The Ottawa Senators did something they have had trouble with all season – beating a team below them in the standings- with Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the New York Islanders. As a result, other games completed on the same night resulted in the mathematical confirmation of what we have non-mathematically assumed for a month – the Senators will not be in the post-season.
Jason Spezza scored twice and also set up Matt Kassian‘s first goal of the season into an open net to lead the way for the Senators. Ales Hemsky scored another highlight reel goal and added two helpers while Marc Methot had two assists.
It was a game that you might expect from two non-playoff teams in the final week of the season. It certainly won’t be on any ESPN Classic games but even at this point a win is a win.
Kassian had an eventful night, for a player who played less than 6 minutes. He tried to square off with Islanders debutante Brett Gallant, but officials stepped in between them before they could start throwing punches. The duo agreed to continue their introduction, and did so as soon as their minor penalties expired. Kassian got the first glancing blow in, but then was stunned and knocked down by a single shot from Gallant that opened the Senators enforcer and forced him to go for stitches.
Once again the Senators were dramatically outshot, but had the better scoring chances, and it could have easily been 6-1 or 7-1 if it weren’t for a couple of outstanding saves by Anders Nilsson, most notably on Kyle Turris.
The game was scoreless for more than 32 minutes, until Spezza’s slapshot on the power play went 5 hole on Nilsson, after a screen by Chris Neil. After Nielsen tied it up, Spezza put one over the shoulder of Nilsson, in a play that had to be reviewed as the official didn’t see it go in. Hemsky made a nice solo rush to delay and then beat Nilsson short side and Kassian capped it with his second goal as a Senator.
Ottawa returns home for its last homestand of the season. They will face the New Jersey Devils on Thursday for Fan Appreciation Night.