In their last game, the Ottawa Senators started strong and scored a goal early and had chances to extend the lead. Unfortunately they were not able to keep that up for the remainder of the game and were fortunate to come away with a win. Thursday night against the Rangers this was not an issue. Ottawa was the better team from start to finish and fully deserved their 3-0 win.
The first period went well for Ottawa and although they did not score, the Rangers barely had a sniff at the Ottawa goal. Mike Hoffman playing his second career game, was setup for a great chance by Daniel Alfredsson but his shot from the slot was well saved by Henrik Lundqvist. The Senators continued to create chances and both Eric Gryba and Jakob Silfverberg would be denied by Lundqvist in the period. Shots were 9-4 in Ottawa's favour and scoring chances were likely similarly on Ottawa's side.
The Rangers had a bit more possession in the second, but once again it was Ottawa that created the more dangerous scoring chances. First Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad had a pretty passing play that just couldn't connect. The two of them were flying down the ice, and set each other up for one timers that were well saved by Lundqvist. Erik Condra and Jim O'Brien also had a two-on-one down low on which Condra was brilliantly saved by Lundqvist and O'Brien couldn't score in the open net on the rebound. Late in the period, Hoffman drew a penalty rushing down the left wing, and on the ensuing power play, Andre Benoit's point shot got past Henrik Lundqvist, screened by Chris Neil.
Trailing by a goal, the Rangers would increase the pressure and midway through the third looked set to tie the game. Ben Bishop had fallen down but some how flung himself in the air to completely rob Ryan McDonagh of the tying goal. Shortly after that, Guillaume Latendresse took Mika Zibanejad's pass, delayed, waited out the defenceman and scored to make it a two goal game. Colin Greening added an empty net goal to complete the scoring.
It was truly a great performance and puts the Senators within three points of the Montreal Canadiens for the division lead. There can't be too many complaints about that game. This team is playing well already, and if and when the reinforcements come, the Senators could certainly do some damage in the playoffs.
Sens Hero: Mika Zibanejad
Zibanejad was the best player on the ice. He seems to have developed some great chemistry with Silfverberg already and the two of them were flying down the ice. Zibanejad had the primary assists on both of the first two goals and was tied for the team lead with three shots.
Sens Hero: Jakob Silfverberg
As mentioned above, Jacke was flying down the ice. He made some plays to make the Rangers look plain silly. While he had only one shot on net, he had three missed shots, two of which that just missed the net on passing plays in the goal crease.
Sens Hero: Guillaume Latendresse
See above. He was the third man in this dominant line and his goal eased the nerves. Latendresse has five goals in ten games since returning from injury.
Sens Hero: Ben Bishop
Bishop didn't face many dangerous chances in the first two periods, but he made the saves he was supposed to. Making all the saves you are supposed to is very good. In the third period, his save on McDonagh could have been a game saver. He is statistically the worst goaltender on this club and yet he is second in the NHL in save percentage behind Craig Anderson. Think about that.
- While I thought that the 73-93-33 line was the best line, Paul MacLean might not have agreed. Latendresse played 10:39, Zibanejad played 13:28 and Silfverberg played 16:56 thanks to penalty kill time.
- Chris Phillips led all Senators with 24:14 of ice time.
- Ottawa has allowed 68 goals, the same as Chicago but in two more games. They are currently on their way to winning the Jennings trophy.
- Jakob Silfverberg leads all rookies in shots on goal. Mika Zibanejad and Patrick Wiercioch are sixth in points by rookies.
- The Senators have a 5-1 record in games decided by three goals or more, the second best record in such games in the league.
- Ottawa has a record of 13-2-3 at home. After Saturday's game against Toronto, the Senators don't play at home until 16 April.
- The Senators swept the season series with the Rangers 3-0.