The L.A. Kings controlled most of the play in this game, but they fell into a bit of a shell in the third period and the Ottawa Senators made them pay, eventually scoring the winning goal with just 6.5 seconds left on the clock.
Tonight’s game featured the semi-annual battle between Flashy European Erik Karlsson and Greatest Defenceman Alive [Cherry, LeBrun, Poulin et al. (2016)] Drew Doughty. This game didn’t quite have the hype of last year, likely because Karlsson/Doughty became the dominant storyline down the stretch, while this year we haven’t even played a month of hockey yet.
The opening period I think was quintessential Kings hockey. I felt like Ottawa didn’t play badly, but the final shot tally was 14-8 for L.A. They aren’t flashy, but they wear down teams by just being consistently better. Luckily for Ottawa, Craig Anderson was up to the task, and the teams left the period tied 0-0.
The second period saw the Kings take the lead, off an impressive backhander from Jeff Carter that Anderson couldn’t quite see as it tipped off Dwight King in front. The velocity on that shot was pretty impressive for a backhander. The Kings would follow it up with a powerplay, but some great work by Anderson kept them in the game.
Ottawa would get a glorious set of chances when the Kings took a too many men penalty while already killing a penalty, giving the Senators 22 seconds of 5-on-3. For what felt like the 100th time this season (but was probably more like the fourth), the Sens couldn’t get a goal in the 5-on-3. Or on the powerplay at all. The Sens’ awful powerplay dropped to 10% on the season after this game.
The third period started weirdly, with Peter Budaj suddenly in net. It appeared that after shutting out the Sens through two periods in his first start in nearly a month, Jeff Zatkoff was injured (again). Things went from bad to worse for the Kings with Anze Kopitar leaving the bench momentarily, and then leaving for the rest of the game after just one more shift.
Budaj picked up where Zatkoff left off, stopping everything the Sens threw his way until there were just four minutes left in the game. Zack Smith took a shot that Budaj struggled with, and then batted his own rebound out of the air into the net. The Kings would challenge for goaltender interference because Mark Stone had got the better of Jake Muzzin in front and the latter fell at Budaj’s feet, but the goal stood.
Then the unthinkable happened. As time ran out and overtime loomed, Erik Karlsson faked a shot from the point before firing one at the net that fell through Budaj’s five-hole, and Mark Stone snuck in behind and put it into the net. The Sens clinched the victory with just 6.5 seconds left.
Sens Hero: Mark Stone
Stone was looking dangerous as the game went on, and he finally got his goal (and his patented zealous celebration) at almost the literal final second.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
If the Sens are only going to score one goal per game from here on out, they’re going to need him at his best.
Sens Zero: TSN
Whose idea was it to name Mark Borowiecki the third star for “three hits and a block”? Smith and Pageau had three hits. Karlsson had four blocks. Phaneuf was looking in the offensive zone, Ceci could’ve had three goals, Hoffman got a number of great looks off... anyway, this one really felt like someone was looking for a reason to give Boro a call-out. He wasn’t bad in this game, don’t get me wrong, just not the kind of player you highlight.