Ah, the end of the season. Two non-playoff teams going head-to-head, with nothing on the line besides next year’s contract extensions. This matchup between the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers felt pure, in a weird way, to see two teams just trying to be better than the other with no real gain or loss no matter the decision. Ottawa proved to be the team on top, snatching the 4-1 win.
The Rangers’ discipline was on the weaker side throughout the game, and it showed early with Vladislav Namestnikov taking a quick penalty for interference. The Sens couldn’t make anything of that particular opportunity, but it helped in the end that New York took six minor penalties throughout the game’s 60 minutes.
Ottawa’s first goal was on their second power play of the opening period. With Chris Tierney holding the puck in the corner, he found Bobby Ryan who was left uncovered in front. His shot past Henrik Lundqvist found the back of the net, for a 1-0 Sens lead.
Ottawa also scored second, this time at the opposite strength. With Cody Ceci in the box for tripping, a broken play by the Rangers sent Zack Smith and Magnus Paajarvi on a shorthanded odd-man rush. The two exchanged passes — Smith to Paajarvi to Smith, to the back of the net. Smith’s slick deflection made the game 2-0.
Once again, Ottawa received some good power play luck, getting a full two minutes of 5-on-3 early in the second period after some Rangers tomfoolery. Brady Tkachuk took advantage, as he picked up a loose puck in front and found the gap in Lundqvist’s net coverage. The 3-0 goal was Tkachuk’s 22nd of the season, and also brought Colin White to 40 points.
With the Rangers’ final penalty about to expire, they started to fight back. Shortly after they went down by three, Lias Andersson got one back on a shorthanded breakaway. His nice move couldn’t be stopped by Anders Nilsson, for Andersson’s second goal of the season — both of which were against the Sens.
The penalties kept flowing — Wolanin was penalized for closing his hand over the puck, then the Rangers gave Ottawa two more power play opportunities in the third period. New York was playing better, and putting the pressure on Ottawa whenever the game was even strength.
That wouldn’t stop Ottawa from getting another one, with Brian Gibbons scoring again. How does he keep burying them for Ottawa? I have no idea, but this one was courtesy of a tic-tac-toe play with White.
The Rangers couldn’t close the gap, and the Sens played out the final five minutes. Some antics in the final minute resulted in three misconduct penalties being awarded — Andreas Englund for Ottawa, and Namestnikov and Tony DeAngelo for New York. Final score: 4-1 Sens.
- By my eye, Anthony Duclair kept standing out as one of the best players on the ice. I’m excited to see what he can do in a full season for this team, playing in a larger role that he didn’t receive elsewhere.
- Brady Tkachuk is such a pest and I love it.
- Englund was noticeable, and not in a good way with a handful of defensive giveaways. His season debut was rocky at best.
- As for Belleville, their crucial game against Cleveland didn’t go according to plan, as the Monsters leapfrogged them in the standings following a 1-0 loss. They have five games remaining.
The Sens travel to Buffalo, facing them tomorrow at 7:00 pm in the second half of a back-to-back.