Game Summary - Game 57: Senators overcome Blues, refs, self-doubt in 5-4 SO win

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

By Luke Peristy


When we last spoke, I was just finishing being very optimistic following a comprehensive Ottawa Senators win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since that game, the Senators follow that performance up with two games in which their best players were Chris Neil, Stephane Da Costa, and Craig Anderson. The results in those games were commensurate with that fact. 

Tonight, Ottawa plays the 4th best team in the league the night after playing the 3rd best team in the league. What could go wrong? Nothing would surprise me any more. Robin Lehner posts a 93 save shutout and scores the game's only goal? Sounds about right. Paul Maclean reveals his new defensive strategy of just piling all 5 skaters across the goalmouth in the crease? He's a Jack Adams winning visionary. Ottawa chases Jaroslav Halak from the net and then lights up Brian Elliot so badly he gets traded back to Colorado? Classic Senators, amirite?! The Sens fail to show up and allow Robin Lehner to get lit up? Wouldn't be the first time.

I don't know what to expect any more. You win, Ottawa! You broke me. Let's see what pithy observations of questionable importance my faulty noggin can make about this athletic contest.

1st Period

20:00 - Robin Lehner is released from his transport crate and chained to the Ottawa net. Clarke MacArthur is in the lineup despite fears that he had been injured last night. In a lot of ways, Ottawa has already won the game. Give us the 2 points now, NHL!

18:07 - Stephane Da Costa continues his fine play forcing Halak to make a good save off a Methot feed. I guess you could say he's Da Costant-*Is murdered by enraged readers*

11:05 - Denis Potvin relays an anecdote that Paul Maclean was the first coach to win a game in Scottrade Centre. That means if the Senators win tonight, he'll have won the first AND the last game at the Scottrade Center (until the next game at Scottrade Center #semantics).

8:15 - Jason Spezza remembers that he's one of the most offensively gifted players on the team and dangles a few Blues before finding Milan Michalek open at the side of the net. Michalek can't beat Halak, probably because Colin Greening went off on a change at a bad time.

5:52 - Ottawa fails to break out of their own zone clearly, and Oshie, Berglund, and Morrow play tic-tac-goal to make it 1 - 0 St. Louis.

0:43 - Milan Michalek gets the puck in the high slot, takes a big wind-up, and hits the post. I guess failing to convert on your chances is an improvement on failing to get chances. Progress is being made, here.

Describe the 1st period using a catchy slogan: First Period, Worst Period

But seriously, Ottawa played well and had chances, but a sloppy breakout ended up in the back of their net.

2nd Period

17:01 - Lehner makes several nice saves early on in the 2nd. After the whistle, Alex Steen tries to draw Kyle Turris into some kind of fight. Turris seems about as interested in this as I do i.e. not at all. The refs look on because sometimes players get angry.

15:50 - Alex Steen gets angry that he hasn't been allowed to fight someone, and tries to score instead. Ottawa spends a long time hemmed in the defensive zone as Angry Alex Steen and Friends skate circles around the Senators.

13:26 - Erik Karlsson takes a shot from the right circle which hits Halak, pops up in the air, and trickles towards the net. It's saved off the goal line by a Blues defenseman. The list of ways Erik Karlsson has failed to score over the past few games gets another entry.

9:46 - Alex Steen headbutts Bobby Ryan in the elbow, and Ryan gets a penalty. Not a very good call.

9:41 - Milan Michalek gives Berglund a friendly hug and gets a penalty. A pretty poor call.

7:55 - Marc Methot plays defense against a guy and gets a penalty. There's more Sens in the penalty box than on the Sens bench at the end of that one playoff game against the Habs.

Both the penalty box and Senators bench have well dressed guys whose role I don't fully understand.
5:10 - After a heroic penalty kill in which Robin Lehner makes more big saves than a Billy Graham Crusade, Ottawa finally gets the puck 5-on-5. Jason Spezza carries the puck into the offensive zone, spins around for no reason, and lays out a perfect pass for Erik Karlsson who buries the one-timer. As Francis Bacon once said "There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion." and by that standard, this was the Keira Knightly of goals. 1 - 1 Tie

4:51 - Having killed off several penalties in a row and tied the game with a beautiful skill play, the momentum is clearly in Ottawa's favour which is why T.J. Oshie scores 20 seconds later and I don't even know what the point of anything is any more. 2 - 1 St. Louis

0:5.1 - David Backes scores at the end of the 2nd period following a long period of sustained pressure from the Blues. This one is kinda the refs' fault in the sense that all they did was stand around and watch. 3 - 1 St. Louis

Describe the 2nd period using a quote from tonight's refs: "Let's go Blues!"

3rd Period

19:49 - Dean and Denis announce that Clarke MacArthur received a 10-minute misconduct at the conclusion of the 2nd period. He probably had the NERVE to point out to the refs that they've been exceedingly poor at their jobs tonight.

14:08 - Jason Spezza sets up Milan Michalek after taking a great pass from Zibanejad and this time Michalek makes no mistake. My God...I think...it's learning! 3 - 2 St. Louis.

12:58 - Kyle Turris digs a puck out of the corner, backhands it towards the front of the Blues net, and it deflects off of some skates and into the net. Pull up a chair to the O.R. because tonight Dr. Random Chance is operating in our favour! 3 - 3 Tie

11:33 - Spezza takes a puck from Zibanejad and goes top shelf on Halak and suddenly it's 4 - 3 Ottawa. The Sens have NOT listened to that Black Eyed Peas song I sent them and insist on funking with my heart. Guess I have to change the tone of this whole recap now.

8:52 - Jordan Leopold, apparently having been inspired by Kyle Turris, fires a puck on net from below the goal line and scores after Lehner can't handle it. Should have seen this coming after it was revealed Lehner has started to refer to the puck as "The Truth". 4 - 4 Tie

0.0 - Ottawa survives a late penalty, broken glass, and the Neil-Smith-Greening line to take the game to overtime. This is the first point an Eastern Conference team has taken off of the Blues in St. Louis all year and all it took was Jason Spezza magic and a lucky Turris goal.

Overtime

3:15 - Backes comes down the right wing and goes high glove on Lehner. Lehner makes the save like it ain't no thang.

55.8 - After Karlsson makes a brutal turnover, Clarke MacArthur bails him out like he's an American bank. Ottawa still has to pay penalties due to violating regulations, but the Senators kill off the remaining time and the game goes to a shootout.

Shootout - Sens heros are Mika Zibanejad, Stephane Da Costa (who scored on Ottawa's 3rd attempt to keep the shootout going), and Kyle Turris. Honourable Mention: Robin Lehner for getting his first shootout win. He couldn't have picked a better time for his first time!

Sens Win 5-4 OT!

The Wisdom


After getting excoriated over the past 24 hours, Jason Spezza had himself a game, tonight. He pretty much single-handedly brought the Senators back in this one, and easily could have had one or two more assists on the night. Pittsburgh and St. Louis on back to back nights is easily one of the hardest stretches on the Senators schedule this year, but they got some good goaltending and persevered for long enough to get 3 out of 4 points.

Be sure to tune in Thursday night when they'll probably lose to Buffalo.