Rookie Senators Down Rookie Blackhawks 4-3 in Shootout


Despite the announcers calling them the “Stanley Cup Rookies” on multiple occasions (not one of the players on the Chicago roster had anything to do with the Hawks winning the Cup), the Ottawa Senators rookies overcame a Hawks third period comeback and won 4-3 in a shootout.

The Senators played without Shane Prince, Matt Puempel and Derek Grant, who were good in the first game but also got nicked up a bit and with extra bodies were given the day off, as was standout defenseman Troy Rutkowski.

June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cody Ceci is selected as the number fifteen overall draft pick to the Ottawa Senators in the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jean-Gabriel Pageau opened the scoring early in the first, batting in a cross-crease pass from Mark Stone, a play that would end up in goals a lot over the course of the game. The Senators killed off lengthy 2 man advantage and then failed to score on a power play of their own.  Chicago got on the board late in the first with Alex Henry banking a puck of Senators defenseman Ben Harpur’s face past goalie Andrew Hammond.  Harpur left the game to get stitched up, but was back for the second period.

Hammond opened up the 2nd period stopping Pat Mullane on a breakaway after a poor Ottawa line change and turnover.  On a two man advantage Pageau scored again, this time tapping home a nice feed from Andre Petersson to get the Sens back in front. The period ended with that 2-1 score in Ottawa’s favor.

Francois Brassard was in the Ottawa net for the third, and was forced to make a glove save right off the bat on a Chicago power play. Ottawa’s power play struck for the second time, as Petersson completed a cross-crease feed from Ludwig Karlsson that looked a lot like the Pageau power play marker early in the second, giving the Senators a 3-1 lead. Chicago took another penalty right after that goal, but it was tall, lanky (6’9″, 220 lbs) Viktor Svedberg who jumped into the rush and completed a cross-ice pass for the shorthanded marker to bring the Hawks back within one.  With the Hawks on a 2 man advantage, Pageau stole the puck and broke in on a partial breakaway but was turned away by Brandon Whitney in the Chicago net, to keep the Senators lead at 1.  With the Hawks net empty and Whitney pulled for the extra attacker, Maxim Shalanov picked up a rebound off the post and put it into the open net to send the game to overtime.

Pageau had the best chance in overtime, knifing past Henry and putting a backhand shot off where post meets crossbar, but overtime solved nothing.  After Shalanov had put the Hawks up 1-0, Petersson evened the score and then Curtis Lazar went backhand-shelf to give the Senators their second straight win.

Pageau was by far the best player on the ice, with two different linemates from Thursday’s game.  The Senators centre lined up with Mark Stone and Vincent Dunn flanking him for most of the game.  Cody Ceci also stood out, especially on both special teams units, as he quarterbacked the power play and also was the lone defenseman on the third period 5 on 3 disadvantage, and equated himself very well. He made some move at the blue line on the power play that he probably wouldn’t get away with at the NHL level, but it shows creativity and that he isn’t afraid to try things.

On the downside, Lazar (aside from his SO winner) was not as visible as he was when he lined up with Pageau and Prince on Thursday.  Also, Stone still looks like he needs to improve his skating to be a consistent NHLer, but that could be the Mario Lemiuex syndrome, where such a big stride just makes him look like he is stuck in quicksand.

The Senators will wrap up the rookie tournament with a Sunday night game against the Rookie Maple Leafs.