April 7, 2015
In their final home game of the 2014-2015 season, it was once again do or die for the Ottawa Senators. With just three contests remaining in the regular season, and two points out of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, every game is Game 7 for the Sens.
The magic was still in the air tonight, and this team is not done yet.
Andrew Hammond settled down after a rocky start, finishing the game in his usual magnificent fashion, and Mark Stone capped off the epic 4-3 comeback victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins with a goal that likely registered on the richter scale in Kanata. They’ll need to win their last two games, and get a little bit of help, but the Senators live to fight another day.
The Penguins came out hungry, trying to stave off the most epic standings collapse in franchise history, and knowing a win would punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Off the opening faceoff, Sidney Crosby took a feed from Patric Hornqvist, and uncorked a rocket of a slapshot that beat Hammond over his left shoulder, to make it 1-0 Pens just 10 seconds in.
GOAL GIF: Sid, you make us smile. pic.twitter.com/CZMXvHzQZE— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 7, 2015
Paul Martin made a great play to intercept Erik Karlsson’s pass, and start the Penguins’ rush.
The Penguins kept up the pressure, and would be reward about five minutes later. Mike Hoffman failed to clear the Ottawa zone, and Ian Cole fed Beau Bennett, who was all alone with a wide open cage to pot his first goal in 31 games.
GOAL GIF: Beau knows goals. pic.twitter.com/sxA9ndOsEe— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 7, 2015
Hammond sprawled to try and make the save, ending up colliding with Brandon Sutter. The Hamburglar was a tad shaken up on the play, but remained between the pipes, his team now down 2-0.
The Senators began to wake up from there, with a great Bobby Ryan chance, and a powerplay due to a Maxime Lapierre high-sticking penalty, but Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins stood tall.
After a back-and-forth stretch, highlighted by a great Hammond save on Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh would reap the benefits of another favourable bounce. A Crosby backhand shot was popped way up in the air by Hammond, and Hornqvist crashed the crease to jam the loose puck over the line, and make it 3-0 Penguins, just under 15 minutes into the contest.
Having to kill a late Patrick Wiercoch penalty, and the Canadian Tire Centre crowd going from playoff decibel levels to virtually silent, Ottawa hobbled into the first intermission down 3-0. Their playoff aspirations growing more distant with each tick of the clock.
They came out hot in the second period, but things still refused to go their way. Fleury robbed Karlsson with a larcenous glove save 30 seconds in, and off the next faceoff, Chris Kunitz took Wiercoch out at the knees, injuring him, with no penalty called for some reason. He was clearly in some distress, staying down on the ice, but would return.
Ottawa used an (unrelated) powerplay to generate some early momentum, but Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside all Ottawa opportunities, including two huge saves on Alex Chiasson around the five-minute mark, and another big glove save on Kyle Turris right after.
Despite the Penguins beginning to return fire, answering great Ottawa chances with a few good ones of their own, it would be the Senators that finally broke through. With Marc Methot in the box for what was, frankly, a brutal crosschecking call, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scooped up a Penguins turnover, and skated into the attacking zone. His attempt to centre Erik Condra in the slot bounced off the skate of Derrick Pouliot, and past Fleury. The crowd erupted, and it was a 3-1 game.
Some deft stickhandling by Pageau there, and a lucky bounce like that was exactly what the Senators needed.
Ottawa would kill off another penalty, this one to Bobby Ryan for tripping, and headed to the third still down by two, but in far better shape than they were 20 minutes prior.
They came out firing.
34 seconds in, Daniel Winnik turned the puck over to Clarke MacArthur, and he fed a wide-open Mark Stone in the slot. The rookie made no mistake, beating Fleury blocker side, and cutting the deficit to one.
While the Penguins managed to generate opportunities here and there, the third period decisively belonged to Ottawa. They dominated the flow of play, relentlessly pressing the attack, even outshooting Pittsburgh 11-1 before the midway point of the frame. MacArthur, Stone, Hoffman, and Mika Zibanejad all had great chances to tie the game, but couldn’t solve Fleury, and the score remained 3-2 in favour of the Pens.
A stoppage of play with 2:04 remaining allowed bench boss Dave Cameron to call his timeout, and with he and Clarke MacArthur directing traffic on the Ottawa bench, it was revealed that the Detroit Red Wings had just bested the Carolina Hurricanes, meaning an Ottawa loss would secure the Wings a playoff berth, and eliminate the Senators from contention.
It was all or nothing time. With a faceoff in the Pittsburgh zone, they pulled Andrew Hammond for the extra attacker, and pushed their chips to the centre of the table.
With 1:53 to go, they finally broke through. Kyle Turris won the faceoff to Zibanejad, who passed the puck to Mike Hoffman at the right point, and #68 let go a bullet of a wrist shot that tied the game, and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
With 28.6 seconds left, Ottawa’s good fortune continued. The Penguins took a sloppy too many men penalty, and sent the game to overtime with the Sens on the powerplay.
Pittsburgh managed to kill the penalty, thanks to some great saves by Fleury, and overtime continued with both teams at 4on4 full strength.
Late in the extra frame, Ian Cole made a slick stretch pass to Crosby streaking into the Ottawa zone, but Erik Karlsson made a spectacular defensive play, coming off the bench to knock the puck off of Crosby’s stick. Methot chipped it off the boards to Turris, sending him, Karlsson, and Mark Stone away on a 3on2 opportunity.
Turris dropped it to Karlsson, and Stone corralled the captain’s no-look pass off of his left skate, and rifled the gamewinner over Fleury’s shoulder, saving the season, and blowing the roof off of the Canadian Tire Centre.
TSN’s Ray Ferraro shouted “This is unbelievable”, and while I understand the sentiment, I think this is perfectly believable for Sens fans. This team has been unstoppable of late, and almost feels as if they’re destined to pull this thing off.
With two games to go, on the road in New York to face the Rangers, and in Philadelphia to close the season against the Flyers, Ottawa needs two more wins and a little bit of luck to get to the playoffs.
- Marc Methot quietly had a phenomenal evening. He played a tight, physical game against Crosby and his line, not allowing them to generate much outside of the first period, and keeping them on their heels all game. He ended the night with eight hits, and three blocked shots, in 23:18mins of icetime.
- Kyle Turris was only credited with one assist on the night, though it should have been two, but he was stellar. His 54.3% Corsi rating was among the highest on the team, and he won several key faceoffs to retain Ottawa’s momentum in the third.
- Mark Stone is just unbelievable. He nearly singlehandedly willed Ottawa back into the game in the third period, generating all kinds of chances, and making huge defensive plays to regain possession. He may not win the Calder Trophy, but Stone is showing the makings of a top two-way forward.
- Though Andrew Hammond’s first period was shaky, he came up huge after allowing the third Penguins goal. The Hamburglar’s lights-out performance through the last 42:27mins allowed the Senators to take the wheel offensively, and unleash an all-out assault on Marc-Andre Fleury. Another clutch game in a storybook season, for the goalie that came out of nowhere.
- Erik Karlsson was Erik Karlsson. An assist on the game-winning goal, multiple defensive stops, and a 60.8% Corsi rating made for yet another dominant performance in a Norris-worthy season. The Senators’ captain is truly something special.
It was an utterly dominant second half that propelled the Sens to victory. Just an insane job of weathering the storm, and hanging tough.
Go to the net, good things happen.
Up Next: The Senators visit Madison Square Garden to take on the Rangers, and try to keep their season alive on Thursday night.
Now, you guys pick the next Sens Re-watch! What game would you like us to revisit? We’re currently limited to ones we can find on YouTube, as full games are few and far between, so if you find any others you’d like us to do in the future, send them our way!
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2007 SCF vs Anaheim, Game 3
2012 ECQF vs Rangers, Game 4
2004 vs Flyers (Brawl Game)
2010 vs Penguins, Game 5 (Carkner)