Just like that, Ottawa’s “lost opportunity” to overtake the Canadiens in the Atlantic Division is now back in play. With a 2-1 shootout victory over the red-hot Penguins, the Senators now sit one point behind the Habs with a game in hand a re-rematch on Saturday.
The first period didn’t feature any scoring, but it wasn’t for lack of trying by the teams. Both Mike Condon and Matt Murray were strong, holding their respective teams in a game that could easily hold playoff seeding implications for either team.
The second period saw Nick Bonino score a powerplay goal. It was a beautiful rifle from the high slot, one that had about an inch of space to beat Condon and found it. In a tight-checking, low-chance game, I was worried when the period ended 1-0 for the Pens. I was worried they’d find a wind to grind the game to a close in the third period.
I was wrong though, thankfully. Ottawa would get a powerplay goal of their own in the third. Mike Hoffman would tee up a wrist shot from basically the same point Bonino scored his goal, finding a little whole somewhere and beating Murray. That gave Hoff his 13th PP goal of the year, which is remarkable considering the Sens only have 41 all year. It makes you wonder why he couldn’t even cut powerplay unit 2 when Dave Cameron was behind the bench.
That would do it for scoring in regulation though, sending the teams to an OT period that Pittsburgh seemed to get the better run of play in. However, Condon was at his acrobatic best, and the teams headed to a shootout. Bobby Ryan and Kyle Turris would score for Ottawa, while Bonino and Sidney Crosby didn’t, giving Ottawa a hard-fought, well-earned two points.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows though, as Marc Methot took a slash from noted cheap-shot artist Sidney Crosby and left the game with a finger injury. It was later announced he will likely be out for weeks. Not ideal for a team that already was suffering from a less-than-ideal defensive crew.
Sens Hero: Mike Condon
Allowing one goal on 35 shots against a team with as much firepower as the Penguins is impressive. Odds are good he’ll only see one more game down the stretch (one remaining back-to-back), but it’s great to know the team isn’t stuck when the backup has to play.
Honourable Mention: Mike Hoffman
That goal was a thing of beauty. It’s too bad it’s probably going to be the worst full-season goal total of his career.
Honourable Mention: Bobby Ryan
He may not have hit the 25-point mark on the season yet, but he’s still pretty good in the shootout. He had the run of possession while on the ice tonight, and finished with three shots and five hits, showing he was somewhat dialed in for this game. Overall, I was more than OK with how he played tonight.
Sens Killer: Sidney Crosby
It was far from his best display on the ice, but he literally put a Sens player out for weeks. That’s more literal than how we usually use this space. After the groin jab earlier this week, it’s starting to look like Crosby has decided he misses the Pens having a Matt Cooke in the lineup.