Blood in the Water: Sharks beat Senators 5-2
A pun about sharks is the best this game got.
Let's cut to the chase: this was an awful game for Ottawa. Within 6:35 of puck drop, the San Jose Sharks were up 2-0. They would never relinquish the lead. Erik Karlsson managed to make it 2-1 with a laser of a one-timer, only to chase down Logan Couture and Tommy Wingels on a Senators power play before the Sharks' duo made it 3-1 with a shorthanded goal.
Surprisingly, Craig Anderson was not pulled after the first period. In fact, he made saves on every shot in the second. Only Marc Methot's point shot ended up in the back of a net. Z. Smith accidentally hit visorless Chris Neil in the face with his stick, causing Neil to fall down bleeding (no whistle on the play, because referees rightly never believe that Chris Neil - who came back with stitches - is ever seriously hurt). At this point Neil inexplicably had more ice time than Jason Spezza, Kyle Turris, and Bobby Ryan.
The third period is when the wheels fell off completely. James Sheppard scored only his second goal in four years, followed by Joe Pavelski deflecting a puck off his skate six-and-a-half minutes later. With the game out of reach, the Senators really did nothing else besides watch the clock tick down.
The Good: Discipline
Only three minor penalties! For a normal team this wouldn't be a cause for celebration, but for Ottawa it's an improvement on the season average of 5.5 minors per game.
The Bad: The power play
No goals for on three chances while allowing one against.
The Ugly: Defence
A recurring theme this season. Poor defensive coverage by overwhelmed players leads to bad goals against.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
A goal, an assist, and 29:29 of ice time. By far his best game of the season. The goal he scored came on his best shift of the season, breaking into the zone one-on-four, spinning around opponents, and setting up passes before firing one into the net. Oh, and 9 shots on goal. Not bad. He looked like the old Erik Karlsson today.
Sens Zero: Paul MacLean
What has Mika Zibanejad done to be paired with Chris Neil and Z. Smith? Why did Chris Neil get so much ice time? Why is Z. Smith getting so much power play time? Why was Robin Lehner not unleashed after that first period? He's excused for any defensive pairing mishaps, because he's not given much to work with on the blueline.
Sens Zero: Bryan Murray
Please give Paul MacLean something to work with on the blueline.
Sens Zero: Craig Anderson
To say Anderson hasn't looked right this season is an understatement. He's been weak early in far too many games. It might be time to give Lehner a couple of games in a row here soon.
Honourable Mention: Mika Zibanejad
Dishonourable Mentions: Jared Cowen, Chris Neil, Erik Condra, Uh Oh Corvo
Lowlights: Forthcoming. Maybe.
Closing Thoughts: Who knew Andre Benoit was the secret to success?