The B.C. Place roof was closed in Vancouver due to inclement weather Sunday afternoon. But inside, 50,000-plus hockey fans watched the Ottawa Senators defeat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 in the first outdoor turned indoor hockey game.
Despite the final score, the game didn’t start well for the Senators. They got into penalty trouble early, beginning with a Colin Greening high-stick that led to a Canucks powerplay goal 4:54 in. Zack Kassian then snuck one under a seemingly rusty Craig Anderson following a bad giveaway from Erik Karlsson six and a half minutes after the first strike. Anderson hadn’t played since Feb. 8 when he gave up five goals against the Boston Bruins.
Just over halfway through the first period, it was the usual woes seemingly dictating the fate of the Senators. That being until an Erik Condra shot was deflected past Eddie Lack by Clarke MacArthur to make cut the lead in half.
The Sens went on to score three more unanswered goals to earn two valuable points in a wild card race that continues to to heat up.
Clarke MacArthur’s first period goal was his 19th of the season, one closer to surpassing his 21-goal career high. Cody Ceci’s effort was also noteworthy. He scored the game-winning goal and played the third-most minutes of any Ottawa defensemen behind Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot. Karlsson tied the game with his 16th goal of the season and subsequently reclaimed the goal-scoring lead among all NHL defensemen.
Karlsson said he enjoyed the game and all the festivities.”I think the experience was great,” he said. “[We'd] been looking forward to it for quite some time.”
“I feels great that we could get two points, as well.”
Karlsson took the words out of a lot of fans’ mouths regarding the team’s start to the game.”They scored twice and a couple of people probably said ‘oh, here we go again,’” he joked.
Cody Ceci did his part to make sure that mantra would not accord with the remainder of the game by giving his team the lead mid-way through the second period. His two NHL goals have been ones of the game-winning variety.
“It’s just been funny year for me that way,” he said. “They’ve [both] been pretty special goals.”
In the standings, the win means the team stays among the wild card contenders and within three points of the Detroit Red Wings, the current holders of the final east wild card. “We know we need to win games,” coach Paul McLean said. “[We] need to win to get in … our first game [back] wasn’t very good — this one here I think we gave a good account of ourselves after getting down by 2.”
To guarantee themselves a playoff position, they Senators will have to win approximately 16 of their remaining 21 games, per sportsclubstats.com.
Numbers to words: they should aim for controlling their own destiny as they inch closer to the post-season.