Coming off of an ugly road trip that saw the Senators take 2 of 8 points and allow 19 goals, Ottawa was looking to get back on track at home against the same team they played a week ago: the San Jose Sharks.
They had a much better effort at the Canadian Tire Centre tonight, although they ultimately came up just short.
As is the story most nights, Ottawa would allow the first goal of the game. Although they did not technically allow a goal on the penalty kill, there were four players in their zone when Joe Pavelski put the Sharks up one.
With Logan Couture getting a pass in front of the net, nobody knew Pavelski was wide open back-door, except for Couture who had the puck. Mike Condon had no chance on the play and there was no way Pavelski was going to miss from that close.
Just a few minutes later though, Ottawa was able to even things up. There has been a lot of talk about how much Bobby Ryan has been struggling this season, and the game against Anaheim on Sunday just made things worse because of people bringing up the Ryan/Silfverberg trade.
So naturally, it was good to see Ryan score a goal tonight off of a quick wrist shot after a great feed by Ryan Dzingel from behind the net. That goal was just Ryan’s 4th of the year.
San Jose took the lead again when Brent Burns made Ben Harpur look incredibly flat-footed. It was almost as if Harpur didn’t even try to turn and angle him off to the corner. Alas, Ottawa’s leading goal scorer Kyle Turris made sure that they wouldn’t go into the 2nd intermission down by one.
After Mike Hoffman kept the puck in the offensive zone and put it in the corner, Mark Stone made a brilliant pass across the slot to an open Turris, who fired it home to cap off an aesthetically pleasing play.
Then at the end of the period, things got a bit heated:
Pitchfork spear by Vlasic on Karlsson goes unseen by 4 officials but not by the cameras. End result....17 minutes instigating for Turris.— Dean Brown (@PxPOttawa) December 15, 2016
Vlasic’s spear on Karlsson get Turris riled up, which resulted in him getting 2 minutes for instigating, 5 for fighting, and a 10 minute misconduct. Vlasic received a 5 for fighting, but nothing else. Safe to say the team and the fans were not too pleased. This is the best replay I could find:
Best I could do on the Karlsson/Vlasic play. Doesn't look good for Vlasic. Back and to the left... Back... and to the left. pic.twitter.com/6Tie2ZOdV2— Callum Fraser (@CallumFraser18) December 15, 2016
After two periods, the score was tied but the Senators were actually playing quite well, with the shot attempts being equal, and they had some good looks on the power play.
The third period would only get more interesting, as the two teams traded one more goal each, the Sharks had a disallowed goal, and Hoffman received a 5-minute major (and a possible suspension) on a dirty play.
I’m worried that Hoffman will get supplemental discipline, because it does not look pretty:
Vicious cross-check from Mike Hoffman to the back of Logan Couture's head. Five-minute major. Brutal. pic.twitter.com/phwAuVNY7D— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 15, 2016
San Jose’s disallowed goal was just barely offside, so Ottawa caught on enormous break on the play. After that, the Senators actually had the lead with 3:46 to go thanks to a Dion Phaneuf power play goal. At that point, it looked like they’d be able to cruise to a regulation win.
However, Chris Tierney tied it with only 2:28 left, and sent the game to overtime.
Overtime did not produce a ton of chances like it normally can, but the final minute of play was nerve-racking after Ottawa took a too many men penalty. Fortunately, Condon made a few saves and they sent it to the shootout.
The first three shooters on both sides could not score, and that meant Guy Boucher went to his 4th shooter: Chris Neil. He made a move by banking the puck off his skate, and if it had worked, people would have been talking about it for a while. But it wasn’t quite done to perfection, and Neil missed.
That set up rookie Kevin Labanc for a chance to give San Jose the win, and that’s exactly what he did. The final score, San Jose 4, Ottawa 3 in a shootout.
Sens Almost Hero: Chris Neil
How perfect would it have been if he had scored the shootout winner? Tonight was his night, and fans would have been sent home happy. Having said that, sending him out as the 4th shooter was way too early, and I certainly wasn’t a fan of it. Of course if he had scored, I wouldn’t be able to complain, but it was a risky move nonetheless.
Even though he didn’t score, he is still a hero to thousands of people that came out to see him tonight anyway. Congrats on 1000 games, Neil.
Sens Honourable Mention: Mark Stone
I don’t like giving out “heroes” in a loss, so Stone gets an honourable mention. He racked up another two assists tonight, and he continues to play excellent. This past month or so he has been playing like the player we all know he can be, so at least there is that going for the Senators.
Sens Zero: Ben Harpur
Look, I know he’s not the first defenseman Ottawa wants to call up, but...He should not be in the NHL. I’d even rather have someone like Mike Kostka because at least he’s played some games at this level. Sure he’s big, but he absolutely cannot keep up, and the Sharks aren’t even known for their speed.
Sens Killer: Brent Burns
The man can flat-out play. He is dangerous every single time he has the puck, and he certainly reminds me of Erik Karlsson. It’s almost impossible to keep him off the scoresheet, and the Senators were unable to do so, as he recorded one goal, one assist, and six shots.
Next game is Saturday at home vs. New Jersey at 7:00.