Editor's note: For tonight's recap, Rob Feature of Bonk's Mullet (ever heard of that site?) graciously agreed to write it. It's always good to lighten the mood when the Sens lose. Then the team had to go and wreck that by winning. Guess that's what I get for playing the role of typical blogger and being all negative. Anyway, hope you enjoy it!
On the day that "The Force Awakens" debuted in theaters, the Senators brought their own STARs to WAR.
What I'm trying to say is that, for this game, Dave Cameron actually dressed the players that are best at playing hockey. Ingenious, I know. That, coupled with the fact that San Jose had just played the night before, had me feeling like the Sens were poised to pick up two points, even though San Jose has played well on the road this year (posting a 12-5-1 record thus far).
The first period was relatively uneventful, but the pace was good, and each team had some chances. If the Sharks were tired, it wasn't yet showing. The most exciting sequence came around the six minute mark, when Craig Anderson was able to dive across his net just in time to make a big save on a wraparound. This made him 1-for-500, lifetime, on wraparound plays. Seconds later, Bobby Ryan sprung Mike Hoffman on a breakaway, but the latter fired the puck just wide. The Sharks finished the period with a 13-12 advantage on the shot clock, mostly due to the Senators taking two penalties in the final three and half minutes. One of these penalties carried over into the second period, but I wasn't concerned about that. I knew the Sens would come out rested and that they'd easily kill it off.
WELP. Joe Thornton scored the game's first goal just 29 seconds into the second period, with his team still on the power-play. It was a bummer. The Senators got their own power-play soon afterwards, but the best scoring chance belonged to San Jose's Matthew Nieto, who missed a wide open net. Things weren't looking great. I almost quit writing this recap. But then, at 4:46, Bobby Ryan walked in from the blue line, maneuvered around a defender, and slid the puck between Alex Stalock's pads. Did I mention Bobby Ryan has a broken finger?
The Sens had another two power-play chances before the period was even half over (including about 30 seconds of 5-on-3 time), but they failed to capitalize. They did, however, look really good. They kept the puck in the Shark's zone, kept it moving, and had several quality scoring chances. People complain about Zack Smith being on the power-play, but at this point, I'm just happy that Dave Cameron isn't throwing Mark Borowiecki out there. Anyway, San Jose spent a good chunk of the second period on their heels, and by the time it was over, the Senators ended up outshooting them 25-21.
The third period saw a return to the back-and-forth pace of the first. The Sharks fought valiantly to stave off the surging Senators but it was all in vain. At the 8:22 mark, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his 9th goal of the year on a strange play that saw Alex Stalock's mask break just before Dave Dziurzynski fired the puck through him. The puck came to rest on the goal line and Pageau was able to poke it home, despite a last ditch effort from a distracted Stalock. Then, at 13:06, Chris Wideman fired home a wrister through a screen to give his team a 3-1 advantage. But the Senators weren't done there. At 15:51, Erik Karlsson scored on a beautiful give-and-go play with Mike Hoffman. I can't describe it here. That would be doing it an injustice. I'm getting emotional just thinking about it. I need to change the subject.
Brent Burns added another goal for the Sharks as time ran out, but it was too little, too late. The Ottawa Senators won their 4th straight home game, and they did it by allowing their most skilled players to put their talents to use. Who would have thought?
Sens Hero: Shane Prince. He had some good shifts and picked up an assist on the Chris Wideman goal. But more importantly, he made me and my fellow Blog Boyz™ (and girls) seem real smart for insisting that the Sens would be better with him in the lineup.
Honorable Mention: Jared Cowen. Jared was used in the best possible way this game. If he had been used in any other capacity, the result might have been different.
Sens Zero: Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Why did he have to steal David Dziurzynski's goal? Just cruel.
Sens Killer: Brent Burns. He scored a meaningless goal late in the game, but I just picked him because he literally looks like a killer. Haunting.