After Deathcember got off to a rather nutty start in Pittsburgh, the Senators travelled Southwest to California to begin another road trip through Death Valley.
If you think you sense a theme here, you’re right.
While we still had to wait a few hours to find out who the three stars of the game would be, Senators fans along the East Coast who planned to watch the full 60-plus minutes had already be awarded hardest worker.
And those fans that decided to stay up were rewarded in the first period.
The Senators power play - which was 18th in the league and rising during its current hot streak - was successful for the fourth time in six attempts since Monday night. Off a bit of a broken play, Erik Karlsson’s shot from the point was blocked, Mike Hoffman picked up the loose puck and fired it but that too was blocked, then Mark Stone found it in the slot and chipped a backhander over the blocker of Sharks netminder Martin Jones.
With the assist, Karlsson tied Wade Redden for the No. 1 spot on the Senators’ franchise list of points by a defenseman.
Just three minutes later, the captain was the recipient of a poor clear at the blue line when he walked into open space at the point and launched a wrist shot into the top right corner.
With the goal, Karlsson passed Redden.
It's official. At age 26, Erik Karlsson is the Senators' franchise leader in points by a defenseman with 411. He is truly remarkable.— Callum Fraser (@CallumFraser18) December 8, 2016
Mike Condon faced nine shots and was forced to make several quality stops on high percentage scoring chances.
Eight minutes into the second frame, after Karlsson got his hand stuck under Joe Thornton’s armpit, Logan Couture received a pass in the slot and wired a wrister past the outstretched glove of Condon as the power play was ending.
During the second period, momentum completely shifted in the Sharks’ favour. Shots after two were 19-11 San Jose and continued to get worse for Ottawa in the final frame.
Condon was brilliant again in the third period. He also flashed the leather for the highlight of the night.
Mike Condon highway robbery! https://t.co/68YjSAb3uY— Callum Fraser (@CallumFraser18) December 8, 2016
Mere minutes after his outstanding save, Condon would let in a bit of a softy on a Brent Burns shot from distance with a partial screen in front of him. But that was it. That was his only mistake.
Then, when all hope was lost, and the Sharks were surely going to break through once more, Chris Kelly was sprung on a breakaway after the puck hopped over two Shark defenders’ sticks. With Marc-Edward Vlasic on his tail, Kelly flipped the puck just over Jones’ blocker and the Senators had the lead again.
In the final seconds, Jean-Gabriel Pageau threw the puck 100 feet in the air, only to have it roll into the empty net 150 feet down the ice. The Senators had pulled off the ultimate Houdini act. The shots ended 37-17 in favour of the home team.
Sens fans could go to bed happy.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
What a night for the captain. Not only did Karlsson record his seventh point in two games, but he made history. Redden will soon be a small, blurry dot in Karlsson’s rear view mirror as he continues to climb the franchise lists. Not to mention, all-time NHL lists.
Sens Hero: Mike Condon
Condon has been everything the Senators could’ve wanted when they picked him up from the Penguins and more. Now 4-1-1 in a Senators uniform, he is clearly the outright No. 2 goaltender in this organization, surpassing Andrew Hammond in a big way.
Honourable Mention: Chris Kelly
Though The Hockey Gods were definitely on his side tonight, Kelly stepped up when Ottawa desperately needed a goal. One of the biggest plays of the night.