Things started out well for the Ottawa Senators when they took a 2-0 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes early in the first period, and it looked like they had the game in hand. These are still the Cardiac 'Canes, though, and two goals in just 25 seconds tied the game up before the first period ended. Chad LaRose scored late in the second, and Cory Stillman's goal to cap off a pretty passing play held up as the winner after Erik Karlsson led the way in an attempted--but ultimately unsuccessful--Senators comeback.
Although Curtis McElhinney allowed four goals, and a couple looked weak, he wasn't culpable in the loss. It was a pretty strong game all around for much of it, with the Hurricanes cashing in on the few mistakes the Senators made. All in all, for a team looking at getting a lottery pick as high in the draft as possible, this kind of exciting, fast-paced loss is kind of a perfect result.
Sens Hero: Jason Spezza
Another very strong game for Spezza tonight, as the de facto captain continues leading the way for his team. He finished with two assists in 23:05 TOI tonight, winning nine of 15 faceoffs and just playing a solid game. He had a couple momentary lapses, but overall, another great game.
Sens Hero: Brian Lee
Mr. Double Down himself played some sick hockey tonight. His first period was especially strong, with good poise with the puck in the defensive end (a refreshing change from earlier in the season) and even saving a goal by blocking a shot with his face. Lee has gained a reputation, at least in my books, as a late-season wonder; he's going to have to prove he can play an entire season this well in training camp next year.
Sens Killer: Cam Ward
By far the best player of the game, Ward likely stole this one for the 'Canes. He stopped 36 of 39 shots faced, including all 18 Ottawa fired his way in the second period, giving his team the opportunity to take and hold on to the lead they'd need.
Sens Killer: Chad LaRose
For whatever reason, LaRose is always a Sens killer. He had two goals tonight, giving him 4G and 2A in 4GP against Ottawa just this season. On the plus side, he's an unrestricted free agent next season.
Tough Spot: Patrick Wiercioch
Wiercioch started off pretty well in his NHL debut, but in the end, finished -2 on the night and did look--at times--a little left behind by the speed of the game. Part of that was likely being paired with Filip Kuba: Not to throw Kuba under the bus, but his sometimes... unpredictable plays often leave his defensive partner high and dry trying to cover two or three opposition players in front of the net. Wiercioch, to the surprise of no one, wasn't quite able to do that.
Team First: Marek Svatos
Svatos scored his first goal in a Sens jersey tonight, and it wasn't a bad one, either. He also likely played his best game since joining the team, which isn't a coincidence. He was on the ice as the seconds ticked away and Ottawa was looking to tie the game.