The Ottawa Senators returned home tonight to take on the Carolina Hurricanes to a big ovation from the home crowd who were eager to salute their team’s hard work this season and celebrate them clinching a playoff spot.
Unfortunately the team could not reward their fans with a win as they fell 2-1.
With a spot assured the Senators change gears into chase mode as they try and catch the New Jersey Devils for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Devils were taking on the New York Islanders tonight.
The first period did little to impress, with very few chances from either team, and very little flow to the game. The best chances came late in the period when Chris Neil had a partial breakaway, only to be stoned by Cam Ward.
Not to be out done Jeff Skinner looked like he had scored for the Hurricanes just moments later when his hard shot bounced high off of Craig Anderson’s blocker, but Anderson was able to cover the puck before it went across the goalline.
Brandon Sutter got things going for Carolina early in the second when he ripped a shot from the top of the circle past Anderson that the Ottawa netminder would probably like to have back.
Chris Neil appeared to have tied the game with just over seven minutes remaining in the period, but the play was overturned when the war room officials deemed the Neil batted the puck into the net with his arm.
The teams went to the locker room with Carolina up 2-0 after Tuomo Ruutu scored a powerplay goal with Nick Foligno off serving a kneeing penalty.
The Senators couldn’t get anything going in the third mostly due to an inability to stay out of the box as Neil got running around trying to pulverize anything that moved in a Hurricanes jersey, and really killed any momentum his team may have had. You really can’t blame Neil for his actions, he was trying to spark his team, but the referees simply wouldn’t allow it, and threw him in the box for his efforts.
This was really not a well officiated game from the Senators point of view.
Jason Spezza broke Ward’s shutout bid with just 11 seconds left in the game, but it was too little too late for Ottawa.
Next the Senators will take on the Boston Bruins in what is likely a first round preview on Thursday night. Look for sparks to fly and messeges to be sent by both teams.