Senators Fall to Kings 4-3 in OT, Penalty Kill a Problem
Wednesday was filled with talk about Jason Spezza's groin. Ultimately, the team chose to rest the captain in hopes that the lingering injury would improve. That meant that Stephane Da Costa won the lottery: centering snipers Milan Michalek and Bobby Ryan. While this lineup change had many pining for Mika Zibanejad, Da Costa and Ryan worked together to set Michalek early for a nice chance on Kings netminder Jonathan Quick. A goaltender interference penalty by Kings Captain Dustin Brown sent Ottawa to the power play and while the team failed to convert, the Kyle Turris line generated several nice chances on the LA net. Unfortunately, an errant shot by Ryan went all the way around the boards and straight to Brown, fresh from the penalty box. He snapped a shot from a weird angle near the boards that eluded Craig Anderson blocker side. Anderson will want that one back and the Sens were in an early hole. A few minutes later, Erik Condra had a partial breakaway, but it ended in predictable fashion.
The Kings got their first power play of the game when Brown and Zack Smith got into a shoving match along the boards and Smith put the LA forward in a headlock. Toward the end of the penalty kill, Jean-Gabriel Pageau took a sloppy tripping penalty, giving the Kings a brief 5-on-3. Colin Greening had control of the puck in the slot, but was unable to clear the zone and the Kings converted just as Smith's penalty expired. In the final minutes of the period, Chris Neil took an ill-advised roughing penalty to once again send the Sens to the PK. On the PK, Turris took a hooking call instead of just skating and sticking to his man, and gave the Kings another 5-on-3, this time for 50 seconds. Again, just as the Sens killed off the first penalty, the Kings converted, as Dustin Brown scored his second of the game, to put the Sens down by three. A late penalty to Drew Doughty for delay of game gave the Sens a chance to get one back before the end of the period on the power play. The Sens failed to capitalize and the period ended 3-0 in favour of the Kings.
The second period got underway as the final seconds of Doughty's penalty were killed. With not much going on in the game, the Pageau line got the Sens on the board. Erik Condra got into the Kings zone quickly, working hard along the boards and behind the Kings net. When the puck slipped past Matt Kassian, Joe Corvo pinched to keep the puck in, and the puck found its way to Condra who was able to slid the puck to a waiting Pageau. Pageau snapped the puck past Quick, scoring his first goal of the season. There was a scary moment midway through the second period when Chris Neil was hit in the face with a puck. His face cut and bleeding, he made his way to the bench to get repairs. Neil's absence meant the Sens were playing with 11 forwards, and Bobby Ryan suddenly found himself moving up and down the lineup plugging holes. Thankfully, Chris Neil returned to the Ottawa bench a few minutes later with a sizeable cut on his nose and the beginnings of a black eye. Once Neil returned to the lineup, Ryan was skating with point-getters Pageau and Condra, and Neil was with Smith and Kassian on the fourth line. The period was an improvement for the Senators, who spent more time in the Kings end in the second period and had a few chances. The real difference was the team managed to stay out of the penalty box in the second period and spent the period at even strength. Anderson rebounded from a so-so first period to stop all 9 shots he faced in the period. Despite the progress the Sens were remained two goals down at the end of the second.
Five minutes into the third period Ottawa caught a break when LA was called for one of several possible infractions while the Sens controlled the play in the Kings end. On the ensuing power play, Erik Karlsson fed Bobby Ryan with a nice pass and the newest Senator wasted no time going top-shelf on Quick for his first goal as a Sen. The Ryan goal brought the Sens within one and Ottawa continued to pressure the Kings. Midway through the period, Chris Phillips had two glaring giveaways: one at the blueline and one in front of his own end. Both times the veteran defenseman was bailed out by his goalie. With the ever-annoying Dan Carcillo and Colin Greening going to the box, Neil decided to join them by squirting a water bottle in Carcillo's direction, taking an unsportsmanlike minor. With the Sens on a power play late in the period, Jonathan Quick absolutely stoned Stephane Da Costa who looked like he was going to tie it for the Sens. Shortly after the Sens did tie things up. After a faceoff win in the Kings zone, Joe Corvo made a nice play skating off the boards along the blueline and throwing the puck in the direction of the net. From out of a pack of bodies, Ryan and Michalek worked the puck out and Michalek fired it past teammate Bobby Ryan, who was screening the goalie, and past Quick. The Sens managed to prevent a late PP goal by the Kings with some good play from Condra and Phillips.
By sending the game to overtime, the Senators managed to secure a point that seemed unlikely after being down by three in the first period. Overtime didn't last long as the Jeff Carter scored his second goal of the game by tipping a Mike Richards blast from the point just as the Clarke MacArthur penalty was about to expire. Shots: 32-25 in favour of the Kings.
Sens Hero: Bobby Ryan
Ryan wasn't great for the first two periods. But that was the case for a lot of his teammates as well. It was his shot that missed the net and inadvertently sprung Dustin Brown for the first goal of the game. Ryan gets hero status because he scored the goal every Sens fan wanted to see: top shelf, on the power play, from Erik Karlsson. The goal was vital, spurring the team on in the third period. Ryan also provided an important screen on Michalek's goal as well as an assist. Suddenly he's a point-per-game player in Ottawa.
Honourable Mention: Joe Corvo
Corvo showed little in the way of offensive instincts in his first game this season. Tonight, however, Corvo earned two assists by making smart, if simple, plays. In the second period, he pinched in at the blueline to keep the puck in the Kings zone and feed Condra who set up Pageau. He also set up the tying goal in the third period. Corvo needs to contribute like this if he wants to stay in the lineup because Eric Gryba's presence is missed on the struggling penalty kill.
Honourable Mention: Erik Condra
Condra's excellent forecheck led to the first goal of the game. He helped secure a point for the Sens by making a key block on late in the game while on the PK.
Sens Zero: Chris Neil
Chris Neil took two stupid penalties tonight. Both were away from the play and could have been avoided. The first (with the help of Turris) would lead to a 5-on-3 and the Kings converted seconds after Neil left the box. The second was earned from the bench and gave the Kings a power play after Bobby Ryan got Ottawa back in the game.
Sens Zero: Discipline
This was a problem in each of the first two games this season and did not improve tonight. Smith, Neil x2, Turris, and Greening all took undisciplined or lazy penalties tonight. Twice the Sens were down by two men - another problem early in the season. The Sens PK is simply not good enough
Sens Zero: The Penalty Kill
Eesh. The Sens gave up three power play goals tonight. With the rate at which the Sens take penaltie, this is not good. Last year's PK was #1 in the league because Craig Anderson had an unsustainable save percentage when his team was down a player. He hid a lot of deficiencies and this season, everyone can see them.
Sens Killer: Dustin Brown
He scored two goals and got under the skin of several Senators. He drew a couple penalty calls and helped his team convert on them. He was involved physically. Basically, he did everything the Kings would want him to do.
Sens Killer: Jeff Carter
Carter scored two powerplay goals, including the winner in overtime. Boo.
Sens Killer: Jonathan Quick
Despite LA's dominance in the first period and Stephane Da Costa's run of the mill debut as the team's number one centre, the Sens could have pulled out a regulation victory if Da Costa hadn't been stoned by Quick late in the third period.
Shot chart: via ESPN