Ottawa Slumpbusters fall to Coyotes

USA TODAY Sports

One way or another, somebody's slump was ending today

The game started off well, with Ottawa surviving both the first shot and the first 5 minutes of play without allowing a goal.  The opening play was mostly back and forth, with a slight favouring to Ottawa. The first penalty of the game came when Oliver Ekman-Larsson hauled down Jean-Gabriel Pageau, presumably for having the hyphen earlier in his name.

The power play was going about as well as Ottawa power plays have looked of late, never really managing to set up a zone presence.  With 30 seconds already burned off the man advantage, Cody Ceci carries the puck out from behind the Ottawa net and up across the blue line.  Ceci to Clarke MacArthur.  MacArthur to Kyle Turris.  Turris to Bobby Ryan.  Ryan to Marc Methot in the slot... GOAL! Originally credited to Methot, later review showed Kyle Turris tipped it past Smith.  The goal was the result of a beautiful set of passes that started at the Ottawa blue line and just moved the puck right up the ice.

Within seconds, the Coyotes get a huge chance to tie the game when Anderson lost track of the puck after the initial save and has it trickle loose right in front of the open net, but Marc Methot to the rescue!  He bolts into the space left open, and clears the puck practically off the goal line.

The teams traded chances and power play time for the rest of the period, but we go to intermission with a 1-0 Ottawa lead.

The Coyotes came out stronger in the second.  Not by much, but enough to draw a penalty when Zack Smith hooked up Oliver Ekman-Larsson, presumably for having a hyphen in his name at all.  The penalty kill weathered the early storm in the Ottawa zone, and then managed to kill the second half of the penalty without giving up much of a chance.  Right as the penalty ended, Ottawa was ready to make a break.

Zack Smith, fresh out of the box, picked the cherry and bolts towards the Phoenix goal. A beautiful snipe beats Mike Smith cleanly, giving the Sens a 2-0 lead.

The worst lead in hockey wouldn't last long though.  Methot moved in to battle along the boards, and nobody covered the point leading to a breakout and a 2 on 1 rush for the Coyotes.  Eric Gryba tried to take away the pass, but Lauri Korpikoski managed to find Antoine Vermette who opted to wait just long enough for Anderson to commit to sliding over before cutting in and putting the puck in the net.

Ottawa came on strong at this point, carrying the play for the next few minutes until a beautiful cycle is broken up by an ill-advised penalty from Pageau that totally looked like slashing but was called holding.  Phoenix took their time setting up their power play, before tying the game up 31 seconds in to the power play on a nice (mostly solo) effort by Radim Vrbata. It was their first shot attempt (on goal, missed or blocked) in over 3 minutes - since their first goal, in fact.

Then the penalties started really coming in.  A scrum around the Phoenix net results in 5 minors being called.  Shortly after those ended, a slightly dangerous play rushing in to the corner results in coincidental minors.  14 seconds later, another pair of coincidental minors.

During this stretch of 4 on 4 hockey, Milan Michalek carried the puck across the Coyotes blue line, just in time to feed Methot going deep behind the net.  Methot carries the puck out, and somehow finds space between Mike Smith and the post to put the Sens up 3-2.

All in all, there was more penalty time handed out in the second period than there was play time.  Ottawa carried the play in dominant fashion for the period, but came out of the period with the same size of lead they entered it with.

Starting the third period on the power play, Ottawa wasn't able to get much going.  5 seconds after the power play ended, a blatant trip by Martin Hanzal sent Ottawa to the man advantage again, but they still couldn't get much going.  When they managed to not be a man down, Phoenix carried the play for the first 10 minutes of the period.

The only real bright point in Ottawa's play in the 3rd came when Mike Ribeiro was in the box for high sticking.  7 of Ottawa's 15 shot attempts in the 3rd came in that 2 minute stretch.  It was a solid power play, but one that failed to convert.

With under 4 minutes remaining in regulation, Eric Condra got called for a high stick to Rostislav Klesla.  It would take almost a minute for Phoenix to get anything going on the power play, but eventually the puck finds it's way to Vermette wide of the net, but with an open back door.  Chris Phillips tries to block the shot, but fails and it's all tied up at 3.  Both teams were pretty flat and playing it safe to run down the clock, and nothing was solved after 60 minutes.

Ottawa came out strong in the extra frame.  Methot rushed in with a reasonable scoring chance, but couldn't jam it past Smith to end the game.  Karlsson gonna Karlsson, started just above the Ottawa goal line, took it coast to coast and just barely missed the quickly closing five hole on Smith.  Next rush, Turris almost ended it but Smith got his toe out to make the save, then quickly got across to make another toe save on the rebound shot from MacArthur.

So of course it had to happen.  On really the first pressure Phoenix is able to generate, Andy bobbled a Derek Morris wrist shot, allowing Vermette to pick up the loose rebound and an open five hole to end the game.

Sens Hero: Marc Methot

Beyond just his general great play all game, he had a goal and an assist and was directly responsible for stopping 2 goals against from happening. This may have been his biggest impact game in a Senators uniform, so Merry Methotmas everyone!

Honourable Mention: Bobby Ryan

He notched one assist, and directed 10 shot attempts at the net (5 on target). Even with his misplay on the first Phoenix goal, it was the efforts of Mike Smith kept Ryan from hero status. Speaking of whom...

Sens Killer: Mike Smith

He made 37 saves on 40 shots this afternoon so his numbers were just good instead of spectacular, but those 37 saves included a high number of complete robberies. He kept Ottawa from running away with the game in the first, and kept the door shut in overtime.

Sens Killer: Antoine Vermette

He got the goal that got Phoenix back in to the game, got the goal that sent the game to overtime, and then won the game for the Coyotes.

Dishonourable Mention: Craig Anderson

None of the regulation goals were particularly horrible, but none of them were world beaters either. The overtime goal was 5 hole on a rebound though, and sub .900 again just isn't good enough.

Shot Chart

Via ESPN

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