It might end up being too little, too late. But at least the Ottawa Senators aren’t going down without a fight. Monday night’s 2-1 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes was the club’s 3rd win in 4 games and they have moved back within 4 points of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Playing without Jason Spezza and Jared Cowen, the Senators and Canes didn’t exactly play the most exciting game of the year, but the Senators did just enough to escape with the win, and virtually eliminating the Canes from playoff contention.
The Senators got on the board early, after a great dangle by Ales Hemsky on Justin Faulk, with another highlight between the legs deke. Hemsky was stopped by Cam Ward, but he picked up the rebound and threw it out to the point to Patrick Wiercioch. Wiercioch’s shot went in off the skate of Mika Zibanejad past Ward to put the Senators up less than 2 minutes in. The Canes tied it up before too long, coming off a turnover. Erik Karlsson tried to cycle the puck back behind his net but it was cut off by Jeff Skinner. Karlsson scrambled back to cut Skinner’s path to the net, but the Canes sniper bounced a shot in off Karlsson’s leg and past Craig Anderson.
That was all the scoring for the game, as both teams looked tense and not looking to lose rather than to win. Ottawa successfully killed 3 penalties while having only 1 power play. Overtime solved nothing, but it featured a rather comical altercation between 5’5″ Nathan Gerbe and 6’2″ Eric Gryba in the Ottawa goal area. Comical because Clarke MacArthur came to the aid of Gryba in the skirmish, and we got to see some 3 on 3 action in overtime.
Hemsky scored the lone goal in the shootout, putting a quick wrist shot just over the right pad of Ward. Anderson made all the saves to at least put some pressure on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- It shouldn’t have been as close as that, because Ottawa had multiple chances to extend the lead or take the lead after the Canes had tied it up.
- They held the Canes to just 31 shots on goal, the lowest they have allowed in the last 6 games.
- Erik Karlsson looked completely out of gas late in the third period and overtime. That might be concerning since he played just 21 minutes on Sunday night. Hopefully he has today completely off.
- Spezza and Cowen are probable for Wednesday night.
Ottawa will look to extend the streak to 4 games when the New York Islanders pay a visit to Canadian Tire Center.