Just one day after defeating the New York Islanders in overtime, the Ottawa Senators kicked off a four-game road trip against the New York Rangers. Although he was questionable for tonight's game, Kyle Turris stayed in the line-up after suffering what looked like a serious injury the night before. Thankfully, it doesn't appear to be so. Craig Anderson started in net for Ottawa, while Henrik Lundqvist remained between the pipes for New York.
The first period may have gotten off to a slow start, but it would certainly make up for that in the second half. Anderson was put to the test a few times in the first five minutes, with the Rangers getting some decent shots on net, but it wasn't anything he couldn't handle.
Mika Zibanejad went to the penalty box for interference on Dan Boyle at about the seven-minute mark. The Rangers wasted very little time on the power play, with Ryan McDonagh netting a slap shot that beat Anderson thanks to an impressive screen in front of the net. Keith Yandle and Chris Kreider picked up assists on the play, and the Rangers were up 1-0.
Five minutes later, Tanner Glass hit Marc Methot into the boards from behind, of which Erik Karlsson was no fan. Karlsson took matters into his own hands, roughing up Glass and giving him a piece of his mind. It looks like the teams exchanged pleasantries from the bench, as Mike Hoffman was awarded an "abusive language" penalty. Leading most of us to wonder what exactly he said!
You can see the Glass hit on Methot here:
The Sens' penalty kill would continue to struggle, as Derick Brassard scored the second power-play goal of the game for the Rangers, by tipping in McDonagh's shot from the point. Once again, the Sens were beat on the penalty kill by a shot from the point with traffic in front of the net.
This was followed by a scary couple of seconds for Sens fans when Jared Cowen fanned on a pass out of his own zone, which led to a series of scoring chances for the Rangers. From a wrap around attempt, to a rebound shot, to a sprawling save from Anderson, it was a miracle that the Sens got out of that without allowing another goal. They would survive and finish off the first period only down by two.
Needless to say, the Sens had to bounce back with a strong second period. And they did just that. Two minutes in, Bobby Ryan had a great scoring chance at the side of the net, almost chipping it past a sprawling Lundqvist. While he didn't score, he did draw a penalty seconds later when J.T. Miller took him down behind the net.
Ottawa did a great job at moving the puck around the offensive zone on the power play. Lundqvist made a huge save on Mark Stone, but other than that, we didn't see a lot of shots from the Sens on the man advantage. The Rangers kept Ottawa to the outside, limiting the number of shots that actually hit the net. Even after the penalty ended, the Sens managed to maintain momentum and keep the puck in the Rangers' zone consistently during the first half of the period.
This would pay off, as Marc Methot put Ottawa on the board with a slap shot from the point. It looked like Chris Neil tipped it past Lundvist in front of the net, but it turned out to be a Ranger stick that redirected the shot. Methot received credit for the goal, cutting the Rangers' lead in half.
In the final five minutes of the second period, Chris Kreider was called for interference when he took down Jean-Gabriel Pageau at the blue line. Once again, the Sens' power play managed to control and move the puck very well, but was unable to get many shots through traffic and on net. As Kreider left the box, he picked up a pass and headed straight for Anderson. Luckily for the Sens, he missed the net.
Just minutes later, David Dziurzynski let a great shot go from the hashmarks. But Lundqvist showed us why he is the King, flashing the leather and making a highlight-reel save to maintain the lead for his team. The Rangers were still up 2-1 heading into the third period.
As the third period began, the Sens kept momentum in their favour, maintaining possession of the puck and forcing the Rangers to stay in their zone during the first few minutes. Both teams exchanged scoring chances though. Anderson was forced to make a big save from Oscar Lindberg at the five-minute mark. Shortly after, Viktor Stalberg broke into Ottawa's zone but was stopped by a huge hit from captain Erik Karlsson.
About halfway through the period, Derick Brassard scored his second goal of the night. His slap shot on a partial breakaway beat Anderson and put the Rangers up 3-1. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi both recorded assists on the goal, giving McDonagh his third point of the game.
After that, things fell a little flat for the Sens. They certainly managed to spend a lot of time in the offensive zone, and moved the puck fairly well. But the Rangers were even better at blocking any shots that the Sens were able to get away. And of course, Lundqvist stopped the shots that did get through. The Rangers blocked twice as many shots as the Sens throughout the game, showing that they are still one of the best teams in the league at it.
Holding onto hope, the Senators pulled Anderson with over two minutes left in the game. They would fall short however, as Jesper Fast buried the empty-net goal, bringing the lead to what would be the final score of the game: 4-1.
Sens Killer: Derick Brassard
The Ottawa-area native had a great night for the Rangers, scoring two goals, one on a slap shot and one on a tip in front of the net. His goals were timely as well. Both of them put the Rangers up by two, taking away whatever momentum the Sens may have gained towards a comeback.
Sens Killer: Ryan McDonagh
Like his teammate, McDonagh had a multi-point night. He scored a goal and two assists against the Sens, logging more than 20 minutes of ice time. He opened the scoring for the Rangers and was involved in every New York goal, except the one on the empty net. He deserves full credit for a great game.
Honourable Mention: Craig Anderson
Despite allowing three goals in the game, Anderson was solid in net for the Sens. He faced 30 shots, and managed to stop 27 of them. Many of these saves came with a lot of traffic in front of his net. He was able to make plenty of timely saves that kept his team in the game, despite the score.
Honourable Mention: Erik Karlsson
Not only did he deliver a huge open-ice hit on Viktor Stalberg in the third period, but Karlsson also played more than 30 minutes (33:15 to be exact) in a back-to-back game, after playing 32:41 the night before. That is deserving of an honourable mention, no matter the outcome of the game.
Game Flow from Natural Stat Trick: