Ottawa Senators Trounce Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1
Ottawa put in a performance for the ages, cruising to victory over their intra-provincial rivals.
This game started with the Ottawa Senators on a downward climb, and the Toronto Maple Leafs on a two-game "winning streak". You wouldn't have known any of this from how the game started. Not even 20 seconds in, a two-on-one with Marc Methot and Zack Smith (yes, those two guys) saw James Reimer bite too hard on shot, allowing Smith to pot it into a near-empty net. Just a couple minutes later, Jean-Gabriel Pageau got out of the penalty box, received a beautiful stretch pass from Erik Karlsson, and raced up two-on-one with Mika Zibanejad. Once again, Reimer bit hard on the shot, once again the pass was perfect, and once again the puck was put home over a sprawling goalie. Didn't take much longer for Bobby Ryan to score a soft one from the wall, and suddenly the Sens had chased a goalie before the game's first commercial break. Things didn't get any easier for Jonathan Bernier, as his first two saves were on a bouncing puck tipped by Smith, and then a play on which Hoffman had a pseudo-breakaway but instead passed it to a wide open Kyle Turris.
That would do it for most of the period. There was a scary moment late in the period in which Mark Stone tripped Joffrey Lupul (and got called for the trip) but then Lupul's skate came up and caught Stone right under the visor. He went straight down the tunnel, so Ottawa was short a man both on the bench and the ice to end the period. Thankfully for Sens fans, he returned even before the end of that PK. To make the game even worse for Leafs fans, news came out that Tyler Bozak would not be returning to the game after taking a headshot from Zibanejad.
The second period was a whole lot of nothing for a long time. Nazem Kadri took unpenalized charges, Karlsson and Frank Corrado took offsetting minors, and each team had its share of mediocre chances. Curtis Lazar got on the board, scoring off a Karlsson rebound which netted Ryan Dzingel his first NHL point. And that was the only real notable moment, with the Sens taking a 4-0 lead into the second intermission.
After what had been a boring couple periods, I was more than ready for a boring third. Was I ever surprised. 39 seconds in, Mark Stone caught Jake Gardiner being a little too casual on defence and snapped one home. Just after that, Curtis Lazar knocked in his own rebound to make it a six-goal lead. Dzingel nearly got his stick on it for his first NHL goal, but Lazar was greedy and instead put up the first multi-goal game of his career. Just after that, Daniel Winnik caught Chris Wideman expecting a dump-in, and instead raced in and passed it to P.A. Parenteau for a tap-in that elicited far too loud of a cheer from the crowd for such a lopsided game. In just a few minutes, a 4-0 game became a 6-1 game. And that would do it, both for the scoring and the entertainment level. The Sens got a couple late powerplays, and Dave Cameron kept trying to get Lazar out there for the hat-trick, but it just wasn't happening. The Sens walked away with one that wasn't close from the start.
Sens Hero: Curtis Lazar
He scored two goals tonight even though one should've been Dzingel's. On top of that, he crushed the even-strength shot attempts battle. A great night from a guy who has not had an impressive season by any standards.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
The broadcast crew summed his game up well: no flashy moments, and yet he finished with four assists. He now leads the league in assists, and is second (!!) in points having overtaken Jamie Benn for that spot.
Honourable Mention: Craig Anderson
I don't remember too many big saves, but he still had to stop 26 out of 27 shots for the win. That's a pretty good bounce-back game.
Sens Zero: Nobody
Can you really say anybody had a bad game tonight?