Running the risk of sounding like a terrible homer, the Ottawa Senators outplayed the Vancouver Canucks almost from start to finish late on Monday night, even if they ended up losing the game by a 4-2 final score. When the Sens went down 3-0 early in the
third second period, with Brian Elliott looking to be on the verge of getting pulled again, most viewers were expecting an ugly end result. But a few minutes later the team's hard work paid off when an unreal Nick Foligno backhand went high over Roberto Luongo's glove and got Ottawa into the game. Less than two minutes later the Senators somehow got a 3-on-none, and Jason Spezza put in his own rebound to get Ottawa within one. They kept the pressure on, but couldn't tie the game before Mikael Samuelsson salted the game away with an empty-net goal.
Ottawa's zone time looked better thanks to their five powerplays, to be sure, but the Senators played a tremendous game against the Canucks on Monday night. They hit three posts in the second period, which is a sorry excuse, but certainly cost the Senators a victory--or at least a better chance at a victory--in the game. If games were gaged by effort rather than goals scored, the Sens would have won. But that's a ridiculous game to play, and hockey isn't scored that way, so the Sens lost their tenth straight.
Sens Zero-turned-Hero: Brian Elliott
It's amazing that Elliott allowed three goals on the first six shots he faced, because after that he battened down the hatches and was outstanding. He stopped the ensuing 23 shots, including some absolutely unbelievable stops in the third period showing long-forgotten lateral mobility and just some all-around strong play. He wasn't good or bad in the first, but he was great in the third.
Sens Hero: Jason Spezza
Notched a goal and an assist tonight, getting his first couple of points since returning from injury. He played 20:32 in the game, more than any other forward, fired seven shots at Luongo, and won 10 of 16 faceoffs he took. He showed with emphasis what the Senators were missing while he was out of the lineup.
Sens Hero: Brian Lee
Yeah, I'll say it: Lee was one of the team's best defenders against the Canucks. He played 15:41, deserved to play more, had a couple of shots on net, and although he was credited with just one hit, he definitely used his body effectively. Beyond that, though, Lee was effective in moving the puck, showing some pretty good patience, vision, and poise at times. He finished -2 on the night, but was hardly culpable on either goal. Good game for the kid.
Sens Zero: Mike Fisher
He looked like he got hurt in the first shift when hit by Raffi Torres, but look at Fisher's numbers tonight: 13:21 TOI, no shots, and lost eight of 10 faceoffs taken. He played less ice time than Zack Smith in the game. Something ain't right.
Perfect game: Chris Neil
After laying out Henrik Sedin in the first, Neil accepted Aaron Rome's challenge to fight, and taught him a lesson, too. Neil finished with four hits in 10:39, and had a shot on net, too. He was good.