The Ottawa Senators defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 in Ottawa Monday. With the win, the Senators ended their three-game slide while simultaneously ending the Penguins’ seven-game win streak.
Craig Anderson was an integral part of the win, making 27 saves on 27 shots for his 24th-career shutout and second of the season.
“It was one of those nights where I just had to make the first save,” he said. “[The] defence did a great job of allowing me to see the first shot and keeping guys from getting to the puck on second and third opportunities.” Coach Paul McLean was pleased with Anderson’s performance. “Craig’s play … again — one of our most consistent players throughout the season and tonight, his game was at another level,” said McLean. “That’s good to see.”
Ottawa was assessed with seven penalties in the game, but Anderson, the game’s second star, said the penalty killers did their duty. “I think it came and went,” he said. “They had some momentum in the second but our killers did a great job … when we had the puck on our stick, we made sure it got down 200 feet.” When asked about the team’s performance against top teams, Anderson said on any given night, anything can happen, regardless of the standings. “We know that any team can come in here and beat us and we can beat any team,” he said. “That’s kind of the way this league is. You can’t have a night off.”
As a whole, McLean said the game was well played by his team. “I thought our response to the game today was workmen-like and the Zack Smith line with Methot and Gryba, I thought, did an excellent job against the Crosby group who are very difficult to contain,” he said. “That went a long way to us winning.” The Senators held Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, effectively ending his ten-game point streak which included five goals and 11 assists. It should be noted that the Penguins were without eleven players due to injury prior to the game, and lost Pascal Dupuis after he collided with Crosby after the league’s leading scorer was sent flying by a Marc Methot hip-check.
Erik Karlsson, another notable contributor to the win, scored a goal and added two assists, padding his league-leading point total amongst defencemen. He is now three points clear of runner-up Duncan Keith.
In terms of consistency, it’s been messy for the Senators for the majority of the season. In their most recent stretch, they beat one of the league’s top teams in the St. Louis Blues and followed it up with a three-game slump — two of which were losses to direct playoff race competition. Despite additions to the loss column, MacLean said there may be a positive pattern emerging.
“As we said in the last four to five, or six games, out of all this chaos that we’ve had going — that there just might be some order taking place,” he said. “If that can happen, some good things can happen for our team.” With the win, the Senators managed to maintain their position in the wild card race and are now four points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs who earned a point in their 2-1 shootout loss against the New York Rangers Monday.
Along with the other 29 teams, Ottawa will now get a three-day Christmas break before they visit the Boston Bruins Friday for the first game of a home-and-home. The Sens won the first of four meetings between the two teams back in November.