Senators beat idle Wild
The Ottawa Senators defeated the Minnesota Wild in the longest regular season game in NHL history
Most of the narratives leading into this game were kinda boring.
The wounded Wild? Don't care. In a non-conference game against a middling opponent, I'm only vaguely interested in who IS playing, let alone who isn't.
Dany Heatley? While I still clean my toilet with his jersey (no, seriously), Heatley's decline since leaving us has really taken most of the fun out of that story. It's like hating your ex who cheated on you but then got fat, dropped out of school, and works at the movie theatre now. It's just not worth it.
Robin Lehner starting his first game in a while was somewhat interesting, but with Craig Anderson playing quite well over the past month, the goalie controversy that seemed to be brewing earlier in the season has largely been put to bed (for now).
So as the game started, I was really only wondering two things: (1) could the Senators keep their six game points streak alive?; and (2) would something happen in this game that would save me from having to make a stupid "wild" pun in the headline of my recap.
The answers to these questions, revealed to me now after one of the more insipid games of hockey I'll ever watch, turned out to be, respectively, "yes" and "of course not".
Even the most corrupt of boxing judges would have given this round to the Senators. The Wild took their second shot on net about 18 minutes into the period, and they only managed one more after that.
Simply put, this was a Senators shooting gallery. They absolutely dominated the play, kept the puck in the Wild end for most of the period, and took 13 shots to their opponent's 3 (and that doesn't count the roughly 40 missed shots for the Sens, 35 of which were probably taken by Erik Karlsson).
The Senators also managed a beauty of a powerplay goal, with Karlsson sending Kyle Turris into the offensive zone, and Turris feeding a lovely pass onto the outstretched stick of a streaking Clarke MacArthur, who tipped the puck past "D. Kuemper" to put the Sens ahead.
The only real concern after the first period was that old immutable law of hockey (and comic books): if you're going to beat up on your opponent, you'd better finish him off. Despite their dominance, the Senators were only up by one with 40 minutes to play.
The second period was so boring that I almost had to mute Dean Brown and Denis Potvin as they regaled us with anecdotes and inane musings. In the meantime, Senators fans on Twitter spent the entire period discussing the surprisingly well-hidden bear in the Minnesota Wild logo.
I'm 90% sure that some hockey was played in the second. I'm 100% sure that after it was done I was worried about the Wild still being one snipe away from tying the game. This one was starting to have the feel of a "we deserved to win that one" kinda loss.
Given all of my dark prognostication, what I certainly didn't see coming is a goddamned Erik Condra breakaway goal.
After stealing the puck at the Ottawa blue line, Condra split the defense and sprinted the length of the ice, during which time I was able to turn to Mrs. TheShrubber and say, "Condra breakaway, not a chance."
Boy was I wrong. Condra wound up and fired a shot just as a diving Marco Scandella hauled him down. The shot slid through "D. Kuemper"'s pads and the Sens were up by a deuce. Some people will say Condra never would have scored without Scandella affecting his shot. To those people I say, "Shhh. You're ruining the moment."
Kyle Turris put the icing on the cake with a late powerplay goal, and the Senators skated off with another crucial two points.
Hero: Kyle Turris
Great assist, nice goal, all around great performance. Does anyone not love Kyle Turris this season?
Hero: Erik Karlsson
As always, Erik Karlsson was awesome. He didn't do anything he doesn't always do, but is that really a good reason not to appreciate your best player?
Hero: Paul MacLean
Everyone was pretty happy to call him out when the team was losing and the lines were weird. So let's give credit where it's due, no? This team is playing pretty damn well.
Zeros: Nary a one
This game was incredibly boring, but those two points sure do look nice on the big board, and it's wonderful to see this team finally burying some bad teams the way they were supposed to be doing all season.
I'm looking forward to Thursday and seeing whether the Senators can keep the ball rolling against the incredibly inconsistent Montreal Canadiens.