Ottawa 2, New York Rangers 3

Ottawa scored early in the game, but ran into penalty trouble and couldn’t recover.  It wasn’t a great game for the officials (Steve Kozari and Ottawa favourite Tim Peel), Craig Anderson, or the Sens first unit powerplay, and all will need to improve in game seven.  Silfverberg‘s debut was mixed, with good effort mixed in with turnovers.  Here’s the box score.

First Period
The Sens had good jump to start, but the main event early was Turris getting hurt blocking a shot.  Michalek had a chance in the slot, but couldn’t decide what to do with the puck and lost it.  Rangers took the first penalty and while the first unit couldn’t accomplish much, Neil scored on a deflection with the second unit.  Turris returned after the goal.  Silfverberg made a great defensive play on Dubinsky on a rush, but Carkner took a delay of game penalty on the play.  Prust took a run at Karlsson that went uncalled.  A couple of minutes later Neil and Prust fought.  Smith took a penalty late in the period, but the Sens did an excellent job killing it off.  Overall Ottawa dominated the first half of the period, while the Rangers dominated the second half.
Second Period
Rangers had some initial pressure, but the Sens quickly started to push back and swing the momentum.  Gonchar made a great play around the five minute mark that gave Michalek a scoring chance (he couldn’t beat Lundqvist five-hole).  Anderson made a great save on Richardson on the next shift.  Condra drew a penalty to put the Sens on the powerplay (Spezza had a great chance in the slot, but didn’t shoot).  Kuba made a great block on a Rangers 2-on-1 chance shorthanded and Michalek took a penalty before the penalty was over and the Rangers scored on the powerplay.  Silfverberg was called for a light shove on McDonagh to put the Rangers back on the powerplay.  The Sens killed the penalty and Alfredsson had a great chance right in front after it was over.  Kreider took a goaltender interference call, but the Rangers had the first good chance off a Spezza giveaway and the Sens wound up taking a penalty; Foligno took another right afterwards.  Anderson made a couple of decent saves on the 4-on-3, but then let in a soft goal to Richards on the 5-on-3.  Prust had a breakaway not long after and hit the post, but the Rangers scored moments later as Kreider put home a cross-ice feed.
Third Period
Turris drew an early penalty where Phillips hit the post and Turris had a great opportunity in close.  Turris took a slashing penalty afterwards, but Ottawa did a good job on the PK.  Anderson made a good save off Anisimov after a Konopka turnover and then stopped Callahan on a 2-on-1.  Gaborik took a penalty on a great shift by the Sens and Foligno had the best chance right at the end of the powerplay.  Silfverberg had a great chance with seven minutes to go, but his shot fluttered wide of the net.  Neil had a chance on the following play, but couldn’t get the puck through the crowd.  Del Zotto hit Neil in the head on the play, but there was no call.  Foligno had another chance in close on the next shift.  Spezza scored with the goalie pulled, his shot going through a huge crowd in front, but the Sens never got another chance on net following the goal.  Ottawa dominated most of the period.

Here’s a look at the goals:
1. Neil (Gonchar, Foligno) (pp)
Neil deflects Gonchar’s shot beating Lundqvist high
2. Rangers, Stepan (pp)
Deflects in a great cross-ice pass as Condra is late on the backcheck
3. Rangers, Richards (pp)
A 5-on-3 goal that Anderson should have had as the puck goes between his arm and his body
4. Rangers, Kreider
Spezza is lazy on the backcheck leaving Kreider wide open for a cross-ice feed
5. Spezza (Greening)
Fires the puck at a crowd in front and it somehow goes in (looked like Neil kicked it in, but he didn’t actually touch the puck)

Top-performers:
Filip Kuba – did yeomans work defensively
Chris Neil – scored the first goal and was a force in the game

Players Who Struggled:
Craig Anderson – he can’t let in bad goals in this series and he did

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Senators News: April 23rd

-As reported everywhere Daniel Alfredsson will play tonight.  Ian Mendes Tweets that Jakob Silfverberg thinks he’s playing tonight (Paul  MacLean was cagey in confirming it), which makes me think Mark Stone and Bobby Butler will come out of the lineup (speculation on my part).

Michael Grange writes about how Jason Spezza is constantly criticised no matter what he does.  Grange points out that Spezza‘s numbers over his career are excellent and compare well with other elite players.  The whole article is worth reading and I highly recommend it.

Joy Lindsay talked to Tim Murray about Binghamton’s season.  He discussed a number of things, saying that injuries and the lack of a #1 defensemen hurt the team.  In terms of signing veterans, “I think certainly at least one veteran defenseman, and certainly one or two veteran forwards. Up front, we do have a lot of bodies, and it may be hard to get two or three vets, but certainly one top-end one would be nice, and another complementary guy would be what we’d be looking for. But you have to think that the young guys that have been there a year or two years that don’t make our team next year, at some point you’ve got to consider them vets. I don’t think playing in the league seven years is the criteria for being a veteran. I think that after you’ve played 100 games in that league and were somewhat successful on an individual basis, we should be able to count on good, important minutes from those players.”  When talking about the development of players he singled out Mike Hoffman and David Dziurzynski and implied Andre Petersson and Stephane Da Costa would be back in Binghamton next year.

-Apparently season series sometimes do mean something, at least in the case of Pittsburgh-Philadelphia.  Despite holding all the overall statistical advantages the Penguins were no match for the Flyers.  As I mentioned in my prediction (an incorrect prediction, as with almost everyone else I picked Pittsburgh), I’m not a fan of Marc-Andre Fleury and he set a record for the worst save percentage (.834) for playoff goalies who played at least six games.  The teams combined for 56 goals (30 for the Flyers, 26 for Pittsburgh), which is vintage 1980s hockey and has to scare the hell out of whoever faces the Flyers in the second round.  Only two games were close (games one and five) with the rest being blowouts.