Ottawa - Nov. 21, 2011 - The Ottawa Senators were an Erik Condra tip away from winning their 4th straight road game and a sweep of the west coast Canadian teams. Corey Schneider made the overtime save off Condra’s stick and the Canucks Chris Higgins scored the overtime winner thirty seconds later to give Vancouver the win.
After falling behind on a deflection which went off of Chris Philips stick, the Senators bounced back to tie the game and gain a valuable point on the day.
The game was wide open and could’ve went either way with both goaltenders playing great games. The Senators had the better of the scoring change. With the exception of a Colin Greening goal on an excellent pass from Jason Spezza, Schneider couldn’t be beat on the night. The Senators have taken seven out of ten points on this road trip and the coaching staff can’t be upset with the effort in tonight’s game.
Alex Auld was the surprise starter for tonight’s game against the Canucks after Craig Anderson was hurt during practice earlier today. Auld stopped 25 of 27 shots in the game, including a beautiful glove save on a 2-1 late in the second period. Auld couldn’t be faulted on either of the Canucks two goals, the first one deflected off the stick of Chris Phillips and the second was a Chris Higgins deflection on a screen shot, with Philip Kuba providing the screen.
It was nice to see Auld have a good game. Auld has struggled this year, going into the game with a goals against average of 4.13 and a save percentage of .828. Tonight’s game will not only improve his number but it should improve his confidence too which has been shaky.
Word out of Vancouver is that Anderson will be ready to go Friday in Pittsburgh. If not, it was nice to see Auld play a great game, which will also give the other Senator players confidence in him.
The Senators are now struggling on the power play. The Senators went 0 for 5 on the power play tonight and have not scored a power play goal in thier last 15 opportunities going back to a second period power play goal by Nick Foligno in Toronto. The Senators were first in the NHL on the power play earlier in the season and have now slipped to seventh in the NHL with 15 power play goals on 72 power plays for a 20.8% rating.
The Senators seem to be passing too much on the power play. One of the things the Senators did successfully early in the season was to put one or two players in front of the net and a player half way down to the goal line. The Senators are still keeping someone on the half way but they seem to be too far out from the net. The Senators need to shoot the puck more.
The Senators now lead the league in missed shots. Eric Karlsson misfired on four or five shots alone.
The penalty killing unit successfully killed off three of four short handed situation this game and have dropped to 23rd in the league.
It sure looked like Alex Burrows purposely opened the door when Jesse Winchester was hit into the boards by Max Lappierre. The replay clearly shows Burrows with his hand on the door and making a motion to open the door.
There were a lot of Senators fans in the crowd in Vancouver.
Zack Smith had another strong game. Smith leads the team, along with Jesse Winchester with a +/- rating of plus four. Smith was physical all night and had three good scoring chances. Too bad he missed the net on two of those three chances.