On Gordie Howe's 87th birthday, the Senators faced the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Both Mike Babcock and Dave Cameron have simmering goalie debates on their hands and both turned to their less experienced tenders, Petr Mrazek and Andrew Hammond respectively, for tonight's game. Both goalies were coming off rough outings but Mrazek was tested early and often. It was a terrific first period for the Senators, as they dominated play and the team's speed was on display. Mark Stone was particularly noticeable, with four great scoring chances in the first frame. Unfortunately for the Sens, Mrazek was up to the challenge and held his team in the game. The most significant moment in the frame was an early injury to Detroit's Drew Miller. He was caught in the face by Mark Stone's skate after the Senator was tripped up after a faceoff. Miller rushed off clutching his face. Fortunately, he did not suffer an eye injury but did have deep facial lacerations. Shots 13-5 in favour of the Senators.
Ottawa started the second with more of the same pressure. Early in the frame, a Kyle Turris drop pass at the Wings blueline fell to the centre circle. Unfortunately, the Sens were completing a partial change and there were no Senators in sight. Justin Abdelkader picked up the loose puck and fed Gustav Nyquist with a pass. Nyquist snapped a perfectly placed puck by Hammond to give the Wings the 1-0 lead. Lots of penalties in the second and despite constant Sens pressure, Mrazek couldn't be beat. Shots 12-4 in favour of the Senators in the second period.
Detroit looked a little better in the third period, but Ottawa still had the better of the play. Things looked bleak until a late period offensive zone set play for the Sens. Turris won the draw and Stone picked up the loose puck, passing it back to Erik Karlsson. Karlsson made slick pass to Clarke MacArthur in the middle of the ice. MacArthur's slap shot beat Mrazek, who was screened by Stone. The third period finished tied at one, shots 8-7 in favour of the Sens.
OT was a bit slower than regulation, but the Sens still had the best chances to score. Bobby Ryan figured in on both of Ottawa's scoring chances, first with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and the second with Karlsson. Unfortunately, both were broken up by Danny DeKeyser. It went to a shootout and both of Detroit's first two shooters scored but couldn't find the back of the net after that. Mika Zibanejad and Kyle Turris matched the Wings shooters and Mark Stone won it for the Senators with an excellent move to finally beat Mrazek after so many chances during regulation. This was one of the Senators best games of the season, but a sense of dread built throughout the game and Mrazek denied Ottawa at every opportunity. Fortunately the Sens found a way and second vital points to keep the team's playoff chances alive. Sens win 2-1, shots 34-17 in favour of Ottawa.
Sens Hero: Mark Stone
Wow. Stone could have had two hat tricks tonight if not for the strong play of Mrazek. Stone played almost 23 minutes tonight with 7 shots on goal and had half a dozen good scoring chances. He assisted on the tying goal and sealed the victory with the overtime winner. A statement game for the young winger, if there was anyone around the league who wasn't aware of how good he was before tonight, it's safe to say they know now.
Honourable Mention: Erik Karlsson
Another strong game for the captain. He got an assist with a nice pass on the MacArthur goal, had 5 shots on the night, and played over 32 minutes.
Honourable Mention: Clarke MacArthur
I'm still worried he hasn't fully recovered from his concussion but MacArthur's late goal saved the game for the Senators. Looked good on a line with Kyle Turris and Mark Stone, and Mac added 4 shots tonight.
Sens Killer: Petr Mrazek
Wow. Terrific game from Mrazek. Almost singlehandedly polished off Ottawa's playoff chances. He stopped 33 Sens shots tonight, good for a 97.1% SV%. Good luck moving Jimmy Howard's contract in the off-season.
Sens Killer: Gustav Nyquist
This guy again. After scoring a possession-defying, 30 seconds with the puck, OT game winner against the Sens earlier in the season (thanks for the replay, TSN), Gustav scored the Wings only goal in regulation and also scored in the shootout.
Shot chart via ESPN:
Game Flow via Natural Stat Trick: