The Ottawa Senators came into this evening looking to snap their two game losing streak, both in which they were shutout. Tonight’s challenger, the Dallas Stars, have also been struggling recently coming into the game having lost their last three. With Dallas fighting for a playoff spot and many teams in the Atlantic starting to creep up on Ottawa, both teams really needed a win.
The effort on the ice, however, was a different story. In the first period, the play was sloppy at both ends, with turnovers and broken plays happening left and right.
Ottawa opened the scoring on the penalty kill, with Cody Ceci off for hooking. Dion Phaneuf took a shot from the point which floated right past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, who has continued to struggle for Dallas this season. Ottawa would take the 1-0 lead off their 5th shorthanded goal of the season.
Phaneuf would drop the gloves a few minutes later with Jamie Benn, making it quite the eventful one-year anniversary of being traded to Ottawa.
What happened soon after was... well... just watch.
After Zack Smith took a delayed penalty, Lehtonen rushed to the net to get Dallas the extra attacker. Jiri Hudler, who was playing in his 700th career game, attempted to pass the puck back to his goalie. Except the goalie was invisible (pulled), which I can’t really blame Hudler for considering Lehtonen’s .902 SV%.
The own goal was credited to Chris Kelly, who was the most recent player to score for the Sens coming into this game (also on an empty net).
I should mention that Kari Lehtonen wasn’t actually terrible this game. Although the Phaneuf goal was a soft one, he made many stops later in close that could’ve resulted in more goals for Ottawa.
The Senators ended the first period with only two shots on goal at 5v5. Yet, they found themselves up 2-0 on home ice.
Period two continued the same as period one, with both teams struggling to play a structured game. Ottawa opted to play a more physical style, finishing the game with 26 hits compared to Dallas’ 11.
Speaking of physical, the league leader in penalty minutes, Antoine Roussel, scored for Dallas to cut Ottawa’s lead in half. On a bit of a defensive breakdown, Roussel was waiting on the doorstep while a lost Erik Karlsson scurried to cover him. Dallas started to take over later in the period, leading to a Jamie Benn goal that drifted untouched through a dozen bodies and into the back of the net. Condon moved to anticipate a tip, although the puck had other plans, beaming right to the top shelf.
Like magic, the Senators’ two-goal lead vanished into thin air.
Period number three was a lot less jumbled than the previous two. Passes were being completed, teams were getting extended zone time, and the defense was a lot tighter. Mark Stone broke the tie six minutes into the third period, breaking the Sens’ 176 minutes and 41 seconds since the last time they scored a goal at 5v5 (the last one also happened to be scored by Stone). A Cody Ceci shot from the point hit the side of the net, which was quickly swooped up by Stone for the wraparound.
Dallas would put the jets on late in the game to try to force OT, including a two-man advantage in the dying seconds. However, Mike Condon and Ottawa’s defense stayed rock solid, holding on to take the victory by a final score of 3-2.
Sens Hero: Mark Stone
Stone continued to be the driver of Ottawa’s offense, making nifty plays and scoring the game-winning goal. He didn’t have any takeaways tonight, but was dangerous in all other aspects.
Honourable Mention: Mike Condon
Stopped 31 of 33 shots, looked solid after finally resting for a game. Definitely something this team has lacked in the last couple weeks.
Honourable Mention: Jiri Hudler
Jiri Hudler has scored more goals for the Ottawa Senators than Curtis Lazar this season.— The 6th Sens (@6thSens) February 10, 2017
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Sens Zero: Hoffman-Pageau-Pyatt
It’s never easy to be deployed against top competition, especially when it includes Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and John Klingberg. Ottawa’s trio was completely overwhelmed with the tough assignment tonight, finishing a negative-eight in shot attempt differential.