew Shaw and Smith got into an altercation that saw Shaw get an extra major for spearing and a game misconduct with just over 6 minutes left, which pretty much sealed the fate of the Hawks. They did get one back while shorhanded, with former Sen Peter Regin stealing the puck from Karlsson, tipping it to Michal Handzus. Handzus carried it in and delayed only to get the puck knocked off his stick. Unfortunately for Ottawa, it went straight to Brent Seabrook who was trailing the play and could step into a slapshot from the slot. Anderson made the save, but somehow it trickled down the back of his leg and as Anderson was backing up, he inadvertently pushed it into his own net. The Hawks would get no closer, and Ottawa skated away with the 5-3 win.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Ottawa gave up 49 shots, and were thoroughly outplayed but still managed to get a win for the home fans.
- Mark Stone continues to impress. He got 2 assists and now has points in 3 straight games.
- Just for the record, and this ship has sailed long ago, but the Senators are 6 points out of the playoff with 9 games to play and 4 teams to pass. Just saying, for you eternal optimists out there.
The Senators host the Calgary Flames as Sean Monahan makes his return to the city where he played his junior hockey. The game is Sunday at 5:00 pm.