For the biggest game of the year, it was a tough blow having Erik Karlsson sit this one out.
Although fans really wanted a win, I’m not sure many of us were that confident in getting one. However, the Senators have proven us wrong multiple times throughout the year, and they did that once again tonight.
With some key players out and playing a game on the road, you had to expect that the Bruins would get the first goal, which they did.
Mark Borowiecki got beat and took an ill-advised tripping penalty, which put Boston on the powerplay. Ottawa’s penalty kill has dropped all the way to 22nd this season, and it dropped even further after Drew Stafford scored on the man advantage.
After Ben Harpur failed to clear the puck, Stafford was able to wrap the puck around the net, and unsurprisingly, Craig Anderson could not get there in time. It looks like he stumbled getting across, but it seemed like a typical Anderson goal against.
Although Anderson could have been better on the goal against, the rest of the lineup played no better in the first period. Anderson actually made a few nice saves that kept the score 1-0 after 20 minutes, as Ottawa could not get anything going on offense besides a few shots from the outside.
Thankfully, the second period was better for the Senators.
They controlled a bit more of the play, with the shot attempts being 16-14 in the second, plus Alex Burrows was able to tie things up 7:37 into the period. For someone who had been struggling since his first few games as a Senator, it was nice to see him get a really timely goal on a wicked shot.
The rest of the period and most of the third period were quite uneventful, as the game was 1-1 heading into the final stretch.
Ottawa had a glorious chance to take the lead with about 12 minutes to go, as Zdeno Chara shot the puck over the glass in his own zone. They looked dangerous with plenty of good movement around the zone on the powerplay, but they only ended up with one shot and no goal.
Shortly after, Viktor Stalberg took an awkward hit from Adam McQuaid and had to head to the dressing room because of it. Thankfully, he returned later on, but it did not look good at first.
McQuaid buries Stalberg, who heads off the ice and down the tunnel. Put himself in a bad spot pic.twitter.com/hQP8b59mQ9— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 7, 2017
The rest of the game did not feature too many chances, and with the game being 1-1 going into overtime, Ottawa clinched a playoff spot regardless of the outcome in extra time.
In overtime, it was of course, stressful as it always is. Chris Wideman had a brilliant chance in the slot to end the game, but he couldn’t finish. Teams traded chances both ways, but there weren’t any breakaways, as they were able to defend quite well considering it was 3 on 3.
Then the shootout came...
Most people (including myself) were dreading this again, expecting a loss. However, Kyle Turris scored on Ottawa’s first shot, and that was all the help they needed. Anderson shut the door on all three Bruins shooters, and just like that, the Senators hopped back into 2nd place in the division.
That means with a win on Saturday against the Rangers, they will clinch home ice in the first round for the first time since 2007...Get excited!
Sens Hero: Alex Burrows
I didn’t notice him too much, but he scored a nice goal in regulation, and that propelled them to get the crucial two points.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
The only goal he allowed was frustrating, but he was lights-out besides that. If he’s going to give up one goal every game and it’s a stinker, I can obviously deal with that. Ottawa needs him to be at his best in the playoffs.
Honourable Mention: Dion Phaneuf
He had the third most time on ice tonight, and he looked better than usual with the puck tonight. He didn’t show up on the scoresheet, but I was surprised by his lack of poor plays. It was probably one of the better games I’ve seen from him.
ESPN Shot Chart:
Tune in Saturday at 12:30 to see if Ottawa can clinch 2nd place!