Marc Methot might have put it best in a post-game tweet.
“A dirty, greasy, pesky hard working win by the boys,” said the Senators defenceman, who happened to be playing in his 300th NHL game.
That sums up Ottawa’s 3-2 win at MSG Friday night. Fighting back after blowing a 2-0 first period lead. Knowing the New York Rangers had played an overtime game the night before, the Senators forced the play in the third period, pumping 17 shots at Henrik Lundqvist in the Rangers goal, and producing the winner by fellow Swede Jakob Silfverberg with less than five minutes remaining.
BIG SWEDISH NEWS?
Silfverberg, an NHL rookie, was asked if his goal against the legendary Swedish goalie would be big news back home.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be big at all, probably something in the newspaper but for me it was a big goal at least,” said the soft-spoken Silfverberg, smiling.
As Silfverberg said, even the best goalies have to “let one in every once in a while and it was a lot of fun to get that one in, especially on Henrik.”
That’s twice Silfverberg has beaten King Henry with a big goal. He also scored in the shootout in Ottawa’s home ice win over the Rangers.
Each one is special.
“Of course it is, he’s one of the best goaltenders in the world and yeah, it was a lot of fun,” Silfverberg said.
The win meant more to Senators goaltender Robin Lehner than anyone.
As a boy, Lehner would watch as his father, Michael, coached Lundqvist on goaltending technique. Lehner soaked it in, including tips from Lundqvist. Did he find it distracting finally facing him in an NHL game?
“No, (Thursday) was tougher,” Lehner said, after making 33 saves to record the victory. “I was very anxious to play against him. But when game day comes, I don’t play against the other goalie I play against the puck.”
Lehner fought and lost the puck on the first goal, by Rick Nash, but bounced back to make a couple of game-saving stops – none better than the blocker save on Derek Stepan in the third.
MAC LIKES IT
Head coach Paul MacLean was thrilled with his team’s effort, citing a couple of physical shifts by Mika Zibanejad and Chris Neil to change the momentum in the third. He sensed the hunger in his team.
“We needed to win,” MacLean said. “We hadn’t won on the road for a long time (Feb. 18 in New Jersey) and we were in a position to do that. I thought we stepped up and showed some determination to win the game.
“That’s what you have to do on the road, you need everybody playing hard.”
MacLean lauded Silfverberg’s play, despite the fact he had only one shot. The game winner.
“Silfverberg was on the puck, wanted the puck,” MacLean said. “(Kyle) Turris really fought hard for the centre of the rink and Colin Greening, well, hopefully we can be patient enough to let them stay together for a while and see what they can do.”
ALFIE: TEAM WILLED IT
“We’ve been playing OK on the road, but we haven’t been able to find the killer instinct to get the win,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson. “We knew tonight, the 5th game on the road, would be a big boost for our team. I thought we did a great job of laying it on the line in the third period and it feels great to get the two points.”
For whatever reason, the Senators own MSG, with a 12-1-1 record in their past 14 games, including six straight.
“I think everybody enjoys coming to New York and feeding off the energy the city brings,” Alfredsson said. “This building is fantastic. I don’t know if I can pinpoint any thing we do to be successful, but I’m not going to argue against it.”
Alfredsson felt the key to the win was moving the puck in the third period.
“We used our speed, and got the forecheck going shift after shift.”
19 FOR PHILLIPS
It isn’t every day Chris Phillips draws 19 minutes in penalties. In fact, it has never happened to him.
But when Phillips didn’t like Micheal Haley’s hit on Jim O’Brien, Phillips took him and received two minutes for instigating a fight, two more for instigating while wearing a visor, the five for fighting and a game misconduct.
Replays showed the hit on O’Brien wasn’t all that severe, more of a push at high speed that sent him flying.
“He had a good head of speed going, whether it was a charge or not he was trying to get him pretty good,” Phillips said. “And after what’s gone on the last couple of games (Dave Dziurzynski getting knocked out in Toronto), and in Philly, I thought that was the appropriate thing to do.”
Phillips admitted his body grew stiff sitting in the “best seat in the house” during his penalty. All was well that ended well.
“A huge win for us,” Phillips said. “I think in our last 10 road games we had one win. Just to get back in the win column was big for us and the way we did it . . . we were able to weather their comeback and not get down. A push back and a timely goal for us in the end.”