Sens fall 3-2 to Blues
The Ottawa Senators had a strong first period against the St. Louis Blues, but their effort tailed off and the fell by a 3-2 score.
It was an afternoon game; you weren't expecting anything other than a loss, were you?
The St. Louis Blues got things started when Maxim Lapierre picked up a loose puck in the Ottawa Senators zone, dangled Cody Ceci, and flipped a backhander that squeaked through Robin Lehner's pads. Ottawa gained some speed with a couple consecutive powerplays, and Bobby Ryan tossed a sneaky pass to the front of the net for Mika Zibanejad to snap past Brian Elliot.
After the tying goal, though, Paul MacLean made the weird decision he so often does after the Sens score a goal: He threw out the fourth line, featuring Zack Smith, Chris Neil, and--for this iteration, anyway--Milan Michalek. The line can rarely maintain momentum after a goal, and were hopelessly mismatched against St. Louis' S-T-L line; add in Jared Cowen and Ceci on defence and you've got a recipe for Vladimir Tarasenko to restore the Blues' lead.
Alex Steen tipped a Jay Bouwmeester shot just after the half-way point of the second frame to double St. Louis' lead, but Erik Karlsson brought the Sens back within one a few minutes later with Ottawa's second powerplay goal of the afternoon.
The third period provided counter-evidence to the score effects theory, as the Blues continued to control play. They couldn't get any more past Lehner, though, and the game ended in a 3-2 score favouring St. Louis.
Honourable Mention: Robin Lehner
The Lehner came up with some big saves at big times, none bigger than his breakaway save on Tarasenko early in the second period. He stopped 30 of 33 shots faced in the game.
Honourable Mention: Mike Hoffman
After a couple of off-nights, Hoffman was back at his best against the Blues. He didn't net any points, but he had a couple of shots on net and a 66.67% corsi-for--very impressive against a team like the St. Louis Blues.
Honourable Mention: Colin Greening
He wasn't a difference-maker, but I liked Greening's game because I felt he put forward a very solid effort--though it helped that he was on a line with David Legwand and Bobby Ryan. Greening doesn't have the tools to complement Ryan, but he was pretty good in this one.
Sens Zero: Cody Ceci and Jared Cowen
Ceci and Cowen were on the ice for St. Louis' first two goals, and both made visible mistakes leading up to them. Although the pairing has had a few good games together, this wasn't one of them (at least not in the defensive end; they were a bit better in the offensive end).
My six-month-old son Ben missed today's game, because he had swimming class. Sorry, folks! He'll bring his take to the recap (or comments) of the next game he watches.
Shot Chart (via ESPN)
Game Flow Chart (via Natural Stat Trick)