[Corsi] [Head-to-head] [Zone starts] [Scoring Chances]
Try as they might, the Ottawa Senators just couldn't manage to blow this game. The Senators ended up taking eight penalties and spent 15:41 of the game shorthanded or 26% of the time. In the end, the Senators hung on for the victory that lifts them to within one point of the eight playoff spot.
Much like Friday night, Ottawa got off to a quick start with Jason Spezza skating straight down the middle and scoring a beautiful goal just 55 seconds after the opening face-off. Unlike Friday though, the Senators didn't completely implode after taking the lead. Carolina did end up tying the game just after the 15 minute mark, when Patrick Dwyer scored from a spot where you really should never score. It was a great shot, but still not a goal Craig Anderson should allow. Ottawa retook the lead with just over two minutes left in the period on a power play goal by Jason Spezza after a gorgeous cross-ice pass by Sergei Gonchar. Each team received two power plays.
The second period was scoreless until the 19:46 mark with David Rundblad scoring his first career NHL goal. Initially, the commentators felt Zenon Konopka might have tipped the puck, but for now Rundblad has been given the goal. The Senators weren't making it easy for themselves, taking another three penalties.
After Eric Staal had drawn the Hurricanes to within a goal, Zack Smith scored a pure effort goal from a nice pass by Kaspars Daugavins. With just over three minutes left, Ottawa's penalty kill resistance was finally broken on the seventh attempt as Alexei Ponikarovsky made it a 4-3 game. Ottawa still wasn't done taking penalties and played the last 1:44 shorthanded. Jesse Winchester's diving poke check clinched the win for Ottawa.
Sens Hero: Zack Smith
The Senators went 7 for 8 on the penalty kill and Smith was a big reason why. He ended up with 8:27 of shorthanded ice time, scored the winning goal and had a couple of other good chances as well. His penalty late in the game made for a nervous finish, especially as he wasn't on the ice to kill it. Still, it was a great performance by #15, quite possibly his best of the season. He is on pace for 43 points as well as playing on the first penalty kill unit.
Sens Hero: Jason Spezza
Spezza ended his 11-game goalless drought with a two-goal effort, including his 200th career goal. The first goal was a thing of beauty and the second one was a great shot as well. He ended up with five shots and led by example.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
Karlsson was simply awesome tonight. He picked up the secondary assists on both Jason Spezza goals and controlled the play from the back. On more than one occasion, Karlsson would step in front of a Carolina player and take the puck the other way. His breakaway pass for Milan Michalek was just one example of his great vision.
Playing his fourth game in four nights, Filatov had 15:07 of ice time, playing with Jason Spezza and Colin Greening. He didn't get any points, but he did have a great scoring chance on a 2-on-1 with Spezza, though the finish wasn't great. It appeared he wanted to pass the puck there but just couldn't find a passing lane. The effort was certainly there from Filatov tonight, hopefully he gets a few more games in the top six to prove his worth.
- Erik Karlsson's two assists lift him to first in the NHL in assists and first in points by defencemen.
- Sergei Gonchar also had two assists and is on pace for 59 points. Playing in all situations, including 7:26 of shorthanded time, it was definitely a solid night for Gonchar.
- Filip Kuba had yet another good night and led all players with 8:32 of shorthanded time and 23:52 of total ice time. Kuba also had two blocked shots to extend his team lead.
- The Senators officially went 1 for 4 on the power play, but they scored two power play goals for all practical purposes. David Rundblad's goal was scored exactly at the second the power play expired. The Hurricanes player had not even stepped out of the box yet.