The Ottawa Senators finally saw their winning streak end after being thoroughly outplayed by the Stanley Cup champions Boston Bruins. In the end, they were outshot 41-26 and probably outchanced by a similar ratio. It was a pretty disappointing performance. On the other hand, despite playing poorly on the road against the champions, the Senators were in a 3-3 game in the third period.
The Senators ran into penalty trouble early in the first period when Sergei Gonchar was called for hooking. Ottawa killed that off and then scored the first goal of the game at the 5:19 mark courtesy of Nick Foligno. At this point, Zenon Konopka who had played 38 seconds in the game so far, was already angry enough to fight Shawn Thornton. Staged fights or fights to "get a team going" are really stupid. Eight seconds later, Sergei Gonchar took his second hooking penalty and on the ensuing power play, Erik Karlsson couldn't contain Milan Lucic at the side of the net. Lucic put the rebound in the net to tie the game. Just 16 seconds later Stéphane Da Costa received a beautiful pass from Nick Foligno, and finished it to give the Senators the lead again. Ottawa was largely outchanced and was outshot 17-9 in the period but managed to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission.
Ottawa didn't improve much at the start of the second period. Tyler Seguin found Patrice Bergeron right in the slot, who wired it into the net to tie the game 4:21 into the second period. Shortly after, the Bruins should really have taken the lead, but Craig Anderson came up with two huge saves, the latter one on a wide open Chris Kelly right in front of the net. After another penalty kill, the Senators finally put some pressure on the Boston net, getting two or three scoring chances with Jason Spezza's line. That pressure didn't last long and Boston dictated play for the rest of the period. Chris Neil took an interference penalty that the Senators killed off, but after the power play was over, Chris Kelly slammed a slapshot into the top corner to give Boston their first lead of the game. Before the period was over, Chris Neil took his second penalty in a five minute span, this time for slashing.
Ottawa killed off Neil's penalty at the start of the third and played decently enough until Jared Cowen scored his first career NHL goal to tie the game at 3. Just when thoughts of another glorious third period comeback were creeping back, Jason Spezza won a defensive zone face-off cleanly but Chris Phillips bobbled the puck. Eventually the puck would get back to the point and Johnny Boychuk's slapshot from long distance couldn't be stopped by Craig Anderson. Only 37 seconds later, Daniel Paille scored on a breakaway to make it a 5-3 game for Boston. Ottawa pulled the goaltender with almost three minutes left in the game, but there would be no further scoring
More after the jump, including those of the heroic and zero variety.
Sens Hero: Nick Foligno
I didn't really want to pick a hero after that performance but I questioned Foligno's presence on the second line and he responded with a career high three point night. His pass for Da Costa's goal was a thing of beauty.
Serns Zero: Jason Spezza
Spezza has been incredible for most of the season, but tonight he wasn't. Aside from one shift after he came out of the box, Spezza did not create any chances and was on the ice for two goals against. All in all, not a good night for number 19. His linemates Milan Michalek and Colin Greening weren't very effective either, but they are dependant on Spezza.
Sens Killer: Zdeno Chara
Chara was a force tonight. He finished the night with two assists, five shots, four hits, a +2 rating and played 25:17. This one hit on Erik Karlsson, about a full foot shorter than Chara, had me cringing.
- Erik Karlsson is second on the club with 40 shots but only has one goal. He also finished with a plus rating for the third straight game. Karlsson played against the Seguin-Bergeron-Marchand line and didn't allow them a 5-on-5 goal while on the ice against him.
- Chris Phillips didn't have a good night and played only 16:43 including only 10:39 on even strength. Among defencemen, only Jared Cowen played less even strength hockey than Phillips.
- Speaking of Cowen, he scored his first career goal which was also his first career point. Having said that, Cowen is really being protected lately. He wasn't on the ice for a single defensive zone face-off in 5-on-5 situations and has the highest offensive zone starts percentage among Senators defencemen this season.
- Nikita Filatov only played for 6:34. Even if there is no room for him in top six, I would like to see him at least replace Erik Condra on the third line.
- The Senators were shorthanded seven times thanks to only three players. Chris Neil took three minor penalties, while Sergei Gonchar and Jason Spezza took two. The Senators penalty kill actually played well, going 6 for 7, though the last two kills were a 13-second 5-on-3 at the end of the game.