The Ottawa Senators looked listless for most of the night and looked headed for an uneventful finish. With less than 8 minutes left, the Senators had a total of 19 shots. They proceeded to pound 15 more shots over the remainder of the third period and overtime. It was a very unexpected come back but provided a very exciting finish to the game.
Stats from tonight
It didn't take long for the Senators to fall behind as Sergei Gonchar bobbled the puck, David Hale couldn't keep up with his man, Vincent Lecavalier, who skated in alone on Curtis McElhinney and gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at the 6:32 mark. The shots were 10-0 in favour of Tampa Bay before the Senators finally got a shot on goal, with Erik Karlsson getting one on target with only 4:14 left in the first period. The Senators were outshot 13-3 in the first period.
Early in the second period, Sergei Gonchar was hit into the glass by Mattias Ritola. It was later revealed that Gonchar received a concussion, and with only ten games left in the season, Gonchar might not play again this year. At 7:42 of the 2nd period, Dana Tyrell made it 2-0 as McElhinney attempted to poke check, but the puck trickled in across the line anyway. There was a scare late in the 2nd period, as Jason Spezza left the ice after appearing to be hit near the head. He did return at the start of the third. The Senators managed 9 shots in the second period, but only Erik Karlsson seemed to be ready to go up to this point. He led many dangerous rushes but couldn't create a goal up to this point.
In the third period, time seemed to be ticking down, and with the Lightning on the power play, Karlsson passed the puck around the boards to Condra who made a beautiful long pass to Ryan Shannon. Shannon went in alone and put a nice deke on Dwayne Roloson to cut the lead to 2-1. From this point on, the Senators were in control. After a Karlsson shot resulted in a scramble in front of the net, the Senators regained control of the puck. Zack Smith shot the puck from near the boards, which was tipped into the net by Nick Foligno, tying the game with 3:55 left.
The overtime was a wild one, with both teams getting plenty of chances. Karlsson led yet another rush and with just 1:32 left in overtime, he made a beautiful saucer pass to Jason Spezza. Spezza seemed to lose control of the puck as he attempted to shoot, but the puck went into the net anyway, capping a spectacular victory for the Senators.
Heroes and zeroes
Sens hero: Erik Karlsson
Karlsson was great tonight and was the most dangerous player for the Senators tonight. He led all Senators with 5 shots and ended the night with 2 assists and a +2 rating, and set up Spezza's game winner. With Gonchar out, Karlsson also played a whopping 31 minutes and 14 seconds. While most of the team seemed uninterested for the majority of the game, Karlsson never seemed to give up and continued to try and create chances. Karlsson continues to lead the Senators in scoring with 43 points and with 10 games left has a shot at hitting 50 points. He is also no longer last in the NHL in plus/minus, with Chris Phillips regaining that title.
More heroes and a zero after the jump...
Sens hero: Ryan Shannon
Ryan Shannon continues his strong play and scored a goal for the third straight game. His shorthanded goal was a thing of beauty, pulling of a lovely deke on Roloson. He also ended the night with +1 rating and is +2 on the season on a very bad team.
Sens hero: Curtis McElhinney
Let's face it, the Senators had no business winning that game. They were outplayed for the vast majority of the game but they were kept in it due to another strong performance by McElhinney. He stopped 35 of 37 shots and is now 3-0 in three starts with only 4 goals allowed in those starts.
Sens zero: Francis Lessard
Okay he didn't really screw up, but why is this guy on the team? He had a total of three shifts totalling 2:30. He did not play a single shift in the third period, when one thought maybe he might create some havoc for the Jason Spezza hit. He is a zero in the sense he literally has no impact on the game.