Senators beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 after incredible final minute


Well, that was quite a finish. No matter how this season turns out, the ending to this game will be up there with the moments of the season. I am still in complete shock. Incredible!

The Senators got off to a good start, scoring at 6:47 of the first period, when Filip Kuba snuck in down the left wing and put Jason Spezza's pass into the net. As it was noted in the game thread, it was a typical Kuba goal, being a soft shot that sneaked past Steve Mason. The goal was scored on Ottawa's first power play. (Spoiler alert: The second power play would also turn out to be important.) Ottawa's lead didn't last very long. Seven minutes later, Craig Anderson let Derrick Brassard's shot sneak through his legs and Aaron Johnson pushed it over the line. It was a pretty weak goal by Anderson.

The second period got off to a terrible start, with defenceman Kris Russell jumping into the rush to score just sixteen seconds into the period. The Senators were drifting through the rest of the period when Chris Neil laid a big hit on a Columbus player. Shortly after, Erik Condra, Chris Neil and Zack Smith cycled the puck, resulting in Condra sliding the puck from behind the net to Smith. That was the third great scoring chance of the night for Smith, and this time he finished it, one-timing it into the net.

Things just went crazy at the end of the third period. At the 9:20 mark, Rick Nash put the Blue Jackets ahead for the first time on a power play goal. This was another goal that Anderson really should have had. With 2:31 left in the game, the Senators hopes appeared to be dashed when David Rundblad took a hooking penalty to prevent Nash from breaking in alone on the net. (As an aside, at the time we weren't sure there was 2:31 left because the scoreboard was broken.) The Senators were obviously aggressive on the penalty kill and  Daniel Alfredsson stole the puck, earning a great chance to tie the game. Alfredsson couldn't score, but he drew a penalty with 1:24 left. Then shortly after Antoine Vermette fell when he could have iced the game with an empty net goal, Jason Spezza slammed home the rebound from Erik Karlsson's shot from the point, tying the game with just 36 seconds left. The Rundblad penalty would have expired five seconds later, so by scoring before that, the Senators still had the chance to go on the power play. With the man advantage and just 4.7 seconds left, Milan Michalek tipped home Sergei Gonchar's point shot to put the Senators ahead. In quite dramatic fashion, the Senators won a game they were so close to losing. HELL YES!

Sens heroes, zeroes and killers after the jump.

Sens Hero: Jason Spezza
While Spezza assisted on the opening goal, he had a quiet night until the third period when he simply took over. He was absolutely robbed by Steve Mason late in the third period and in the final minute he tied the game that sent the crowd into a frenzy. He wasn't finished. Just seconds later, he won the face-off that got the Senators possession, and set up Sergei Gonchar's slap shot on the winning goal. A three-point night for Spezza put him up to 11 points for the season in just 8 games. News of his offensive decline are certainly sounding a bit premature at the moment.

Sens Hero: Milan Michalek
Michalek didn't have a dominating night, but he scored the winning goal in such dramatic fashion, so how can he not be a hero? He ended with two points on the night and now has 6 goals and 10 points on the season.

Sens Hero: Filip Kuba
In addition to scoring his second goal of the season, Kuba was solid defensively as well. He maybe could have done a little better on the first Columbus goal, but otherwise played against Rick Nash's line and played him well. Nash did score on a power play but that was on Craig Anderson more than any defensive lapse. It was a solid night for Kuba, who ended the night with a team-high 23:42 of ice time. He might get traded before the end of the season, but he's been the Senators second-best defenceman this season, after his partner Erik Karlsson. That can't be hurting his trade value at all.

Sens Zero: Craig Anderson
The Senators may have pulled out a win, but Anderson didn't look good on the night. The first and third goals were on him and he was letting out a lot more rebounds than I would have liked. However, I won't criticise him too much as he might still be dealing with some personal issues.

Dishonourable mention: Chris Neil
Neil had a strong game and would have been a contender for one of the heroes. However, with the Senators looking for the tying goal late in the game, Neil shoved a referee and received a 10-minute misconduct. He was quite fortunate to escape with that and could easily have received a minor penalty that would have ended the Senators comeback. It wasn't a vicious push by any means, but you can't be doing that to the referees.

Other notes

  • David Rundblad played a fourth consecutive game without being on the ice for a goal against.
  • The Chris Neil, Zack Smith and Erik Condra line had a very strong night. They had numerous scoring chances and eventually capitalised on Smith's goal assisted by Neil and Condra. Neil had a team best +12 Corsi rating, with Condra at +11 and Smith a +6. Smith also had a team high four shots on net. The line wasn't put on the ice for a single 5-on-5 defensive zone face-off though.
  • The Michalek, Spezza and Greening line was badly outshot again, finishing at -10, -7 and -8 Corsi ratings respectively. Spezza and Michalek came through when it mattered though.
  • Stéphane Da Costa was invisible most of the night and played only 8:23. He didn't get a shot on goal.
  • The power play went 2-for-2 on the night and is ranked third in the NHL when this was published.
  • Erik Karlsson had a relatively quiet night but ended up with four shots and picked up his league-leading eighth assist.
  • The Senators have trailed at some point in every game so far this season.

Shot Chart

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Highlights

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