Ottawa 2, New Jersey 4

The final game of the regular season was the expected no-hitter with little intensity.  Ottawa did themselves a favour by losing to New Jersey in regulation and with a little help can play the Rangers instead of Boston.  The broadcast was handled by the CBC’s Bob Cole and every time I hear him I wonder when they are finally going to put him out to pasture (today Alfredsson became Anderson, which was entertaining).  Here’s the box score.

First Period
The Sens started the game half-asleep, but prevented the Devils from any good chances.  Turris got hauled down on Ottawa’s first opportunity (no call), which was followed by an Ottawa penalty that was killed off very efficiently.  Anderson and Foligno giveaways presented the Devils with their first opportunities, which was followed by a 2-on-1 with Sykora unable to capitalise.  Brodeur put a weak backhand from Gilroy into his own net to give the Sens the early lead.  The Devils tied the game on the powerplay with a great shot from Kovalchuk.  In the final minute Greening had a great chance in the slot, but couldn’t put it home.
Second Period
The Sens started the period on the powerplay, but struggled to get set-up in the Devils zone and gave up a short-handed opportunity.  Smith had the first good chance for Ottawa.  New Jersey took over with a couple of excellent scoring chances in the middle of the frame.  A great shift from Ottawa’s Bingo line resulted in a goal by O’BrienAnderson made a huge save on a Sykora breakaway while the Devils were on the powerplay, but the Sens gave up a 5-on-1 as Klinkhammer, Alfredsson, and Cowen got caught deep and Sykora tied the game.  Michalek had a great chance late to tie it, but shot the puck over the net and then Anderson passed the puck to Kovalchuk whom he stopped on the terrific chance.
Third Period
The Sens had the first good chance of the period as Daugavins was in all alone.  Ottawa had the better chances through the first half of the period.  The Devils took the lead as Gonchar got watching the puck on a 2-on-2 instead of the man and Gionta banged in the rebound.  The Sens got a late powerplay, but had trouble getting pucks to the net.  Parise had a chance to finish the game, but Anderson made a great save.  Greening was unable to capitalise on a great feed from Karlsson late in the game and then Kovalchuk wrapped things up with an empty-netter.

Here’s a look at the goals:
1. Gilroy (Turris, Foligno)
Throws the puck on net with a weak backhand and Brodeur deflects it into his own net
2. New Jersey, Kovalchuk (pp)
Beats Anderson far side from the faceoff dot
3. O’Brien (Condra, Gilroy)
A great pass by Condra through the slot to O’Brien who roofs it on Brodeur
4. New Jersey, Sykora (pp)
Sens give up a 5-on-1 and capitalise on a nice passing play
5. New Jersey, Gionta
Alfredsson forces Ponikarovsky to throw a weak backhand on Anderson who kicks the rebound out and Gonchar is caught watching the puck so Gionta bangs it in
6. New Jersey, Kovalchuk (en)

Top-performers:
Jim O’Brien – excellent on the PK and scored a great goal
Chris Phillips – strong defensively and solid offensively
Matt Gilroy – it was a mixed bag defensively, but you can’t argue with his goal and assist

Players Who Struggled:
Jason Spezza – lapped the field with turnovers

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