There was blood in the shark tank, but it was San Jose that went down to the Ottawa Senators 4-1 in what should have been a major challenge to the reconstructing team. But if there’s anything that fans have learned about this season’s Ottawa Senators it is to expect the unexpected, as they take down some of the league’s titans, besting the Rangers last week and now taking down the top seeded Western San Jose team.
Once again, it didn’t look promising for the Sens in the first period, as the Sharks outshot, outskated, outplayed and generally outclassed Ottawa, but still wound up with a 1-1 tie to begin the second. This was mostly due to the continued great play of Craig Anderson, who’s been lights out lately and showing no signs of slowing down. San Jose truly looked like an elite Western Conference team, with a mind-spinning cycle game and great chip and chase. But they deflated in the last two periods, when multiple shots on goal resulted in very little to show for it.
It also helps that Ottawa helped generate respect, time and space for Anderson, something that was lacking before. The team as a whole has stepped up to protect what is arguably their best asset. Ottawa looked faster and more dynamic in the second and third, with Turris having another solid game and Greening surprising everyone, including netminder Niemi, with 2 goals on the night. Karlsson also chipped in for a goal top corner that Niemi had little, if no chance at all, of stopping.
The bleeding wasn’t limited to goal scoring. Daugavins and Smith both left this game for Ottawa after a blocking attempt resulting in an injured foot and a minor collision in the neutral zone. Smith was pulled for cautious reasons, so there is a hope that he may be returning to the lineup soon after shaking off some contact. San Jose scrapped it up as well, but left mostly unscathed. It wasn’t for lack of trying, though, as McGinn tried to knee Spezza in the second and thankfully came up a little short- something which isn’t hard to do on a player that size.
The game was a bruiser with some odd penalties and contact taken and Pavelski taking two consecutive tripping penalties one after the other in the third. It was also a milestone night for Sergei Gonchar playing his 1100th game and local Mark Borowiecki playing his first NHL game with family present in the stands. It’s a win that no Senators fan will likely forget anytime soon, as Ottawa continues to be a giantkiller.
Ottawa will face some old demons on Saturday as they move on to Anaheim to take on the ailing Ducks, the team that Ottawa lost to in their only Cup Run in their 20 year franchise back in 2007. A win there would be good for the morale of the team, but also, for the fans.
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.