The Ottawa Senators wrapped up weekend back-to-back games by visiting Brooklyn to face the New York Islanders on Sunday night. Andrew Hammond got his first start in net since October, but that wouldn’t last long (more on that later). Coming off a much-needed win against New Jersey on Saturday night, the Sens hoped to continue their momentum in Sunday night’s game.
Overall, the first half of the opening period was rather uneventful. Dion Phaneuf took an interference penalty, but the Sens managed to kill it off without much trouble. The best scoring chance came just as Phaneuf was getting back on the ice, when Nikolai Kulemin almost snuck one past Hammond at the side of the net. Hammond was able to make the stop, leaving the game scoreless.
The first goal of the game came courtesy of Bobby Ryan’s elbow, after he tipped in a shot from Kyle Turris on a three-on-one break for Ottawa. Despite needing some ice for his arm, Ryan was probably happy to continue his scoring streak, picking up his third goal in as many games.
New York made things interesting with a few decent chances shortly after Ottawa’s first goal. Ryan Strome tested Andrew Hammond with a wrist shot from the hashmarks. Moments later, Erik Karlsson accidentally passed the puck directly to Alan Quine, who quickly fired it at Hammond. Shane Prince even had a great opportunity to score on his former team. Fortunately, Hammond was able to stand tall. But it all seemed to be going too well for the Ottawa goaltender.
After the puck trickled past him and through the crease, Hammond turned around to recover it. In doing this, he went down in obvious pain and would have trouble getting back up. He was forced to leave the game with what looked like a knee injury. Mike Condon stepped in to continue in net for Ottawa.
The Sens responded to the goalie change in the right way. Zack Smith scored his second goal of the weekend, by tipping in a shot from the point by Mark Stone. Karlsson bobbled the puck at the blue line, but managed to slide it to Stone, who fired a shot towards the net. Smith was there to redirect it past Jean-Francois Berube. The first period would end at 2-0 for Ottawa.
Of course, the 2-0 lead would prove to be dangerous for the Sens. Less than one minute into the second period, Anders Lee scored his 10th goal of the season, putting the Islanders on the board. Josh Bailey intercepted a pass from Dion Phaneuf, and sent the puck to Lee, who easily beat Condon.
Shortly after his team’s first goal, Cal Clutterbuck took an interference penalty, giving the Sens their first power play of the game. It wasn’t until after he left the box that things got interesting. As Clutterbuck’s penalty expired, he found himself on a two-on-one break with John Tavares (which is pretty much the dream for any hockey player). Despite an open net, and a few juicy rebounds, Mike Condon and the Sens managed to keep the puck out of the net.
New York would tie things up with just under five minutes remaining in the period. Travis Hamonic sprung Anthony Beauvillier on a break away, who beat Condon. It seems the 2-0 lead really was as dangerous as it looked.
Have no fear, Sens fans. Mark Stone is here. A mere minute later, Stone picked up the puck on a rebound, and beat Berube to give Ottawa the lead again. Berube gave up a nice rebound off a point shot from Erik Karlsson, and Stone made no mistake with that opportunity.
In the final minute of the second period, Ryan Dzingel was called for tripping Calvin de Haan. He would finish the period in the box, with his team on the penalty kill. They managed to escape the second still up 3-2.
After killing off the Dzingel penalty, the Sens found themselves on the wrong end of a great scoring chance from John Tavares. Breaking through the Ottawa defence, Tavares let a wrist shot go, which appeared to hit the crossbar. However, the referee called it a good goal. It was reviewed, and determined to not have crossed the goal line. Close call for Ottawa.
A few minutes later, Derick Brassard scored his 6th goal of the season. Mark Stone sent a shot towards the net, after it missed, Brassard picked up the puck behind the net and easily back-handed it past Berube. Smith and Stone grabbed assists on the goal, further proving the effectiveness of their line so far.
When Curtis Lazar took a tripping penalty in the final five minutes of the game, it looked like the Islanders might have a chance to make a last-minute push to tie the game. However, things didn’t go as planned. New York pulled Berube with over three minutes remaining, and Zack Smith was able to bury the empty-net goal from Ottawa’s blue line. Just like that, Ottawa was up 5-2 late in the game.
Tom Pyatt would take a hooking penalty shortly after Smith’s goal. Despite a number of quality scoring chances from the Islanders on the power play, they were unable to dig themselves out of this fairly steep hole. Pyatt would even get Ottawa’s second empty-net goal of the night as he left the penalty box, making the final score 6-2 for Ottawa.
Sens Hero: Smith / Brassard / Stone line
They were responsible for four of Ottawa’s goals, and combined for a total of seven points tonight. Zack Smith now has three goals in the last two games, and Mark Stone has registered six points in the last three. Needless to say, this line has found some chemistry.
Honourable Mention: Mike Condon
It wasn’t exactly an offensive frenzy from the Islanders, but Condon came into this game unexpectedly, and played pretty well. He stopped 22 of 24 shots, and kept Ottawa in the game during some wild scoring chances for New York.