After holding a 1-0 lead into the 2nd on an early 1st period goal by Chris Neil, the Ottawa Senators fell flat midway into the period against the New York Rangers, allowing Derek Stepan to tie the game at the 8:55 mark. Two late and questionalble penalties in the eyes of many on Filip Kuba and Nick Foligno gave the Rangers a 5-on-3 advantage which New York used to take and establish the lead on a powerplay goal by Brad Richards. Chris Kreider scored his first of the series with 41 seconds left in the period to stake the Rangers to an insurmountable 3-1 lead. Jason Spezza would close the gap with 39 seconds remaining in the 3rd, but the final score would stand at 3-2 in favour of New York.
Listless Second Period
Questionable calls by the referees or not, for some reason, Ottawa lost their drive in the 2nd period, and played listless, followed by frustrated. Not that they were rolling at any point, but that was no way to protect a 1-goal lead in the most important game of the year. After a spirited 1st period by both teams, Ottawa stopped skating. Derek Stepan’s power-play goal was predictable, as Ottawa allowed New York to stand pat with possession. While it looked like Ottawa could have done damage control after Brad Richard’s 5-on-3 goal which gave New York the lead, they burned themselves by allowing New York to go up two going into the second intermission. Neither side was tested very much in net tonight, with Henrik Lundqvist handling 27 shots to Craig Anderson’s 22. But powerplay chances were also the story of the night, with New York going 2-7 on the man-advantage and Ottawa going 1-5. In a game where Ottawa lost their legs at the midway point, New York took advantage of their opportunities in the 2nd period and shut the door in the 3rd.
It has to be said
So the momentum swing is now back in the Rangers’ favour. As they say, when you stop moving your feet, you end up taking penalties, so for their sake, they will need to switch this around in time for yet another biggest game of the year. Chris Neil was the most active player on the ice tonight for the Senators, but again, they need more from their cast of stars. Daniel Alfredsson unfortunately was one step behind on two great consecutive chances in the 3rd. But Milan Michalek ignored a great opportunity to shoot on a 3-on-2 in the first period. And while it drew a penalty, Jason Spezza had a glorious chance to shoot in the second which he decided against. Between Spezza and Michalek tonight, they had 2 shots in total. Also, outside of his lone goal in Game 2 which was deflected in off of Michael Del Zotto, Erik Karlsson has been absent on the scoresheet up to this point throughou, which at this point has to be conspicuous. For the game tonight, 13 shots through the first two periods of any game just doesn’t cut it for anyone. Thirteen. They need to shoot more. The insertion of Silfverberg, Stone or Butler can only help this cause to a certain point. The team as a whole cannot wait for the final 3 minutes of the game to shoot the puck. They need to stop putting themselves in a position where they are forced to steal the win every night.
Game 7 on Thursday at MSG
So this sets up the finale of the series in New York on Thursday. When Ottawa has chosen to play up to New York this series, they’ve shown that they have the extra in the tank to keep things close and pull things out. But MSG will be loud and the Sens will have to find a way to play the full 60 minutes, which they did not showcase tonight. It will be this young team’s biggest test of the season. Hopefully at this point, the wind has not left the Sens sails yet, and they can pick themselves up after tonight.
All said, it’s a Game 7. And there’s nothing like that.
So until Thursday. Thank you for reading.