WHY THE SENATORS LOST
There was a shootout. If the Senators’ 16-30 record in game-ending talent contests isn’t the worst in the NHL since the lockout, it’s pretty darn close. This one will be tough to swallow, considering they hopped out to a quick lead and then settled into a boring, grinding, effective road style the rest of the way. A couple of mental mistakes here and sizzling shots by top ‘Hawks there, however, and the end result was a familiar one. Another disappointing loss.
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks
Only one goal will count toward his official stats, but both were critical. No. 88 scored his 88th career goal at the 7:50 mark of the third period, then snapped another past Brian Elliott’s glove in the shootout to lock down two points for the defending Stanley Cup champs.
Erik Karlsson, Senators
If Karlsson were a comic book supervillain, he’d be Two-Face. One game, he’s displaying silky-smooth skating and incredible puck skills. The next, he’s costing his team goals and points with inept defensive play. His generous giveaway to Kane at the Ottawa blue line late in the third period helped gift-wrap a home win for the Blackhawks.
It’s a little late for moral victories, but the Senators can claim one here. They played hard and showed plenty of heart for 60 minutes, which as been a rare occurance this season. By tying things up with just 1:25 left in the third period, they were at least able to leave Chicago with something to show for their efforts. It won’t erase the stench of a putrid first half of the season, but it’s a step in the right direction.
- 2001: The last time the Senators won a game in Chicago.
- 2: Points for Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, giving him four in his last three games.
- 1: Goal for Chicago’s Patrick Sharp, his third in as many games.
- 24: Saves for Corey Crawford in a winning effort.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
For a few brief hours Friday, it looked like forever-injured goaltender Pascal Leclaire would be ready to return from a mystery ailment that had kept him out of the lineup for six games. Shortly after coach Cory Clouston said as much, Leclaire suffered a setback that forced young Swede Robin Lehner to scramble to the Windy City. He didn’t get there until the dying minutes of the first period, begging the question: Who would have played if starter Brian Elliott had to leave the game? Our best guess is 6’4, 224-pound Filip Kuba would have donned the pads.
Oh no, Fernando. ‘Hawks winger Fernando Pisani will be seeing Brian Elliott in his nightmares for the next day or two, after he was robbed of two almost-sure goals. Elliott took away a perfect top corner shot with a lightning-quick glove in the first period, then slid post-to-post to deny Pisani again during a 2-on-1 in the second.