Chart courtesy www.war-on-ice.com
Making his first start with the Ducks since November 7, 2007, Ilya Bryzgalov was tested almost immediately making a point blank save on Clarke MacArthur on the man advantage after MacArthur drew a holding penalty beating Ben Lovejoy to the edge. The Senators converted on the power play as Erik Karlsson delivered a slap shot pass into the slot that Milan Michalek deflected in blocker side just 2:03 into the game. Ottawa doubled their edge over six minutes later as Mark Borowiecki took a shot from the point that Bryzgalov made the initial save on but lost track of the rebound, and Mark Stone banged home the rebound to give the hosts a 2-0 lead they'd hold after one.
Recent call up Emerson Etem slotted with Ryan Kesler and Matt Beleskey on the second line, and the unit was the Ducks best in the period as all finished on ice for a net shot attempts for of nine or better. Though Anaheim ended up outshooting the Senators 12-7 in the period they didn't register their third shot on goal until just under 11 minutes had elapsed, and the vast majority of them came from outside the face off dots and beyond the circles. Goalie Craig Anderson was leaving rebounds but too often the offensive possessions were one and dones, getting the puck on net but not being able to get to the rebound or win the puck back for an extended spell in the offensive zone.
Starting the second stanza with 1:38 of power play time thanks to a carryover minor on Colin Greening for hooking, the Ducks were able to get a pair of shots on Anderson but couldn't make anything of it. The teams traded non-threatening bits of possession until around the 10 minute mark when Patrick Maroon had a wrap around chance foiled after the first extended bit of possession in the zone by the Ducks. After starting the game skating with Dany Heatley and Jakob Silfverberg, Ryan Getzlaf saw Maroon moved to the top line in place of Heatley to try and spark some offense as the period went on. Mark Fistric took a holding minor with seven minutes remaining and Mika Zibanejad took an interference call for setting a pick on Lovejoy leading to 39 seconds of four-on-four before a Ducks power play.
With the man up Anaheim was able to get a few attempts, but Rene Bourque turned the puck over in the dying moments on a cross blue line pass that Kyle Turris scooped up and took coast to coast. He cut around Sami Vatanen then walked past Bourque before ripping a wrister top shelf glove side for a shorthanded goal to extend the lead to 3-0. Less than a minute later with the puck in the Anaheim zone Colby Robak failed to clear trying to go up the middle and Mike Hoffman intercepted it, firing a shot from the slot that beat Bryzgalov to the blocker side. The Ducks would get one back before the horn as Lovejoy sprung Etem into the offensive zone up the far wing, and after skating to the corner Etem laid a pass to the slot from his knees that Getzlaf redirected home 44 seconds before intermission. Ottawa outshot the Anaheim 12-10 in the period, and the precautionary scratching of Hampus Lindholm after he took pregame warmups due to a lower body injury suffered in the third period against Montreal as well as Francois Beauchemin waiting to return from a broken hand exposed some of the lower end depth of the defense corps over the course of the game.
The Ducks showed a glimmer of hope less than two minutes in as after a Bryzgalov save Lovejoy gave the puck in the defensive zone to Getzlaf, who proceeded to go end to end making a power move along the goal line to bowl to the net and beat a bailing Anderson over his blocker side shoulder to make it a 4-2 game. It would be short lived as a few moments after Clayton Stoner tried to lead an odd man rush (you read that right) and the Ducks got a change, Cam Fowler ran into the linesman as the Senators were breaking in to the Ducks zone. Bobby Ryan slung a pass across the slot to Hoffman for a redirection that squelched any building Anaheim momentum at 5:40. Zibanejad would score off another feed from Ryan with around 3:30 remaining to put the cherry on top.
Good: These are the kind of games that are exemplary in showcasing Getzlaf's growth as a leader. Despite the squad's lack of jump being fairly visible from the onset, Getzlaf remained resilient in leading by example and scoring the pair of Anaheim goals. The second one in particular was a marvel, taking the puck at his defensive blue line and skating the entire length of the ice along the boards before dipping his shoulder and powering his way and the puck in to the net. It was one of the moments of "Let's go boys, we can get back in this one" that in different circumstances may have sparked the team to rally. Instead it's an addition to a fantastic run of individual performance during a rather bleak evening otherwise for the Ducks.
Bad: Without Lindholm and Beauchemin the defensive unit found itself particularly exposed against a quick team, as the Senators created problems and turnovers all game. Bourque's offensive blue line turnover left Vatanen in a rough spot with Turris breaking ahead shorthanded, and Robak's gift to Hoffman for the fourth goal would have been better given wrapped and under the tree as opposed to in the Anaheim zone while trailing. Injuries have made it tougher for a unit that there already were questions about, and adding fatigue of a nine-day road trip during the second leg of the second back-to-back to the depth players called upon to play significant minutes certainly didn't help. Hard to fault Bryzgalov on many of the goals against.
Ugly: Despite out-attempting the Senators in the first period, the Ducks struggled to generate shots and attempts for more than the first ten minutes of the frame. Once stuck in the bottom of a 2-0 hole they began to get more opportunities, but it was evident from the onset that the legs were tired and Anaheim would be hard pressed to get a point out of the game. Late in the third period when the Ottawa partisans started chanting "Heat-ley sucks" it wasn't so much a razz, as a collective shouting of fact. Spoke volumes that on Getzlaf's second goal Heatley was open in front of the net and the captain elected to keep it and score himself.
3rd Icehole: Kyle Turris - A two point night for the former University of Wisconsin Badger, setting up Borowiecki's point shot that lead to Stone's rebound goal in the first period, and taking advantage of an Anaheim turnover at the Senators defensive blue line shorthanded and knifing through the defense to twist a shortie wrister glove side. Turris also was the only center for Ottawa that finished above break-even at the face off dot winning 59% of his draws including all five of his third period defensive draws, while winning 71% of his defensive zone drops for the game. He also finished on the plus side of the ledger as far as net unblocked shot attempts, doing well despite being frequently matched up against Getzlaf.
2nd Icehole: Dany Heatley - It's a good thing Anaheim only spent one million dollars for a one year experiment with Heatley, but even at that they may have overpaid. To say he was phantasmal would be an insult to ghosts, because by their mere existence they'd be more spirited than the former 50 goal scorer's showing tonight. In 13:54 he managed one shot on goal while being on ice for a net six unblocked shot attempts against (second worst on the team), and a team worst net eight shot attempts against at five on five. Not getting back or being involved defensively is one thing when you're regularly lighting the lamp, it's another thing entirely when you've come back from a lengthy groin injury after being booed during your AHL rehabilitation stint.
1st Icehole: Mike Hoffman - Hoffman was involved in the offense for the Sens all night, scoring on two of his three shots, being on ice for a team leading net six unblocked shot attempts for at all strengths and four unblocked shot attempts for at five on five. Not only did he take full advantage of Robak's turnover as part of the knockout one-two punch 41 seconds apart in the second period, but Hoffman also pretty well quashed any building momentum after Getzlaf's third period opener with his team-leading tenth goal of the season just under four minutes later. Not bad for a former fifth round draft pick playing in his first full NHL season.
Next Game: Monday, December 22, 2014 vs San Jose, 7:00 PM PT