Shootout chance surprised Daugavins

The Ottawa Senators just keep finding ways to win. Lost in the disarray of another potentially devastating injury – this time to early Hart and Vezina Trophy candidate Craig Anderson – was another scrappy two points for the injury-plagued Senators Thursday night at Scotiabank Place.

The Ottawa Senators just keep finding ways to win.

Lost in the disarray of another potentially devastating injury – this time to early Hart and Vezina Trophy candidate Craig Anderson – was another scrappy two points for the injury-plagued Senators Thursday night at Scotiabank Place.

It was their second shootout win in the last three games, after beating Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils on Monday.

“You’re singing a different tune when you lose in the shootout than when you win,” said defenceman Patrick Wiercioch, who was Ottawa’s sixth shooter. “It’s great when you do win those and you feel like you deserve to win when you lose.”

With key players Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Milan Michalek – among others – already sidelined, the Senators continue to get production from unlikely sources.

Earlier in the week, it was a pair of first career goals from Andre Benoit and Dave Dziurzynski that propelled the Sens to victory over a motivated New York Islanders side who had just been thumped 7-0 the night before.

And Thursday night, it was a “lucky” shootout tally from Kaspars Daugavins that did the trick over a Rangers squad many expected to pace the Eastern Conference this year.

“I was hoping we were going to finish it in three shooters, and after that it just kept going,” Daugavins said Friday morning. “Me and Smitty were laughing that we both shot. I expected a couple guys to go ahead of me, but it was fun.”

It could have been even more fun.

If the Rangers had shot first, and missed, Daugavins said he would have tried to replicate a ringette style spin-o-rama goal he scored in a shootout two years ago with the Binghamton Senators.

“I would have tried it for sure,” said Daugavins, who missed his only previous shootout attempt in the NHL last season. “If you can’t lose the game you might as well try something crazy.”

Although the Senators don’t bring an iPad onto the bench like some NHL teams, Daugavins said they usually do some shootout-specific scouting after team meetings. Scouting last year’s Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist, however, isn’t exactly a science.

“He’s good everywhere,” Daugavins said. “I got a little lucky.”

Wiercioch didn’t have the same fortune in his first professional shootout attempt.

The offensive defenceman from Burnaby, B.C. said he and childhood friend Kyle Turris practice their shootout moves at the end of every skate in the summer, but he wasn’t expecting to get the call.

“I turned to Mac and said, ‘Why don’t you give one of the D a shot?’ I didn’t think he’d pick me,” Wiercioch said.

“It’s not often you go 14 shooters with only three goals.”

He can thank Ben Bishop for that.

Despite allowing two third-period markers after coming on in relief for Anderson, Bishop rose to the occasion in the seven-round shootout, stopping all but one Rangers shooter.

Bishop, who was 4-0 in shootouts last year in the AHL, now has back-to-back shootout wins and has stopped nine of the last 10 attempts he’s faced.

“I felt really comfortable in the American league last year, then up in the NHL I lost two so it’s nice to win two this year,” he said. “It’s one of those things that can go either way any night. The guys are scoring some goals in front of me, which makes a big difference. “

And the way things are going for the Sens these days, they’re going to need much of the same to stay afloat the Eastern Conference.

fdevji@ottawacitizen.com
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