With Marc Methot finally re-signed and Shane Prince making his NHL debut, it was an upbeat Senators team that took to the ice against the Carolina Hurricanes. The mood quickly changed when the Hurricanes opened the scoring early in the game. Andrej Nestrasil got a bad angle shot on Robin Lehner. Unfortunately, Lehner's trend of giving up a bad goal continued, as he didn't have his stick set, redirecting the puck into his own net. Ottawa started to pressure Carolina in the second half of the period. Milan Michalek continued his hot play with a breakaway attempt late in the period. Unfortunately, he was robbed by Cam Ward, who made a nice glove save on the play. The Sens equalized with a few minutes left in the period. The goal was generated by Prince: he gained the offensive zone, skated deep into the Carolina end and fed an open Erik Karlsson in the slot. Karlsson's shot was stopped but Erik Condra potted home the rebound, giving Prince his first NHL point. The period finished tied at one. Shots 12-9 in favour of Carolina.
Ottawa started the second period with the same type of pressure as the second half of the first period. Midway through the frame Ottawa got into some penalty trouble. First, Patrick Wiercioch took a hooking penalty. With almost a minute still left in the Wiercioch penalty, Jared Cowen was caught for high-sticking. Late on the 5-on-3, David Legwand lost his stick. With the Sens essentially down to two defenders, Jeff Skinner slid a rebound into the net, as Patrick Wiercioch stepped back onto the ice. Unlike the first Carolina goal, Lehner had no chance on this play. At the halfway mark, Ottawa scored a highlight-reel goal when Karlsson danced by two Hurricanes in the Carolina zone and slide a pass back to a trailing Mika Zibanejad. Zibanejad corralled the puck and fed Mike Hoffman in front of the net. Hoffman tipped the puck by Ward for his 20th goal of the season. The tie game lasted less than three minutes. A Nathan Gerbe slapshot from the point was deflected by Karlsson at the last second, beating Lehner. Ottawa answered back 30 seconds later, as Cody Ceci joined a rush, went hard to the net, and the centring pass deflected off him and in for his fifth goal of the season.
The period ended with a Carolina goal and Ottawa injuries. A defensive breakdown by Ottawa led to a Carolina 3-on-1. Wiercioch was unable to stop the pass across and Clarke MacArthur, in the process of tying up the trailer Jay McClement (who did tip the puck in for Carolina's fourth goal), crashed into Robin Lehner, with both players taking significant contact to their heads. Can't fault Lehner for the goal, but that wasn't anyone's primary concern on the play. As they were attended to on the ice, the refs decided to end the period early and send the teams to their respective dressing rooms. It was a great call that let both teams' trainers take time to work on the injuries. Both players skated off on their own power, but MacArthur looked much worse and needed assistance from teammates. The second ended with Carolina up 4-3, shots 19-9 for the Hurricanes in the period.
When the teams came back out, Andrew Hammond took over for the injured Lehner and MacArthur did not return. The third period started with the last 54 seconds of the second period. Two great chances for Mike Hoffman and then the teams changed ends. The third started with an early high-sticking penalty to Eric Gryba. Unfortunately for Ottawa, the Canes capitalized immediately on the PP, as Michal Jordan snapped home his first of the season into an open cage. Chris Terry would add another power play goal for Carolina. Carolina wins 6-3. Shots 36-32 in favour of Carolina.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
Once again, the Captain was amazing. On the day Methot signed it makes sense that a lot of the Karlsson talk centred on his partnership with Methot, but Karlsson's been going well for a few months now. Tonight was no exception. Sure he had a tough deflection passed his goalie, but he added two assists, made a brilliant play on Ottawa's second goal, and once again drove Ottawa's offense. Why wouldn't Methot leave money on the table to play with this guy for the foreseeable future?
Honourable Mention: Shane Prince
Prince had an impressive NHL debut. He had a few nice chances, was noticeable, and made a great play to set up Ottawa's first goal.
Sens Zero: penalties/penalty kill
You can debate the merit of some of the calls with good reason, but the Sens got burned by penalties tonight. It's hard to fault the PK on the not-quite-5-on-3 goal by Carolina, but the Sens gave up 3 goals when Carolina had the man advantage
Shot chart via ESPN:
Game Flow via Natural Stat Trick: