This was a seesaw game. No other way to describe it. The Senators were smothered for most of the first period, then dominated the second period and much of the third before almost giving away the game late.
Sitting comfortably on a 2-0 lead and absolutely controlling play, Craig Anderson miscommunicated with both of his defensemen on an iced puck. The puck in question was dumped in and bounced off the boards towards the front of the net. I imagine the conversation on the ice went something like this:
ANDERSON: You, you, you!
GONCHAR: You, you, you!
COWEN: You, you, you!
Since everyone clearly thought someone else was going to touch the puck, no one touched it, and Tuomo Ruutu backhanded it over a surprised Anderson.
After that, it was all Carolina. The Hurricanes poured the shots at Anderson, who stood tall all game. Carolina earned the equalizer thanks to an awfully iffy call on David Rundblad in front of Ottawa's net. Jeff Skinner's flailing was apparently enough to draw a holding penalty, and Skinner scored on the subsequent power play. Lame.
The OT was all Carolina as they outshot Ottawa six to one. Luckily, Anderson was warmed up from the end of the third and he made several good saves to take the game to the shootout, where he stoned Skinner, Jussi Jokinen, and Ruutu. That meant Jason Spezza's shootout goal would stand as the game winner, much to the disappointment of Ottawa's third shooter, presumably Jared Cowen.
(read on for heroes and zeroes....)
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
Gave the team a chance to win the game by getting them out of the first period with a 0-0 tie. They responded, staking him a 2-0 lead in the second. And despite a miscommunication that allowed the 'Canes to tie it up, Anderson earned the team both their points after an outstanding OT and shootout. This is the goalie Ottawa needs to win games.
Sens Hero: Sergei Gonchar
Ottawa's best defenseman on the night. Gonchar directly set up both Senators goals, taking a big hit to make a perfect pass to Zenon Konopka of all people, and then launching a perfect wrist shot to let Colin Greening create a scoring chance. Jason Spezza cleaned up the chance for an easy goal. That play was Ottawa's only power play of the game, which means they went one for one on the night. Gonchar continues to drive the team's power play success. He's playing like the player we thought we got last year.
Honorable mention: Kaspars Daugavins
The Rooster played very well in his call-up. Though he was held off the scoresheet, he played with an intensity that was refreshing to see. Used right away on the penalty kill as well, there's no need for Alfie to rush back if Daugavins can sustain this intensity.
Honorable mention: Zack Smith
Although his line was second-best to Greening-Spezza-Michalek, Z. Smith seemed to have the most scoring chances on the night. He did not convert any, which is why he is on the third line.
Z. Smith takes stupid penalties: Sadly, this section returns tonight, as he took an offensive zone penalty, interfering with Eric Staal behind the net needlessly.
Sens Killer: Officials
While the call against Rundblad was questionable, it was funny to see officials repeatedly hit with pucks by the Senators tonight. What wasn't funny was that they were usually during clearing attempts.
McBain: MCBAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN! Jamie McBain of the Hurricanes is not as cool. Just sayin'.