Game Summary - Game 46: Senators @ Predators - Red Solo Mup
by Chet Sellers
Here at RBM, we like both kinds of music - country and western. And that's why we're so excited about tonight's showdown in Nashville - not only will these two teams write the latest chapter in the story of one of the top 500 rivalries in the NHL, but it gives us an excuse to turn this place into a honky-tonk! Let's see what happens!
If you were ready for things to get rowdy, bad news - nothing happens in the first period! Although halfway through the period, Victor Stalberg gets behind the Senators defense and breaks in on net, forcing Joe Corvo to take a tripping call to bring him down. On the ensuing penalty shot, Craig Anderson gloves Stalberg's shot and coolly tosses it aside. The sequence of events causes both Patrick Wiercioch and Robin Lehner to break into a slow clap, although eyewitnesses report that Wiercioch's appears to be sarcastic.
The Senators coming out stronger in the second, presumably after a fiery Paul MacLean speech at intermission urges the team to put on their shot-kickers and fire a few more pucks at the net. Kyle Turris takes this advice to heart, and six minutes in he picks up a Cory Conacher rebound from behind Nashville's net and fires it behind Marek Mazanec, who's expecting the puck to come out on the opposite side; 1-0 Senators. "Hooray!" says Conacher, who surprises everyone in the post-goal group hug by coming in at eye level, until it become apparent he's wearing thick-heeled cowboy skates.
After that the Bridgestone arena turns into a road house, as Colin Greening drops the gloves with Eric Nystrom, and a minute later Jason Spezza takes offense to Rich Clune boarding Jared Cowen and pounds on Clune until he turtles, likely in surprise. "You don't take liberties with Jared Cowen," says the captain. "You take him out and we might have to start Wiercioch." In the press box, Matt Kassian puts a knowing hand on Wiercioch's shoulder and slides over his plate of nachos.
Late in the second, though, it's ex-Senator Mike Fisher who picks up a blocked shot in front of the net and sneaks it by Craig Anderson to make it 1-1. Fisher, of course, was traded for the first-round pick that became Stefan Noesen, who later became one-third of the Bobby Ryan deal. So when you think about it, Bobby Ryan really has to score three goals in the third to make this one right. Will he do it?
No. In the third the Senators clamp down and try to protect their lead for twenty minutes. The only problem with this strategy is that they don't have a lead, and they spend most of the third being badly outshot by the Predators, with only Craig Anderson and a few post shots keeping them from falling into a deep hole. We go twenty minutes with no one scoring, which is probably the first time that's ever happened in Nashville on a Saturday night.
The Senators dodge a few bullets in overtime, including a late penalty that puts Nashville on a 4-on-3 for most of the final two minutes. In the shootout, Mika Zibanejad scores after Craig Anderson stops Craig Smith, and then Jason Spezza ices it after Anderson turns away David Legwand. 2-1 Ottawa is your final, and if you're keeping track, Jason Spezza notched the shootout winner and hit a guy, which is why he's the captain and Chris Neil is only an alternate.
This was not the most exciting hockey game that's ever happened, but unlike most classic country songs, it had a happy ending - Ottawa's now won five of six and earned 11 points of a possible 12, putting them ahead of the Leafs and even with the Red Wings in the race for a wild card spot. Their road trip continues Tuesday night in Minneapolis - will we craft a recap full of Prince music? Tune in and find out!