Senators push Hawks to the end, but fall on home ice
March 17, 2017, 11:06 AM ET [23 Comments]
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If Bobby Ryan were Mark Stone, it might have had a different ending.
Alas, Ryan is not Stone, and he is not even Bobby Ryan of three years ago. Perhaps it was the 11 game layoff with a broken finger, but then again he wasn't burying much before he got hurt.
Ottawa went toe to toe with the Blackhawks, one of the elite teams in the league and were an open net away from sending the game to overtime...twice. Both times it was Ryan who missed, the first time mistiming a bank off the back boards and the second time allowing his stick to be tied up so that he couldn't re-direct a pass from Kyle Turris past Scott Darling.
Maybe someone else (Stone) buries one (or both) of the chances, maybe they don't. We will never know. The bottom line is, Ryan needs to produce if the Senators are going to make noise in the post-season, whatever line he ends up playing on when Stone returns. And if not produce, at least he needs to compete and I don't think his level of intensity (is that how you spell it?) is anywhere close to where it should be, salary aside.
It isn't the time for moral victories, but the Senators played a solid game and even Guy Boucher was happy with the effort if not the final result. And even when they win you don't always get the positive out of Boucher that he expressed in his post-game press conference.
Mike Condon was stellar for the second straight game and could have easily earned a point or two but it wasn't meant to be. Richard Panik one-timed a Patrick Kane pass from behind the net and Condon had no chance on the well-placed shot to the roof of the net. It gave Chicago its second lead of the night, in a game that was scoreless for more than 48 minutes. Duncan Keith had given them the lead on a shot that Condon initially saved, but didn't know where the puck was and it trickled in as he had fallen backward. It looked like that might stand up as the winner, but Ottawa tied it up with a power play goal by Kyle Turris just over three minutes later.
The winner from Panik came on a power play, which was a result of back to back penalties. Both slashing calls, resulted in broken Blackhawk sticks. I get the first one that was assessed to Derick Brassard, it was a pretty good hack that shattered the stick, but the second one was basically an effort to stop the shot, it wasn't much of a slash and the stick of Marian Hossa crumpled. (Hossa broke another stick on the ensuing power play in pretty much the same spot without a whack, so maybe it was a bad batch?).
I get that the call is almost automatic, but the Methot on Hossa was borderline, and with the Senators already down a man I don't know if I like that call, and it resulted in the game winner. I can also see that if it wasn't called the other side would also have a fit about the non-call, so C'est la vie.
Hossa got a nice ovation from the crowd he started his career in front of, on the occasion of his 1,300th NHL game. Do I ever feel old knowing that stat.
Ottawa moves on to the most important week of their season, and will play Montreal in a back to back, home and home series Saturday and Sunday. Ottawa trails Montreal by a point for first in the Atlantic Division after failing to tie or pass them with the loss to Chicago, the Senators first regulation loss in 7 games.