Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo
The Ottawa Senators dominated the game, but Cam Ward stole the show and earned an overtime victory for the Carolina Hurricanes.
This is how the other side lives, I guess.
After Craig Anderson stole a few wins for the Ottawa Senators, tonight was the opposition's turn as Cam Ward stole a win for the Carolina Hurricanes (with the help of a few lucky bounces). Ottawa dominated for long stretches, out-shooting the 'Canes by a 47-26 count and forcing Ward to play some insanely strong hockey.
Ottawa scored first again, when Erik Karlsson drove to the net (and nearly put himself off-side in the process) to cash-in on a great set-up from Jakob Silfverberg. The second was a clinic put on by the Senators, as they out-shot Carolina 17-3, but shortly after some ridiculous back-and-forth goaltending, the 'Canes' Chad LaRose (well-known Sens Killer) cashed in on one of those three shots to knot up the game--at least until Daniel Alfredsson scored a gorgeous goal from a nearly impossible angle to restore the Sens' one-goal lead.
Things were pretty even through the third, with the two squads exchanging chances until another noted Sens Killer, Alexander Semin, tied the game again. Ottawa pushed the issue towards the end, but Carolina held on for overtime and ended up notching the winner a couple minutes in when Anderson lost sight of the puck (which doesn't happen often) and Jay Harrison found it and knocked it in.
The Senators deserved a much better fate (it should have been four or five to one after two), but they salvaged one point out of it, at least. If Ottawa can continue playing as well as they did against the Hurricanes, they'll win far more games than they lose this season.
Sens Killer: Cam Ward
Not sure how much more needs to be said about Ward, really, but let's just say there was a robbery at the 'Bank on Thursday night. Top highlight for Ward: When Mike Lundin and Silverberg were scrambling in the crease trying to jam the puck in the net, but Ward somehow sprawled out along the goal line and kept the puck out. That set Carolina up to score the tying goal and get back into a game they had no business being in.
Sens Killer: Eric Staal
The mixture of strength and speed that the eldest Staal bring to the game is something else. He led the 'Canes with six shots on net (nearly a quarter of their total) and powered the puck to the net for the overtime game-winner.
Sens Hero: Daniel Alfredsson
Alfie was pretty well under the radar for the first half of the game, but got into it at around the mid-way point--and scored a gorgeous goal shortly thereafter. After a nice pass from Kyle Turris, Alfie skated in and roofed the puck over the shoulder of Ward from just off the goal line. It came at a good moment, too, because you could almost sense that the Sens were becoming dejected after Ward had been stopping everything coming his way.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
Världens bästa Karlsson looks like he might actually be Världens bästa hockey player in general right now, the way he's playing. Karlsson scored the first goal and fired eleven shots on net (nearly a quarter of Ottawa's total), but played great defensively, to boot.
Dishonourable Mention: Zack Smith
I was very close to giving Z. Smith a Sens Zero on the night (I was ragging pretty hard on him on Twitter), but thought better of it after reviewing his faceoff proficiency, where he saved the Sens by winning an absurd 17 of 23 draws he took. But outside of the faceoff circle... yeesh. He was stripped of the puck more times than I care to remember, far too pedestrian, and was s-l-o-w out there. Not his finest hour, except for the faceoff mastery.
Honourable Mention: Kyle Turris
Basically Turris was the opposite of Z. Smith: Great play and intensity, but absolutely dreadful on the dot: He lost 13 of 18 draws taken. Not good. Needs to be a lot better.
Honourable Mentions: Jakob Silfverberg, Stephane Da Costa
These two guys seem like similarly pensive players, both putting the pieces of the puzzle together mentally and both on the verge of really breaking out. Silfverberg's a bigger, stronger guy who's been driving the net, and he's starting to get points for it--with a bit more support in the offensive zone from his linemates, the points will start coming fairly quickly for Silfverberg.
On the other hand, Da Costa's more of a slippery player, and he continues to impress me with the growth in confidence and strength he's experienced since last year. It strikes me as a mistake that Da Costa was barely used in the third (just 1:47 TOI in the final frame) because I honestly think his first goal of the season isn't far off.
Big Debut: Mike Lundin
Lundin came in and played a pretty big role in his first game as a Senator: He had 19:24 TOI, more than either Chris Phillips or Andre Benoit, and came pretty close to scoring a goal, to boot. He looked like an NHL-calibre defenceman, which is promising.
Snakebitten: Colin Greening
Greening had two glorious scoring chances for the Sens, but blew the first one with too many moves and hit the post on the second. Things aren't going well for Greening right now, and those two missed opportunities were costly for the team.
Might as well have painted the whole Carolina zone black...