-Ottawa overcome a 1-0 deficit in the final 30 seconds of the game to beat the Penguins 2-1 in double overtime. Craig Anderson made 49 saves for the win, while Daniel Alfredsson (short-handed off a fantastic feed from Milan Michalek) and Colin Greening scored for Ottawa. The game was markedly more physical than the previous two, and featured the awful officiating we all expect (Eric Furlatt and Stephen Walkom on this occasion). It was a mixed bag from Erik Karlsson, who was solid in regulation, but then turnover-happy overtime. There was more great play from Erik Condra, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Greening (and a tip of the hat to Andre Benoit who was instrumental on the game winning goal). Jason Spezza did not play much (18:40) and his most notable moment for me was being run over by Craig Adams. Chris Neil was injured on a hit from Brooks Orpik, but whether he will miss any action or not remains unknown (speculation is a shoulder injury). Cory Conacher played the least of any Sen (13:22) with Mika Zibanejad not far ahead of him. Here’s the boxscore. Ryan Classic‘s overview of the game is solid, although he doesn’t reference that the ticky-tack call on Niskanen was a make-up call for the absurd Chris Phillips penalty. Alan Muir offers some thoughts on the game where he emphasizes Anderson‘s play and some Pittsburgh mistakes. Scott Burnside balances Penguin failure with the Senators doggedness.
-Daniel Alfredsson talked about the game:
It doesn’t always work out, but we always believe we can do it. That’s a good feeling to have. With a minute and half to go we get a penalty and it doesn’t look good, but we know we have some skill, we made some good passes and found an opening and it gives us a chance to win. We’re right back in it.
-Scott had the scoring chances in game two 10/23.
-Sylvain St-Laurent wonders if playoff performances will assure Pageau and Benoit roster spots in Ottawa next season. I think the former is a lock, but I’m not sure that Benoit has the same kind of guarantee.
-Mark Parisi added to his Michalek-Bad column by saying Erik Karlsson, Cory Conacher, and Jakob Silfverberg are struggling–two out of three ain’t bad. Silfverberg has been fine this series, albeit his usual linemates (Zibanejad and Conacher) have struggled and that might lead to Parisi’s impression (for Paul Maclean’s two cents I’d point to Silfverberg‘s third highest ice time among forwards last night).
-Jared Crozier explores the possibilities of a conspiracy against the Sens in regards to the officiating:
I hate thinking that the league might secretly favor one team advancing instead of another and that they might have some secret directive. I don’t think they do, but games like this make my opinion waver.
This idea can be pretty easy to gravitate too (like when Dan O’Halloran rolled his eyes at Karlsson after getting high-sticked by Malkin in game two), and comments by the lamentable Adam Proteau don’t help (I’m not sure how Adam thinks fans would have “definitive proof” of officials colluding–that’s the kind of thing journalists are supposed to look into). Would the league prefer Sidney Crosby to move on to the next round over small-market Ottawa? Sure. Is there a directive from the league to make that happen? Of course not, the league isn’t that stupid. Are the officials aware of what makes the most sense for the league? Absolutely. Does it impact the calls they make? I don’t see how anyone could answer that question. Rather than look for conspiracies I’ve always preferred simply saying the officiating is awful. Calls get ignored on both sides and the complete lack of consistency makes it almost impossible to determine if there is favouritism or not.
-Speaking of Proteau (link above), even he thinks the officiating this playoff year has been awful (similar comments were made last year as well), but offers no solution for it.
-Jason Spezza talked about his back surgery:
It got to the point [last year] where I couldn’t go out to dinner with the guys, I’d eat standing up. I slept on the floor. I’d start on the bed and wind up on the floor. Those were pretty dark times. Toward the end of last year, I felt a bit of stuff. But it was manageable. I played over in Switzerland and it was manageable. For whatever reason, one or two games into the season, it flared up. I wasn’t messing around with it. I took a cortisone shot and it didn’t do anything. When you take a cortisone shot and it doesn’t work, you know it’s time for surgery. It was an instant relief. The nerve pain goes away almost instantly. Then there’s a whole bunch of weakness that follows because they cut through the muscles. I knew what to expect. The surgeon warned me ahead of time that this might shut me down for the year. Fortunately for me, the team has played for so long and given me a chance to get back. It’s better than before I had surgery, but it’s going to take awhile before I feel 100%. At no point did I think that my year was over. Mentally, I had to keep feeling me like I could play. That’s gotten me to where I was feeling better and could ramp up my rehab to the point where I can now play. It’s not very fun being the first guy at the rink and the first guy to leave … not being around the guys, not getting the stimulation of playing. The first time I went on the ice to shoot pucks, I felt like a kid again. Once you have back problems, they never really leave you. It’s kind of a daily grind. I’ve done exercises every day for the last six years. My wife doesn’t like when I have to sit on the floor and stretch instead of sitting on the couch with her. I wouldn’t wish back pain on my worst enemy.
-I wonder if anyone still thinks the Sens miss Matt Carkner and Zenon Konopka–maybe Jeremy Milks, who was sure the team was much worse without them.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)