Craig Anderson’s shut out win against the New York Rangers may qualify him for hockey royalty status against the King himself, Henrik Lundqvist. The Ottawa Senators took the Rangers down 2-0, giving them a 3-2 lead in the series and a chance for the 8th seed to take out the 1st seed on Monday night and punch their ticket to the second round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. Jason Spezza finally got the memo that shooting it on net leads to good things and netted both of Ottawa’s goals on the night, including an empty netter in the third to seal the deal.
The New York Rangers came on strong in the first period, but it was clear that they were running scared. All the pressure was on the top team in the East to take this game after losing a series lead in Ottawa off of Kyle Turris’ overtime heroics. By comparison, the Senators looked confident and it showed in their game style. They were playing ‘that little bit better’ that Maclean said his team needed to do in order to get ahead in this series, making good decisions with the puck and creating more space for themselves on the ice.
Spezza was ignited off a great pass from Mark Stone, who was making his NHL playoff debut in this game. Mark Stone made the Senators organization look good when he became the goal scoring star for Team Canada in the last World Junior Championships. He brought some of that magic to this game with a great feed to Spezza, resulting in a slick goal.
Spezza’s quick release and hard shot makes you wonder why he would ever opt to pass instead of shoot; years of conditioning on the line as a passer have yet to be corrected, but when it happens, it will be a thing of beauty. At the last All-Star Weekend Skills competition, Spezza’s hardest shot clocked in at 100.5 miles per hour. A staggering number for a passer; it’s hoped that Maclean can keep up the good work and drill the message in just ‘that little bit better.’
The stars are a factor in this series; having star players step up is a difference maker, with Spezza finally breaking out. What hasn’t been a factor in this series is power plays, which have been awful for both squads. There have been enough chances, with the refs paying closer attention lately since the NHL cracked down in other series, but they haven’t impacted the final scores.
The final scores have been close in this series due in large part to spectacular goaltending. Lundqvist has played to form, but he’s been matched by Craig Anderson, whose calm demeanor and confidence in net has won this game for Ottawa. Anderson has stood on his head in moments where it really mattered in games for Ottawa and has shown a remarkable ability to brush aside past games or misses. His focus and his drive are as sharp as they have to be and he’s giving the Ottawa faithful many reasons to believe.
Believe Ottawa: Ottawa may eliminate the top seeded New York Rangers from the playoffs on Monday night at home. They’re going to need their seventh man, so be loud! Go Sens Go!
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.