In a strange twist, the Ottawa Senators didn't need to stage a comeback in order to win their sixth-consecutive game. After Chris Neil put them up 2-1 at 7:59 of the second period, the Senators did not relinquish the lead on the way to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Toronto's Clarke MacArthur opened the scoring at 11:20 of the first period while on the power play, sending a wrister past surprise starter Robin Lehner. Ottawa responded just five minutes later when David Rundblad wired an incredible pass up to Colin Greening, who snapped a puck past Jonas Gustavsson to tie the game at 1-1. It was the kind of pass that one would expect from a savvy veteran, and not from someone playing only his 10th NHL game.
In the midst of a penalty-filled second period, Chris Neil scored the lone goal at 7:59 on the power play, tipping home an Erik Karlsson shot. Sergei Gonchar continued his rebound season by collecting an assist on the play.
Kaspars Daugavins put the Senators up 3-1 at 7:08 of the third period, his first in the NHL. Seconds after the puck went in, the other four skaters on the ice mobbed him in excitement. That joy lasted only two minutes, as Clarke MacArthur scored his second of the game to make it 3-2 Senators. Robin Lehner shut the door the rest of the way - including making an incredible pad save - and the Senators held on to win.
Oh, and Ottawa finishes the night 4th in the Eastern Conference with a 7-5 record.
The big, burgeoning power forward has acquired a new nickname: Baby Elephant (thank you, TV broadcasters). His breakaway wrist shot in the first period put Ottawa on the scoreboard. He was also unmoveable in Gustavsson's crease on the power play. It's been fun watching Greening grow, and every game he looks more and more comfortable on the top line.
Sens Hero/Milestone of the Night: Kaspars Daugavins
After losing his first NHL point to a goal scorer change last night, Daugavins finally had his moment, firing a shot past Gustavsson midway through the third period for his first NHL goal. It was a great shot, and for Daugavins, possibly the biggest moment of his career. The goal turned out to be the winner as well.
Sens Hero/Glimpse of the Future: Robin Lehner
Third period, six minutes left, his team up 3-2 and struggling on the penalty kill, Nikolai Kulemin was open and had nothing but net to fire at. Somehow, Lehner made his way across and made a diving pad save at the last second. He was great for the entire game - especially in the last two minutes - but that one save was outstanding and a sign of what might be to come.
Sens Yo-Yo: Erik Karlsson
Karlsson's game is usually a give-and-take between offensive showcasing and defensive lapses. He's the kind of player who generates chances in both sides of the rink. Tonight the flaw in his game was simply trying to be too fancy. For every nice, simple, perfect pass, he'd try to do something more complicated and it wouldn't pan out. He also finished with two bad penalties and an assist earned by rocketing a puck that Chris Neil tipped in.
Invisible Sens: Stephane Da Costa, Bobby Butler, Nikita Filatov
It's tough to be visible with as little ice time as Da Costa (8:13) and Butler (8:52) had, yet even when they were on the ice, you barely noticed them. Filatov had even less ice time (5:16).
Noteworthy Sens: Zack Smith, David Rundblad, Sergei Gonchar
Fan favourite Z. Smith was solid all night, and his hard work got Daugavins open for his first NHL goal. He was 10-2 on the faceoff dot and blocked three shots. Rundblad made a gorgeous pass to Greening for the Senators' first goal of the game, but didn't get enough ice time to showcase himself more. The rookie has gotten progressively better with each game. Gonchar played 21:34, had an assist, and was noticeable on almost every shift.
Sens Wounder: Clarke MacArthur
Not quite a killer, but he still did some damage. MacArthur scored both Leafs goals and played well. He simply didn't do enough damage to earn killer status.
Fun Fact: The first two penalties of the game were both called against Ottawa, while the next four were against Toronto. The Senators finished the game with four consecutive penalties, bringing the total to six for Ottawa and four for Toronto.
Bonus Fun Fact: The Senators played six rookies tonight: Colin Greening, David Rundblad, Stephane Da Costa, Kaspars Daugavins, Jared Cowen, and Robin Lehner.
- Phil Kessel (4-game) and Jason Spezza (6-game) both had point streaks snapped
- Erik Karlsson is now on a 3-game point streak, and has 12 assists on the season (2 more than any other player)
- Although both were pointless, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek both had 4 shots on goal. Jesse Winchester also had 4
- Filip Kuba added another assist to the three he accumulated the game before, and now has 6 points in 12 games after only 16 points last season
- The Senators were 38-19 in faceoffs, a team total of 67%
- The Senators power play was 2-for-4 (50%) and is now at 31% on the season