In the final leg of their West Coast Swing, the Senators needed a win in Anaheim to be able to call the four-game road trip anything close to a success. After big losses in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, and an unconvincing win in San Jose, either they were running out of gas a third of the way through Deathcember or they simply weren’t as good as their record suggested.
The Senators were rather comfortable in second place in the Atlantic Division - Boston and Tampa Bay had lost the night before, giving Ottawa an opportunity to create a gap - but still sat only two points clear of ninth.
After the Ducks scored an early goal, the Senators got a chance on the man advantage. Though their first unit was unsuccessful, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Dzingel teamed up for a beautiful play that ended with Dzingel hammering home a one-timer.
Dzingel had his seventh of the year and Ryan had his first point in five games.
The past couple weeks saw Ottawa pad their special teams stats and move up the rankings, but a horrific performance in Los Angeles had them struggling as of late. The power play seemed alright, but the penalty kill looked to be troublesome.
First it was Corey Perry who took advantage of a preoccupied Dion Phaneuf, jamming home a rebound while the Senators defenseman was busy with trying to jab Perry in the mid section. Then Antoine Vermette was the beneficiary of some poor coverage by Cody Ceci as the Senators allowed two cross ice passes, getting Condon to move completely out of position. Vermette would bank one in off Ceci’s foot and it was 3-1.
Condon made some fantastic saves in the first period, facing 13 shots, many of them high quality chances, but he was pulled in favour of Andrew Hammond to begin the second period.
The defensive blunders continued in the second frame.
Halfway through the period, Phaneuf got caught pinching, Hoffman got beat in the neutral zone, Vermette found a seam on a 3-on-1 and Nick Ritchie put the puck past Andrew Hammond’s blocker side for his seventh of the year.
The Ducks seemed to carry the play throughout the first forty minutes, outshooting the Senators 25-14 and really not allowing too many scoring chances. It definitely felt like a Sunday afternoon at the end of a road trip.
In the final frame, there were plenty of opportunities for the away team to get back in the game. The Ducks took three penalties, all which the Senators failed to capitalize on.
And when Ottawa couldn’t get back in the game, the Ducks put it away for good. After Chris Kelly took a high-sticking penalty, Sami Vatanen chipped a rebound over Hammond’s glove and it was 5-1.
And with that, the exhausting, deflating, taxing road trip was over.
Sens Hero: Ryan Dzingel
Dzingel had the Senators’ only goal, but his impact on this game was far larger than that. When it seemed like the team simply wasn’t up for it, Dzingel led rushes, drove the net and created scoring chances with his speed and skill.
Sens Zero: Dion Phaneuf
It’s usually not a good night when you’re on the ice for four of the five goals scored against your team. Phaneuf failed to do one of the things he’s best at: protect the net. The Senators were not at all successful defending their crease on the penalty kill, and Phaneuf was front and centre for three of them.
Sens Killers: Antoine Vermette and Corey Perry
While the pair of them combined for four points, Vermette and Perry both made multiple plays that helped seal the victory for the Ducks. In the end, Anaheim’s gamebreakers came out to play and Ottawa’s did not.