Coming off a goalie-driven win against New Jersey, the Senators hosted the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. Not only did this mark the return to Dany Heatley, but it was also Ilya Bryzgalov's first start in net as a Duck. Craig Anderson got the start for Ottawa, which gave Sens fans some comfort while facing the league's top team.
It didn't take long for the Sens to get themselves on the board. Just 30 seconds into the first period, Ben Lovejoy took a hooking penalty, sending Ottawa to the power play. In the final seconds of the man advantage, Erik Karlsson sent a slap pass to Milan Michalek, who redirected it past Bryzgalov. The Sens were up 1-0.
Although this was probably the least hyped Heatley return to Ottawa, in true Senator fan form, the crowd made their feelings known every time he touched the puck. (For those wondering, these were not warm, fuzzy feelings.)
The Sens would add to their lead, as Mark Stone netted a rebound off a shot from Mark Borowiecki at just over eight minutes into the first period. Even more surprising than the score at this point, was the fact that Anaheim did not completely outplay Ottawa. Anderson had to make a pretty good save off a shot from Ryan Kesler at the half-way point of the period. That would be the best scoring chance Anaheim would see in the first, despite leading in shots 12-7.
Anaheim began the second period on the power play, after Colin Greening took a hooking penalty at the end of the first. The Sens would kill off the penalty without much trouble. After that, they took hold of the play, and dominated the majority of the second period.
Milan Michalek certainly showed that he wants to regain his previous form. He generated a great scoring chance for Ottawa, digging in the corner, protecting the puck very well and almost feeding Greening in front of a wide-open net.
In a nerve-racking moment for Sens fans, Ryan Kesler found himself on a partial breakaway. Cody Ceci cut Kesler off in Ottawa's end, and Jared Cowen picked up the loose puck, taking away whatever chance Kesler had to score.
Ottawa would go on a brief power play at the 13-minute mark in the second period, after Mark Fistric took an interference penalty. It wouldn't last long, as Mika Zibanejad went off for interference shortly after, ending the power play.
The penalty kill would prove to be motivation for Ottawa, as Turris netted a highlight-reel goal while shorthanded. Taking a page from the book of Bobby Ryan, Turris took the puck from the neutral zone, undressed the Anaheim defenceman and let a rocket of a wrist shot go, beating Bryzgalov and making it 3-0 for the Sens.
Before this writer could tweet about the Turris goal, Mike Hoffman scored to make it 4-0 Sens. After an Anaheim turnover, Hoffman picked up the loose puck and found himself all alone in the slot. Bryzgalov didn't have much of a chance, and Hoffman put the puck in the back of the net with ease.
Ryan Getzlaf would take away some of the confidence that the Sens generated by scoring Anaheim's first goal of the game with under a minute remaining in the period.
Getzlaf wasn't finished there. Under two minutes into the third period, he scored again to make it 4-2. While the Sens still had the lead, fans (and the team) began to get a little tense.
Mike Hoffman would ease whatever tension Getzlaf's goals created, scoring his second goal of the game just over five minutes into the third. While Hoffman drove to the net, Ryan fed him the puck in the slot, and he slid it through the legs of Bryzgalov. Fans began to breathe a little easier after that, and they wouldn't look back.
With just over four minutes remaining in the game, Mika Zibanejad made it 6-2 for Ottawa by blasting a shot past Bryzgalov. Zibanejad took a saucer pass from Ryan in the neutral zone, stepped over the blue line, and let his shot go right away. That would be the final nail in the coffin for the Ducks.
The Sens topped the league-leading Ducks by a final score of 6-2.
Sens Hero: Mike Hoffman
He had two goals on the night, and now sits as the Sens' leading scorer, making Mike Hoffman one of the best players for the Sens tonight. This was his third two-goal night of the season, and he is now the first Senator to reach 10 goals this season. Mike Hoffman keeps giving fans more reasons to love him, and tonight was no different.
Sens Hero: Bobby Ryan
Facing his former team, Ryan certainly had a little extra motivation tonight, and it showed. He had two assists, and finished at a +3 on the night. Ryan continues to make the players around him better, as his line with Hoffman and Zibanejad was arguably the Sens' strongest line tonight.
Honourable Mention: Mika Zibanejad
Although his goal, the sixth of the game for the Sens, didn't make a huge difference on the momentum of this game, Zibanejad deserves a lot of credit for being part of the aforementioned killer line tonight. He also continued his hot streak with his ninth goal of the season.
Honourable Mention: Craig Anderson
While the Sens didn't rely on him as much as they did against New Jersey, Anderson still stopped 32 out of the 34 shots he faced tonight. He made a few key saves early in the game, including one off a shot from a wide-open Ryan Kesler, keeping the momentum in Ottawa's favour. He gave his team yet another chance to win tonight.
Sens (almost) Killer: Ryan Getzlaf
It's hard to believe there would be a Sens Killer in a game where they won 6-2, but Getzlaf's two goals in the middle of the game put the Sens on edge. Their 4-0 lead was quickly cut in half thanks to him. Getzlaf deserves credit for doing all he could to keep his team in it when most would have counted them out.
Game Flow courtesy of Natural Stat Trick: