Senators ice Rangers 2-1 in shootout

This game had slightly under one billion icing calls, which is where the absurd pun comes from. I'm not quite ready for TSN, so you'll just have to settle for unfunny puns instead of lame, unfunny puns. Back to the game: It wasn't the most exciting thing in the world. Ottawa outworked a Rangers team that appeared to be taking them lightly, and put together lots of pressure in some decently long spurts.

They had no goals to show for the effort, because in the Rangers' net was Henrik Lundqvist, and it turns out as a goalie, he's not too bad.  It took an outstanding goal from Ryan Shannon on a cross-ice feed from Bobby Butler to finally break open the scoring. From there on out, the game had much more back and forth action. Shannon's goal appeared to wake up the Rangers, and less than three minutes into the third period, Brandon Prust had put one past Craig Anderson to tie the game at one.

Emotions ran high after that, culminating in a 5-on-3 gentlemanly discussion around Ottawa's crease with just 1:40 left. In case you were wondering, much like Ottawa's power play the past few years, the fact that they had a two-man advantage in a scrum didn't matter much. Chris Neil then committed a stupid penalty, and the team went to overtime down a man.

New York's four-man unit wasn't incredibly creative on the power play, and the end saw Chris Neil on a breakaway out of the penalty box. Neil has been showing some hockey moves lately, but unfortunately for him, Lundqvist had not magically disappeared from the net. Advantage: the goalie.

So, finally, the game was decided by shootout.  Marek Svatos was one of Ottawa's shooters, but as has been his M.O. in a Sens jersey, he missed the net. After Jason Spezza, Ryan Shannon, Svatos, and Nick Foligno couldn't beat Lundqvist, things were looking bleak. Riding to the rescue was Erik Karlsson, who ripped a shot off the post and in, winning the game and achieving hero status at the same time. Kiss the second-overall pick goodbye, folks.

(read on for heroes, zeroes, and killers...)

Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
The numbers tell the story here. 30 shots, 29 saves. That's a save percentage of .967. Anderson gave his team a chance to win simply by making the saves he should have made, and a few he shouldn't have. The effort didn't stop there, as he went save for save with Lundqvist in the shootout. That sense of dread you felt watching shooters go one-on-one with Sens goalies? You know, the one where you wind up muttering, "Damn it, Elliott."? It's not there anymore. A final word: Patrick Weircioch was a plus-1 in this game and looked much more comfortable. Part of that is due to getting his first game jitters out of the way, and part of it is due to Anderson's steadying presence. I can't be convinced otherwise.

Sens Killer: Henrik Lundqvist
I may have mentioned that he was good before.  Please allow myself to repeat... myself.  Lundqvist was really good.  It was really hard to believe that the Senators had any chance in the shootout with the way he was playing in this game.  Watching Spezza out-wait him in the skills competition only to be stymied by an impossible leg save sums it up really well. I was sure Spezza was going to score. Spezza was probably sure he was going to score.  Wrong.

Bro was on: Penalty Killing
These guys deserve their due. Most of the work of the 4-on-3 OT penalty kill was done by the skaters. That's not how the cliche is supposed to go. In their last five games, this unit has allowed just one goal in 14 chances, and scored one themselves. They were suffocating tonight. Also, they probably don't like Z. Smith.

Sens Hero: Ryan Shannon
Might have been Ottawa's best forward tonight. Whatever the team has been putting in his drinks, they need to keep doing it. As mentioned above, Shannon buried a feed from Butler to score the team's only goal, played a huge role on the penalty kill, and generally set up good scoring chances for his line. He's making a strong case to be with the team next year.

Sens Hero: Colin Greening
How many breakaways has he sprung Spezza on now? No idea, but it's more than Giggles has seen all year. Greening led a strong Senators forecheck, led the team with five shots on goal, and won both of the faceoffs he took. He deserves a chance to make the team outright next year, though it's doubtful that it will be as top-six forward.

Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
Another 30+ minute night for the kid. Also scored the game-winning goal in the shootout.  Danced quite a bit in his own zone tonight, but all those moves worked out this time, so sometimes when you're lucky, you're good, too.  Much like Jason Spezza, Karlsson seems to be relishing an increased role on the team.

Z. Smith takes dumb penalties
Nine minutes in penalties for Zack Smith tonight, though I wouldn't categorize any of them as dumb.  He was in pure don't-give-a-crap mode tonight, as immediately getting out of the box (he was serving two for unsportsmanlike conduct for not being allowed to fight Mike Sauer) he fought Mike Sauer. And this was after having an intermission to think about what he'd done. Though he couldn't be described as winning the fight, he was not yet finished not giving a crap -- he served two more minutes as a major player in the semi-epic 5-on-3 scrum late in the game. 

Shot Chart



Shot_chart_3-24-11_medium  via ESPN

 

Highlights


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