The Ottawa Senators eked out a narrow 3-2 victory over the LA Kings last night, with the highlight of the night going to Alexei Kovalev for his 1000th point which came off a stick shattering goal. It was an incredibly satisfying way to hit a milestone with the first goal of the game at 10 minutes into the first period with a rousing standing ovation by the fans at home. What a special moment in his career and for the fans.
Not to be outdone, Alfredsson and Spezza both poured on some slick moves on the night, with Alfredsson setting up Michalek for a beauty in the second period, skating all over Jack Johnson and stunning him in the zone, and Spezza showing off his fine skating and sharp shot in the third, making the LA defense look like pylons. It was a night for the stars to shine for the Senators, but it was far from a decisive victory. Right up until the last 3 seconds of the game, the victory wasn’t a sure thing with a prolonged goal review that kept the War Room working late.
Two disallowed goals for the LA Kings in this game and this story would have been a whole lot different. The first disallowed goal is probably the most controversial, with what appears to be Carkner losing his balance and grabbing the net off its moorings in passing. The LA Kings are going to say that he pulled it off and they would be right- the real question would be whether or not that was his intention and that’s a lot harder to prove. In any case, the call on the ice was supported by play review. The second disallowed goal was pretty clear; a high stick by Smyth that Leclaire was calling for frantically.
The referees had their hands full on the night, but not all the calls went Ottawa’s way. In fact, a lot of calls went against Ottawa and they were questionable at times. Gonchar’s cross checking in the second was so soft as to be a love tap if such a thing existed in hockey and the fact that they didn’t call either the too many men penalty on the Kings in the second, as well as several questionable hits on the Senators, was infuriating to watch. A lot of good things happened for Ottawa last night, but reffing was not exactly on their side.
For the LA Kings, the bounces were not on their side, as they racked up a lot of good chances that hit the post. It was a game of hard knocks for LA, but the admirable thing about their game is that they never let the 2 disallowed goals deflate them. They just kept coming back and looking to get back in the game, and that’s probably the reason why they’ve been declared the dark horse of the NHL to watch this year by the Hockey News. They’re a young, quick, gritty, solid team and they are a Stanley Cup winning team in the making. A team that doesn’t give up, not even in the dying seconds of the game, is a solid team.
Ottawa’s attempts at widening the gap between them and the Kings were thwarted by great play from Johnathon Quick, the 24 year old goaltender who has put up some great numbers and is the uncontested number one for LA. Leclaire put in a good game for Ottawa as well, but Elliott is the number one for our team and it’s hoped that he’ll be back soon after a few days rest.
Kuba racked up the most ice time last night with the absence of Karlsson due to illness and Chris Neil left the game in the second period with an upper body injury after his fight with Westgarth. The fight with a risk of injury was probably not the best decision that Neil has made, but he held his own wonderfully against the much larger Westgarth, (6 foot 5 and 247 pounds), who seems to have underestimated what an experienced fighter can do.
It was a good night for Ottawa with a milestone for Kovalev and some razzle and dazzle by Ottawa’s top players on the night. But they shouldn’t forget that they almost lost this game and that they have to keep fighting until that very last buzzer sounds. Especially when the margin is so narrow and the opposition has so much fight left in them.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.