The Ottawa Senators finally held up their side of the bargain and scored some goals, but unfortunately this time they were let down by goaltender Brian Elliott. The Sens had one-goal leads three different times in the game, and lost that lead each time, the latter two on questionable goals against Elliott.
In the end, the Sens lose their second in a row, fifth of the last six games, and continue to look for answers to their problems. On the plus side, the scorers look like they've at least found some pace--Mike Fisher was on fire and could had plenty of scoring chances along with his two goals, Jason Spezza played well, Peter Regin made some terrific plays tonight--but now the goaltenders need to get back to their solid play. Expect Pascal Leclaire to get the next start.
Sens Zero: Brian Elliott
If not for a couple of weak goals that beat Elliott, this game would probably have been a 3-1 win for the Sens and another couple of points in the bank. Elliott's played well for the most part this season, and likely deserved a 'bad night', but he couldn't have picked a worse game to do it.
Sens Hero: Mike Fisher
Fisher was playing like a man possessed tonight. He scored two goals, making him the team's leading goal-scorer, and blasted a slapshot off the crossbar and post to come about as close as possible to a hat trick. He had five shots on net, tied with Sergei Gonchar for a game-high, and played more time on the penalty-kill than he did on the powerplay. A great game for Fisher, and one he--and this team--has really, really needed.
Sens Zero: Filip Kuba
I was reticent to single out Kuba as a zero tonight, because there weren't really too many egregious plays he made, and I'm conscious of a bit of a bias I have against him. But I'm getting tired of seeing Kuba, who's supposed to be a down-to-earth, puck-moving defenceman, blindly and recklessly throw pucks up the boards or into the corner without being able to make a decent play. He rarely makes breakout passes, instead selecting to make the easy play and dump the puck out of the zone. When he gets the puck at the point in the offensive zone, instead of making something happen he'll usually just dump the puck back in to the corner. These are the easy plays, and not usually bad--for middling defencemen who aren't able to make better plays. But Kuba's expected to make better plays. What these moves do is give up possession of the puck, and force the forwards to work their butts off to re-gain it (if they can re-gain it at all). He's got to get back to passing the puck, instead of dumping it.
Sens Hero: Jason Spezza
After making a sick deke to set up Ottawa's only goal against Montreal, Spezza was playing very well again tonight--despite being played with Bobby Butler and Nick Foligno. I'm not sure why Clouston wouldn't have put Spezza in a position where his linemates could take advantage of the room he creates for them, but either way, Spezza made the most of it anyway tonight. He also had three shots on net and won 62 per cent of the draws he took.
Sens Killer: Henrik Lundqvist
Although the Sens only had 27 shots tonight, Lundqvist made some really strong saves tonight to keep his team in the game. And they paid him back for it.
Sens Zero: Chris Neil
Neil wasn't terrible tonight. But just after the mid-way point of the third period, Neil took one of his patented ill-timed and ill-advised penalties while the game was tied. On the ensuing powerplay, Michael Sauer (who, yeah, was actually playing on the powerplay) scored the game-winning goal.
Not very nice: Matt Carkner
Late in the first period, after taking down Derek Boogard in a fight, Carkner skated by the Rangers bench and appeared to flick blood from his forehead towards the opposition players. If true--and it sure looks like it was-it's an uncharacteristically disrespectful gesture from a player who usually carries himself pretty well. We'll find out more about any further discipline fairly early tomorrow.
By the numbers:
Jesse Winchester led the Senators with six hits. ... Chris Campoli was the only plus player for Ottawa tonight, finishing +1. ... The fight was Carkner's sixth of the season; league leaders George Parros and Brandon Prust have ten apiece. ... Daniel Alfredsson's career-worst pointless drought extends to ten games after tonight's game. ... Gonchar directed 12 shots on net: Five hit Lundqvist, five were blocked, and two went wide. ... In total, New York blocked 20 Ottawa shots; turns out Bryan Murray was successful in forcing the opposition to block shots.