Let's get real, Ottawa shouldn't really have been in this game. San Jose is first in the league, and was +57 in goals differential, while Ottawa was 12th in the East -22 goals differential. Still, with the Sharks having played last night and the Sens playing a recharged style of play, the hope was there.
Despite an early lead thanks to a powerplay, though, that hope was misplaced. The story was the Sens' penalty trouble in the second period, where Jarkko Ruutu took a penalty and then Brian Lee took three shortly afterwards. San Jose made the Sens pay on Lee's double-minor, with one goal on each of the penalties. That was all she wrote. Even though the Senators matched the Sharks in effort for most of the game, they couldn't match them on the scoreboard.
The Sens' goal was also a powerplay marker, and a pretty one at that. Benefitting from the Sharks' futility in clearing the puck, Dany Heatley made a sweet little move to get the puck to Chris Campoli at the point. Campoli's point shot was tipped in by Mike Fisher, giving Campoli his fourth assist in three games as a Senators and Fisher his long-overdue first powerplay goal of the year.
Back to Lee, for a minute. Tough night for the kid. He almost doubled his penalty minutes on the night, having eight in the previous 35 games and getting six on the night. Worst part of it was that the first two were because he lost position, and the third was because he lost composure and must have said something to the refs. He was benched for the rest of the period, but I don't think this means he's back to Binghamton. More likely he stays in Ottawa so that Bryan Murray can really assess what it is he can offer, and Cory Clouston can decide what his role's going to be next season.
Although Alex Auld looked like he was sleeping a bit on the Sharks' first goal--he was way out of position after making the first save--he still had a good game all around. Stopped 22 of 24 shots, and did very well on the first couple of penalties the Sens had to kill, he was certainly not among the reasons why the Senators lost tonight.
The Sens were skating tonight, though. The line of Fisher with Ryan Shannon and Mike Comrie was fun to watch, in large part thanks to their speed and ability to get inside on defenders. And the CASH Line was solid, too, combining for seven shots.
The defensive pairing of Anton Volchenkov and Chris Phillips did a great job of shutting down the Sharks' big guns, at least at even strength. Android had six hits and a blocked shot, while Phillips had a hit, three blocked shots, and three takeaways.
Stats of note: Clouston was using Heatley on the penalty kill, albeit only for 0:44 of the second period, it's still an interesting development.... Jesse Winchester was five-for-six in the faceoff circle (83%); why hasn't he been playing centre all year? ... Jason Spezza not only took four shots, but he had another four shots on net blocked before the got the the goaltender. ... Joe Thornton actually took a shot on net. ... Nick Foligno had a game-high five shots on net, one hit, one takeaway, drew a penalty, and did some good work on the powerplay. He's going to be a good player for a while, I think I'd like to see him stay in a Senators' uniform.
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