They knew they were in desperate need of a win and blasted out of the gates. The Senators put up as many shots in the first 15 minutes as they did the entire game against Montreal and broke the 15-year-old record for quickest two goals in team history. Erik Karlsson and Alex Kovalev tallied just nine seconds apart — one tick quicker than Martin Straka and Antti Tormanen managed in 1995 — en route to a 3-0 lead by the first intermission. Game over.
Sergei Gonchar, Senators
Any hockey player who appears in 1,000 NHL games deserves this designation. Gonchar didn’t hit the scoresheet in his milestone game, but his power play management contributed to Ottawa’s early lead. He fed Daniel Alfredsson at the opposite point, leading to a booming shot and a rebound goal. But that’s besides the point.
Jason LaBarbera, Coyotes
One might argue that the Senators were lucky to face a journeyman backup goaltender instead of a Vezina Trophy finalist. One might also argue you make your own luck. Either way, Jason LaBarbara was awful and got the hook after just 20 minutes. The first goal wasn’t his fault, but the second came on a weak shot and the third from behind his net.
The players getting the most heat for poor starts were the Senators’ best Tuesday night. Struggling sophomore Erik Karlsson popped in a rebound and Ottawa’s second-favourite whipping boy, Kovalev, finally notched his first two goals of the year. The assists on the first one came from oft-criticized youngsters Peter Regin and Nick Foligno. Foligno should have had his first goal as well, but hit a post instead of a wide-open net behind the sprawling LaBarbera.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
Fans left the game happy, but they were miserable when they arrived. General manager Bryan Murray was heartily booed when he stepped on the ice for a pre-game ceremony honouring Gonchar, as patrons vented their anger over Ottawa’s 2-5-1 record prior to this contest. Scotiabank Place had a mausoleum feel until Karlsson opened the scoring at 5:27.
- 1998: The last time the Coyotes won a hockey game in Ottawa
- 0-3-0: Phoenix’s record in the second of back-to-back games this season
- 3-0-0: Ottawa’s record when scoring first this season
- 0-7: Coyotes’ power play performance Tuesday night
- 17: Saves by Jason LaBarbera before getting pulled
It’s easy to see why the Coyotes miss Shane Doan when he’s out of the lineup. The captain returned from a three-game suspension for his head hit on Anaheim forward Dan Sexton and created havoc in front of Ottawa netminder Brian Elliott all night. The Senators almost lost their two-goal lead early in the second period when they allowed the hulking winger to park himself in front and jam away at a loose puck uncontested.