I'm not sure you're going to find a game that leaves you feeling so low, then get you back feeling so high, and then repeats that several more times. The Senators went down 3-0 in the first period, and the game stayed that way through two. In the third however, the Senators came out firing on all cylinders and rallied back, tying the game in eight minutes. Then the Predators and Senators traded goals until the Predators were up 5-4 with less than a minute to go - and on the powerplay to boot. Somehow, the Senators managed to pull the goalie long enough to tie the game with 2 seconds left thanks to a great forecheck from Mike Fisher that led to a Chris Phillips goal.
Defensemen were all over the scoresheet tonight, with three of Ottawa's goals (Phillips, Chris Campoli and Anton Volchenkov) and all but one of the Predators' goals (two from Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, one from Cody Franson).
But defense weren't the only stars - Jason Spezza had his most productive game of the season, getting three assists (although still failing to score a goal). Most notable was his assist on Volchenkov's goal, where Spezza went end to end with amazing speed through the neutral zone, and went behind the net to get goalie Pekka Rinne out of position.
The third period, though, was the only one that any Sens fans want to remember.
In the future, coaches will use the first period of this game for a PSA on the dangers of turnovers. Ottawa had about 10 in the first period alone, and Nashville capitalized by potting 3 goals before the end of the period. It helped that awkward bounces kept going off of Senators' defensemen (Alex Picard and Matt Carkner being on the ice for all three), but there's no excuse for the pathetic play in the first.
The second was slightly better, Ottawa finishing with more shots but still giving up a number of odd-man rushes. Pascal Leclaire made some enormous saves that kept the Senators in it - don't think that the six goals against are an indicator of a sloppy night. Without Leclaire, the amazing comeback in the third period to get the point for pushing the game to overtime could never have happened.
Unfortunately, the Senators couldn't finish the deed because they were shorthanded throughout pretty much the entire overtime. And no matter how bad the Predators powerplay is, they aren't going to miss every opportunity that comes their way - especially since on both there were only three Senators players (a 5-on-3 for their first PP goal, and 4-on-3 to win in overtime).
If the Senators hadn't played so poorly in the first 40 minutes, they probably could have come away with both points. However, if that were the case, we wouldn't have gotten the most exciting third period I can remember in recent memory. A great, late effort from the Senators that the fans certainly appreciated, even if they came up short in the end.
User Comment of the Night: "Yeah Spezza always has great awareness of when there are teammates behind him" - user Jeff after Jason Spezza made a nifty behind the back pass and the commentator stated "[Spezza] knew he was right there!"
Peter's take: I missed the first two periods, and I'm glad I did. As entertaining as the third period was, it was still disappointing to see the Senators fight back so well only to give up another goal and go down again--it made it more exciting, but it just made it more difficult for them. The ability to come back was a demonstration of the confidence this team has in their ability to get back into games, but they were lucky for that 5-on-3 powerplay, and for the fact that they were playing a tired Predators team near the end of their road trip.
From what I saw in the third, Erik Karlsson looked good on the powerplay. His passing is just sick, and it's good to see he's trying the passes that make his other deficiencies worthwhile. Although Picard and Carkner had tough games (probably an understatement), they should get the opportunity to bounce back strongly against Boston on Saturday.
Awesome stat: Volchenkov (1G, 4A) is now leading Senators defencemen in scoring.
Not awesome fact: Volchenkov is in a contract year.