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Senators Fall to Avalanche 5-2

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A recap of tonight's game between the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Midway through the first period, Colorado kicked off the scoring. A Mark Stone giveaway made its way to two former Flames: Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla. Iginla's shot got past Cody Ceci, Jared Cowen, and Craig Anderson. After the Sens lost a late draw in their own zone late in the period, a Brad Stuart slapshot from the point made its way to the back of Ottawa's net to give Colorado the two goal lead. Despite what the score suggests, it was actually a pretty strong period from the Senators and they controlled the puck for much of the frame. Shots after one: 11-7 in favour of the Senators.

The Senators got on the board early in the second period. Mark Stone reached double-figures in goals on the season on a pretty feed from Erik Karlsson. Unfortunately, less than a minute later, the Avs restored the two-goal lead. Patrick Wiercioch was unable to get to a sloppy Kyle Turris pass along the boards and Colorado recovered. The puck was passed back to Erik Johnson, whose shot from the point beat a heavily screened Craig Anderson. The Senators did something next that the team had yet to do so far this season: make a goalie change. It's hard to blame any of the goals on Andy and with just six saves on nine shots, he was hung out to dry a little by his team. With Robin Lehner between the pipes, Ottawa received two powerplays in a row. Despite the challenges both PP units have faced recently, the Sens continued to press with the man advantage and had a number of chances but were frequently denied by the excellent play of Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov. The play evened up somewhat in the second half of the period, with the home team getting some decent chances but the balance of the play in the second still belonged to the Sens. After two it was 3-1 for the Avs. Shots in the second, 14-10 in favour of Ottawa.

Ottawa started the third period on the penalty kill, but promptly gave up a second goal to Iginla in the first minute. Fortunately the three goal lead didn't last long. Less than a minute later, Bobby Ryan read an Erik Johnson breakout pass perfectly, picking it off and putting a backhand move past Varlamov. The Sens would strike again, this time in their own end, about a minute and a half later, when Lehner let in a bad goal blocker side to Danny Briere. That was about it for the action tonight. The score flatters Colorado and Ottawa probably deserved a better fate. The Sens still have some issues in their own zone but there were some positives. Ottawa outshot its opponent, firing 38 shots at Varlamov. What's more, they kept the Avs to under 30 shots on the night (21). It wasn't enough tonight and it might be too little too late, but this team is playing more stable hockey under Dave Cameron.

Honourable Mention: Erik Karlsson

Pretty nice game tonight from the captain. Another great night for the pairing of Wiercioch and Karlsson and they dominated possession. Karlsson had an assist on Stone's goal (that illustrated Karl's superior vision), four shots, and had a few great defensive plays, including tracking back and defending against Nate MacKinnon and winning the battle.

Honourable Mention: Mika Zibanejad

Zibanejad hasn't scored in a few weeks, but had a few excellent chances tonight and a solid possession game.

Dishonourable Mention: Craig Anderson/Robin Lehner

It was hard to fault Anderson on any of the goals he let in, but he had a 66.7 SV% on the night. Lehner made some nice stops in the second period after coming into the game cold but let in the first two shots of the third period which sealed Ottawa's fate and finished with an 83.3 SV%. Only the fifth goal was really bad, but this game is what happens when you don't get the saves Andy and Lehner have been making all season.

Sens Zero: Semyon Varlamov

The main reasons the Avs won this game was the strong play of Varlamov. He was peppered with shots and the Sens had numerous scoring chances, but he continued his hot play and kept Ottawa from really getting back in this game. A save percentage of 94.7 will do that.

Sens Killer: Jarome Iginla

It's still surprising to see Iginla in a Colorado jersey, but what really hurt was his goals.

Shot chart via ESPN:

shot chart jan 8 2015

Game Flow via Natural Stat Trick:

game flow jan 8 2015

Highlights via NHL.com: