This recap had a much more dour atmosphere to it until something magical happened, which we'll get to shortly even if it's been spoiled by the title. The most important thing is that the Ottawa Senators finally won, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1.
The first period started off, with Zack Smith ending up on a breakout that led to a goal only 3:20 in. Z. Smith slid the puck to the very corner of the net and past Ilya Bryzgalov. For a team whose confidence may have been wavering just a little, this was a much-needed boost, especially coming from the fourth line.
That joy was short-lived, however. While on their second power play of the game, Ottawa allowed the Flyers into their zone and then let Simon Gagne fire a puck to Claude Giroux in front of the net. Giroux tipped it in past Robin Lehner. It was the first shorthanded goal the Senators had allowed all season, and it put them -1 for 2 with the man advantage.
The only thing you need to know about the second period is that Ottawa had another power play and, unsurprisingly, didn't score on it.
An evenly-played third period broke open when Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux took a double-minor penalty for high-sticking Mika Zibanejad in the face. Catching everyone off guard, Patrick Wiercioch threw a pass to Colin Greening who slipped by Flyers defenders and ripped the puck past Bryzgalov. With the power play demon finally slain, Ottawa managed to hold onto the lead to the very end, finally culminating with a Daniel Alfredsson empty net goal to seal a 3-1 victory.
Five-game losing streak: over.
Sens Superhero: Colin Greening
Colin Greening is one fast firecracker. He's also often frustrating, because he's got some scoring touch and a body he doesn't always use to its potential. But tonight his inconsistencies don't matter, because Colin Greening scored a power play goal and broke the losing streak.
Sens Hero: Zack "Z. Smith" Smith
Opened the scoring early with a nifty little drag move and was a force all night. His line with Chris Neil and Matt Kassian played excellent hockey. Recently the Senators' fourth line has been a liability when early in the season it was a big strength. Thanks in no small part to Z. Smith, the Flyers were frustrated all night by that line.
Flyers Hero: Ilya Bryzgalov
Universe faced a lot of shots and really did all he could to give his team a chance to win. A bit weak on breakouts by Greening and Z. Smith were his downfall, but let's be honest: if Steve Mason were playing, this would be a 5-1 game instead.
Sens Hero: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Pageau didn't play much, but he used all of his 11:17 ice time to make an impression. Went hard to the net, showed some speed, threw a hit, and even got some penalty kill time. Paul MacLean saw fit to play him in defensive situations (four of his nine zone starts were in the Senators' zone), and more impressively in the final minute of a 2-1 game with the team desperate to snap a five-game losing streak. No big deal. I would expect Pageau to get an extra game or two after this. Oh, and he set up Daniel Alfredsson for the final empty net goal.
Sens Hero: Eric Gryba
It's no secret that Gryba had a rough start to his NHL career. Being thrust into 20+ minutes a night immediately and learning on the fly is not exactly easing in. Gryba was heavily criticized by fans for his weak performances early on but has come into his own recently. Tonight he was +2, but more impressively had a Corsi of +12, the complete opposite of what he was in his early days.
Sens Honourable Mentions: Robin Lehner (.960 save percentage), Erik Condra (+12 Corsi), Marc Methot (1 assist, +9 Corsi), Jakob Silfverberg (+10 Fenwick), Mika Zibanejad (bled for his team)
Shot Chart: None from ESPN, but there were three goals and that's important.