Game Summary - Game 54: Lightning Visit Ottawa, but Sens Bring the Thunder

By Luke Peristy

Editor's note: We're doing our second Sens Money on the Board game of the season for Saturday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. And we have a ridiculous prize: Every donation of $40 or more enters you into a draw for a heritage classic Robin Lehner jersey. To make your pledge, use this form. Thanks!

I'll be honest, it was tempting to recycle my pregame blurb from last week's game for the beginning of this recap, but luckily I've found something else to talk about: The Standings.

I've made it a habit not to look at The Standings for most of this year because I found that when I did, it made me unhappy. However, I broke down today and took a quick peek. Based on that brief browsing session, I've got some good news and some bad news.

The Good News: Ottawa currently sits only one (1) point behind Carolina for the last wild card spot.

The Bad News: Four (4) other teams currently sit two (2) points or less behind Carolina for that same wild card spot.

There's a common metaphor that people (read: I) like to use that goes like this: you don't have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun the slowest person in your group. It's a great expression that in no way applies to the Senators' current situation. If Ottawa is going to make the playoffs, they're going to have to outrun everybody. If ever there was a good time for Ottawa to rip off an 11-game winning streak a la That One Time in 2009, this would be it. Related: does anyone know Mike Brodeur's phone number? (And if you do, get in touch with @RyanClassic).

Anyway, buckle up Sens fans, because the next 30 games are going to be one hell of a roller coaster whose final destination will either be the playoffs or the golf course.

In tonight's game of monumental importance (spoiler: All games are now of monumental importance), Ottawa took on Tampa Bay at home. Just like last week, Anderson and Bishop both started in goal, although this week Paul Maclean stated his desire to exploit Bishop's inability to move off of the colour he starts the game on. Would the Senators make the most of their advantage on the light squares ice? Will I ever stop making chess jokes? Let's find out!

1st Period

19:45 - Sportsnet graphic reveals that the key to the game for Tampa Bay is "Growing together". I assume this is a veiled shot at Martin St. Louis. 

18:11 - Mika Zibanejad chases a puck that's been dumped in and Ben Bishop leaves the net to try to beat him to it. Zibanejad gets there first, and throws the puck in front of the net. Eventually Marc Methot finds it and slaps it into the open net. Bishop remains down on the play and after seeing the replay, it becomes obvious that he'd be kicked in the back of his head by Barberio. Bishop goes to the dressing room and Anders Lindback enters the game. There's no good way to make a joke about a guy getting injured, especially a guy as likable as Ben Bishop. If there was, though, it would be hilarious. 1 - 0 Ottawa

Because this isn't NHL 98 with penalties off, goalie murder is not a recommended method of scoring.

13:57 - Turris and Ryan break in on a 2-on-1. Turris tries to get the puck to Ryan, but the play is broken up. It was a nice idea, but it reminded me of a guy at a bar who is trying to talk up his buddy just a little too much. Don't press it, Kyle! Just act confident, Bobby!

8:41 - Condra-Da Costa-Conacher (Da Condracher) make the most of their limited ice time by nearly scoring on a scramble in front of Lindback. Da Condracher is like a 4th line Voltron. 

4:01 - Following a Marc Methot hip check montage, Denis Potvin calls Methot "one of the remaining dinosaurs". Dinosaurs, of course, were known for their large hips and ability to play the body so it makes perfect sense to me.

0:24.7 - The Senators carve out a little slice of perfection in the middle of chaos. Spezza takes a long Michalek pass from the defensive zone, walks the puck into the slot like he's out for a Sunday stroll with his beagle, finds Erik Karlsson open at the side of the net, and Karlsson makes it 2 - 0 Ottawa. It's the sort of goal kids will be looking at under their covers with the lights off for years to come.

"At least he's only watching classy goals." - Somebody's secretly proud father

A Limerick about the 1st Period
There once was a man named Methot
Whose goal no easier could have been got.
We feared Bishop was dead.
He was kicked in the head.
But in the end it turned out he was not.

2nd Period

16:50 - Jared Cowen makes a poor decision to pinch leading to a Tampa Bay odd man rush. Alex Killorn picks up a puck in the high slot and beats Anderson five-hole. Lots of blame to go around on that play, so I'll flip a coin to decide who to be outraged at.

DAMMIT, COWEN! 2 - 1 Ottawa

14:01 - Cory Conacher drives the net and gets checked into Lindback who goes down in a heap. Luckily Lindback was uninjured or Ottawa might have had the dreaded two goalie lead (worst lead in hockey).

13:36 - Zack Smith picks up the puck at the side of the Tampa Bay net, skates into the slot, turns around and snipes a bar-down goal. That description makes it sound like Tampa Bay wasn't even trying, but that's only because it looked like Tampa Bay wasn't even trying. 3 - 1 Ottawa

6:47 - A period of Ottawa dominance is punctuated by crisp passing, great scoring chances and Erik Karlsson Doing Erik Karlsson Things™. The Sens fail to extend their lead, but the fact that there's any excitement at all means that it's an improvement on the last Sens-Bolts game.

1:20 - Bobby Ryan splits the D and drives the net. Finding himself unable to get a clean shot off, he finds Turris trailing the play, and Turris makes no mistake. "The real hero on the play was Clarke MacArthur who did yeoman's work in the defensive zone on the backcheck." says Clarke MacArthur when asked about the goal. 4 - 1 Ottawa

A Limerick about the 2nd Period:
There once was a man named Turris,
Who could score with a flick of his wrist.
But I would be lyin',
To not credit Ryan,
A guy that the U.S. will miss.

3rd Period

17:49 - Dean Brown and Denis Potvin begin moving into their "blowout material" and talk about how Martin St. Louis was once a promising gymnast. Also covered was Teddy Purcell's considerable ability as a ballet dancer and that time Ryan Malone played Jud Fry in his high school's production of Oklahoma!.

16:50 - Jason Spezza is sprung on a semi-break, but can't beat Lindback. The puck sits in the crease for a while before Milan Michalek tries to jam it home unsuccessfully. Victor Hedman takes exception to Michalek trying to score and gives him a brief demonstration of stick fouls. An outraged Denis Potvin yells "Whatever nice things we said about Hedman, we take them back!" so you know it was serious.

13:05 - Bobby Ryan takes a Turris feed in the slot and makes it a 5 - 1 Ottawa lead. Ryan and Turris have great chemistry and it's a lot of fun to watch. I bet they bought each other the same thing for Christmas and everything!

8:07 - Ottawa gets their second powerplay of the game when Mark Barberio is called for high-sticking Mika Zibanejad. While attempting a zone-entry, Clarke MacArthur turns the puck over and Tyler Johnson scores on the resulting Tampa Bay breakaway. "That goal is pretty much Clarke MacArthur's fault." says a disappointed Clarke MacArthur. 5 - 2 Ottawa

2:52 - Tampa Bay pulls Lindback and goes with the extra skater. Noted villain, Victor Hedman, scores off the bench and suddenly it's 5 - 3 Ottawa. Ottawa wasn't playing much defense on the play as they were too busy saying, "They pulled the goalie? Are they still trying? What the hell...?"

0.0 - After spending the last 17 minutes of the game hemmed in their own zone [Citation Needed], Ottawa just squeaks out a win in a game they never trailed.

Ottawa Wins 5 - 3!

The Wisdom

I wouldn't say that the Senators dominated this game from start to finish because they didn't. However, they dominated the most important part of the game and built a 4 goal lead before taking their collective feet off the giant gas pedal required for this metaphor. The Sens will need to put in many more performances like this one to make the playoffs, but if they do, they might just be a playoff team worth watching. Hockey Cliche Man says that your best players have to be your best players and Kyle Turris, Bobby Ryan, Erik Karlsson, and Jason Spezza all had outstanding games. In short, everything's coming up Millhouse.

Ottawa's next game is Saturday night in Toronto. I hope to provide this blog with dispatches from deep within enemy territory. Here's hoping for a game that doesn't cause me to douse myself in gasoline and set myself on fire in the middle of Maple Leafs Square.
Powered by Blogger.