Ottawa Senators- 4, Anaheim Ducks- 3, Shootout
A win in Anaheim last night doesn’t exactly make the Senators west coast road trip a success, but a win is a win. The Ottawa Senators snapped a 4 game losing streak in a shootout win against the Anaheim Ducks, thanks to Alex Kovalev and Daniel Alfredsson. While it was a weird back-and-forth type of game, it was a game Ottawa deserved to win. In a strange way, Ottawa jumping out to 3 different 1 goal leads could be a good thing for the team moving forward. It showed Senators have character, resilience, and drive.
Without any further delays, here are last night’s Classy, Non-Classy, and Could-Have-Been-Classier moments.
This might be a first for our Senators reviews. Last night’s Classy player was Jonathan Cheechoo. I know he ended the game without any points (and a -1), but he played a large role in the Jarkko Ruutu goal with great forechecking and drew a few penalties early in the game. The key to Cheechoo’s strong performance (last night and over the last few games) has been his desire to win 1 on 1 battles and keeping his feet moving. I haven’t seen Cheechoo skate this well in an Ottawa jersey all season. Let’s hope he’s finally got his game going.
An honourable mention goes to Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks. Perry took 27 shifts and registered 23:44 minutes in Sunday’s game, but it seemed like he never left the ice. He was a force all night – along the boards, in the corners, and most importantly on the scoreboard. Perry may be the most talented ‘pest’ in the NHL. His strong play this season (he’s currently tied with Sidney Crosby for 3rd in the NHL in points) has got the attention of Steve Yzerman and the decision makers behind the Canadian Olympic roster.
Last night’s Non-Classy goes to Senators goalie Brian Elliott. I found Elliott’s play last night inconsistent and sluggish, especially as the game went on. In key moments in the 3rd period, with the game tied at 3, Elliott’s reactions were slow and lethargic. I’m not entirely sure how some of Anaheim’s quality scoring chances weren’t goals. You can tell Elliott has lost his confidence as of late. He’s not challenging shooters and is deep in his crease (on the goal line). This was very telling in the 2nd and 3rd Anaheim goals last night. Elliott could also be fatigued as he’s started the last 8 Senators games.
What was up with the referee’s last night? By far, they get the Could-Have-Been-Classier nod of the evening. Early in the game, the ref’s were letting penalties go and I can live with that. What I can’t understand is how or why they let so much go in the 3rd period. There were countless amounts of plays from both teams that could have been penalties (Corey Perry’s trip on Anton Volchenkov, Jarrko Ruutu’s interference with J.S. Giguere, the hit from behind on Erik Karlsson, etc…) in the 3rd period that were called in the penalty filled 2nd period.
Up next, the Ottawa Senators host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place. I’d like to see Ottawa get back to their strong play and aggressive Cory Clouston style. The Senators defense stood still at times last night and allowed Anaheim to attack their zone freely. Ultimately, this cost them the 3rd goal (Perry’s backhand) – they kept backing up and didn’t push back on the Ducks. I’d also like to see Ottawa clamp down on the number of turnovers, bad passes, and giveaways in the neutral zone. Against a quicker team like Montreal, players like Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec will score on those kinds of chances.
Stay classy, Ottawa Senators.