Ottawa should have won this game but didn't. Thanks for reading.
What, you want more?
OK, here's a short list of the major missed chances:
- Milan Michalek had a power play goal waved off because of a high stick. Whether it was truly a high stick or not is debatable, but there was not enough evidence to overrule the call on the ice, which was no goal.
- 0 for 5 on the power play.
- Peter Regin hit the crossbar of an open net.
- The Senators had 33 shots on goal. The Flames blocked almost as many. This is NOT an exaggeration.
A little more misery coming up.
Sens Heroes and Zeroes: None
This was a weird one. There wasn't a single player who played a bad game tonight, and yet the team has absolutely nothing to show for it. Goalie Brian Elliott really cannot be faulted with either goal -- the third coming into an empty net -- and even the power play looked very good -- except for the lack of goals. This was the quickest I've seen the team set up the PP in a long time, and they moved the puck very, very, well; they just couldn't bury any of their chances. Matt Cullen played a particularly strong game, and so did Milan Michalek. Michalek seems to play his best games on the west coast, as he repeatedly managed to turn on the jets tonight. He hasn't done that in a while, so it was nice to see him find another gear again. Jason Spezza, as well, deserves mention for playing an intelligent, inspired game. Spezza really tried to make something happen, but could not.
Black and Blue: Nick Foligno was sorely missed in this physical game. The Flames were dishing out hits left and right, and the Senators were checking as tightly as they have all year. Space and passing lanes were at a premium in this game and players were skating to the bench shaking some body part in pain with regularity. The Flames had more players give up their bodies to secure the win, and that was really the difference.
Sens Killers: Miikka Kiprusoff, Ian White
The Senators started off the game flying, but Kiprusoff slowly crept into their heads. He was going to stop anything he saw tonight, and his team was blocking shots like they were Secret Service agents. The Senators responded by trying to set up deflection shots, and though they got several glorious chances, none went in -- save for the waved off goal.
Meanwhile, even though White didn't lead the Flames in ice time, he was exemplary of what it was going to take to win the game: gritty. All of the Flames played this way and it was like watching a wall of red get in front of the shots. It had to be frustrating for the Senators, especially watching former Leafs stymie them again: Jamal Mayers opened the scoring with a quick shot under the crossbar. It was the game winner.
There's not really more to say here. Ottawa missed too many chances to claim they deserved to win, but at least they had the effort to generate them. Calgary outworked Ottawa in the little areas, and the sum of all those little victories was a big victory. The shot chart and highlights tell the story here. Speaking of which....
Shot Chart of Misery:
Just look at that. Nothing even near the crease, and that's what was needed to win this game.
Next game is Saturday at Vancouver, and it should be a treat. All the remaining games can be considered must-wins if Ottawa expects to push for the Division title.