The Ottawa Senators were a team on a mission Friday night when they made their visit to PNC Arena to face the Carolina Hurricanes.
Earlier this month, Ottawa suffered a 5-4 defeat at home against the same team. After 60 minutes of play in this game, it was mission accomplished for the Senators. They won 4-1 and skated away with a rare victory in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The last time Ottawa has won at this arena was over 11 years ago, on Dec. 12, 2007, in a 6-0 victory. Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza recorded three points each, while Ray Emery and Martin Gerber made a combined effort for the shutout. In their last 19 games in this state, Ottawa has won only three times, and holds a record of 3-13-3.
Ottawa’s offensive attack this game was well balanced, with goals coming from Magnus Paajarvi, Bobby Ryan, Mark Stone, and Christian Wolanin. Warren Foegele was the lone goal scorer for the Hurricanes.
The win was Ottawa’s fourth in their past five games. Their record improves to 19-24-5 and 43 points, which ranks them seventh in the Atlantic Division and 27th in the NHL. Meanwhile, with the loss, Carolina’s record drops to 22-20-5 and remains at 49 points. They rank fifth in the Metropolitan Division and 18th in the NHL.
Senators Ride The Storm Surge
Paajarvi opened the scoring for the Senators late in the first period. Unfortunately for him, few will remember his goal, while many will remember his celebration. After notching his fourth of the season, he fist pumped so hard that he lost balance and fell to the ice.
However, the Senators picked up right where Paajarvi left off in the second.
The visiting team struck at 7:26 this period, when Ryan pumped the puck past Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek. Just 13 seconds later, Stone scored a beauty, which was a bar down shot, after teammate Chris Tierney won a face-off deep in Carolina’s zone.
Foegele responded for the Hurricanes, which resulted from a regrettable pass given away from Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki next to his own net.
The Senators closed the period scoring their fourth and final goal of the game. This time, it was Wolanin jumping into the rush and sending one past Mrazek. It was in and out so fast, that few in the arena knew it went in, except the 21-year-old, who just wanted to celebrate with his teammates on their successful effort.
In the third period, the Senators went into shutdown mode. Consequently, the Hurricanes failed to sustain any consistent attack against the visitors. Ottawa’s defensive game has evolved significantly since the start of the season. This has been evident in recent games, and is also a big reason why the Senators have now won four of their last five games.
Stone Reaches 50 for the Fifth Time
On his 22nd goal this season, Senators assistant captain Mark Stone has reached 50 points for the fifth consecutive year. He joins elite company in players having accomplished this milestone in Senators franchise history. He ties Marian Hossa and Erik Karlsson, who have five each, and trails Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson, who have eight and 10, respectively.
On the season, Stone is on pace to smash his previous career high if he can remain healthy. He set this in 2014-15, when the native of Winnipeg, Manitoba recorded 64 points in 80 games. Currently, he is averaging above a point per game, with 50 points (22G, 28A) in just 48 games.
Niederreiter Makes Hurricanes Debut
Newly acquired Nino Niederreiter made his Carolina Hurricanes debut against the Senators. The 26-year-old was part of a one-for-one trade with the Minnesota Wild, which saw Victor Rask shipped the other way.
Despite having little impact in his first game as a Cane, Niederreiter has 23 points (9G, 14A) in 47 games this season. The former first-round pick (5th overall) in 2010 should be able to provide the Hurricanes with some helpful secondary scoring once he finds his grove.
Nilsson Stays Hot
Carolina outshot Ottawa 34-26 this game but that did not matter for the Senators with Anders Nilsson in net. The Swedish net minder stopped 33 of those shots, finishing the game with a 1.00 goals against average and a .971 save per cent.
Since being acquired by Ottawa on Jan. 2, the 28-year-old goalie is 4-3-0 and has performed admirably, while starting goaltender Craig Anderson has been recovering from a concussion. The 37-year-old suffered this injury on Dec. 21 in a game against the New Jersey Devils.
- It appears as though Anderson will get his chance to start a game soon. On Friday, he was medically cleared to return to action. Rather than starting the game against the Hurricanes, however, he suited up as Nilsson’s back-up.
- Boroweicki played in his 300th game as a Senator. Surprisingly, he is only the eighth defenseman to achieve this marker in franchise history. Unfortunately, he had little time to enjoy it. In addition to causing the Foegele goal, Borowiecki suffered a lower-body injury in the second period and did not return.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
- Cody Ceci, Ottawa
- Mark Stone, Ottawa
- Christian Wolanin, Ottawa
The Senators immediately travel to St. Louis to take on the Blues on Saturday. This will be the first time these two teams meet this season. St. Louis is sixth in the Central Division and 24th in the NHL with a record of 20-21-5 and 45 points.
|Magnus Paajarvi (4)||Cody Ceci (9)|
Zack Smith (13)
|Bobby Ryan (10)||Ryan Dzingel (17)|
Matt Duchene (26)
|Mark Stone (22)||Chris Tierney (25)|
|Warren Foegele (6)||Unassisted|
|Christian Wolanin (3)||Brady Tkachuk (12)|
Cody Ceci (10)
Cover Photo Credit: Karl B. Deblaker / AP
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.