October 12, 2011

Ottawa v Minnesota Game Review

Ottawa have had a tough start to the season, losing 5-3 and 6-5 so far and looking were looking for a better defensive performance in this one.

Ottawa started the game with a PP and chances for Spezza and Alfredsson but Minnesota held on and killed the penalty well. The first 8 minutes the Senators were really on top, taking the game to the Wild with Backstrom seeing a lot of the puck.  They would have been disappointed when the Wild then took the lead with a Brosiak tip infront from what seemed a soft shot by Stoner towards the goal.

Kassian and Konopka then decided it was time to drop the gloves and a pretty even battle of the heavyweights ensued. Konopka picked up an extra 2 minutes for instigation but the Wild couldn’t capitalise on the PP. A ragin dash through centre ice saw his long shot take a funny bounce back off the boards and through the crease but Foligno failed to carrel the puck and his attempt went just wide.

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead before the end of the period after a series of bad plays again by veterans on the Ottawa side. 1st Spezza took a ridiculous slashing penalty, retaliating as he was skating off the ice for  a line change and being caught for it. Gonchar then failed to clear the zone on the resulting PP, only sending the puck round the boards and straight back to Koivu who in turn found Heatley and he set up Setoguchi for the one timer. That was the end of the 1st period and despite a better performance the Senators still found themselves down on the scoreboard.

Brosiak had a great chance early in the 2nd period to make it 3-0 as he skated in alone on Anderson but the netminder got a piece of it and fended it off. Nick Foligno got the Senators back into the game just before the halfway stage of the 2nd as his line with Neil and Ragin did some great work in crashing the net and he tucked a loose puck away from close range. Ottawa at this point were outshooting Minnesota 10-1 in the 2nd period.

Ottawa continued to dominate the period but the score remained at 2-1 going into the 3rd. Only 2 minutes into the 3rd the Wild got their 2 goal lead back as Johnson made a strong play to the net and the puck pinballed off numerous players infront, creeping in over the line. As the play went to review the puck clearly did go completely over the line and the goal stood. This incensed Ottawa as Phillips had his stick broken on a slash as the play was made and the officials missed the call.
Chris Neil made it 3-2 with almost 14 minutes left with another goal that went to review as he clipped the puck high into the net from a tight angle. It hit the back of the netting and shot straight out which confused the officials as they original waved no goal which lead to a melee infront with players squaring off to each other in a mad few minutes of scuffling.

Michalek and Clutterbuck were both given 2 minute roughing penalties from that scuffle and a further 2 minutes were then taken by Minnesota as Zidlicky was called for high sticking. This led to open ice and some great chances for the Senators with Colin Greening tying the game on the 5 on 4 pp as he stood infront of the net acting as a screen and picked up a loose puck and found the five hole of Nicklas Backstrom.

Both teams battled for the rest of the 3rd with Minnesota coming back into the game a little. However, neither team were able to find the winning goal in regulation and it headed into OT. The overtime period was a pretty quick one with neither team able to capitalise on the open ice situation and the game headed into penalty shots. Michalek took the first shot and he buried his attempt. Koivu then missed. Both Spezza and Cullen put their attempts away meaning captain Daniel Alfredsson had the chance to win the game with his shot and he put the puck into the twine and the Sens won 4-3 after PS.

My star for the game was Chris Neil of Ottawa. He picked up a goal and an assist, was a pest all game and made some big hits when his team were 2-0 down to try and motivate the Senators. He was all over ex Ottawa man Dany Heatley, much to the delight of the home fans and his line with Ragin and Foligno played well all night.

by Adam Yates

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