Craig Anderson was near perfect as the Ottawa Senators snuck out a win in game 3. It took nearly 2 overtime periods but the Senators managed to get their first win of the series. When Erik Karlsson took a slashing penalty with 90 seconds left with the Senators down by 1, it looked like the Pittsburgh Penguins would take a 3-0 series lead. Cue Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. With 30 seconds left in the third period and the Senators down a man, Alfredsson snuck behind the Penguins defence to deflect a pass behind Tomas Vokoun.
With 30 seconds left the game was tied and the Penguins were left stunned. Instead of capitalizing on their late power play, they tried to play in a lockdown mode to solidify the win and it cost them the game.
Game three proved just how exciting and intense playoff hockey is. As the game advanced to overtime you could sense the tension.
Everyone sitting on the edges of their seats watching each goalie make save after save. Both Tomas Vokoun and Craig Anderson put on a goaltending clinic, stoning shooters point black. In the end Anderson got the last save and the Senators now have life in the series.
Before the game I talked about what the Senators needed to do to get back into the series and win game 3. Get better goaltending, score more goals and keep Sidney Crosby off the scoreboard. The Senators managed to accomplish all three of those things and it resulted in a game 3 win.
While they didn’t have an offencive outburst, they did manage to outscore the Penguins. The key to winning a hockey game is to score more goals than your opponent before time runs out, the Senators managed to do that.
- Craig Anderson stopped 49 of 50 shots through 5 periods for the win. He stood tall all night, stopping rush after rush from the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. With Anderson stopping virtually everything he saw, all the Senators had to do was score some goals. While he hadn’t been great through the first two games of the season, he looked stellar tonight. If Anderson plays as well as he did in game 3, there’s no reason the Senators can’t upset the Penguins.
- Aside from exciting hockey the other thing the playoffs are famous for is turning some-what unknown players into heroes. Remember Trevor Lewis and Dwight King from the LA Kings Stanley Cup win? They were virtual nobodies before the Stanley Cup Finals. Last night Colin Greening scored the overtime winner which gave life to the Senators. Greening is a player who has come alive during the playoffs. He’s scored 3 goals in his last 3-playoff games. Greening may not be a star like Kyle Turris or Jason Spezza but when he’s contributing it only helps the Sens.
- Jason Spezza played his first game since January 27th and looked pretty decent. He played just under 19 minutes registering 4 shots and winning 60% of his face-offs. Spezza’s return provided some offencive depth for the Senators and allowed them to play two top lines.
- After the game everyone was upset with the officiating. While no game will ever be officiated perfectly, the referees have not been great through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The call everyone is most upset about is a missed high-stick to the face of Erik Karlsson. Matt Cooke attempted to clear the puck but instead nailed Karlsson right in the face. There was no call on the play and Karlsson was not a happy camper. Should there have been a penalty on the play? Yes, but Erik Karlsson is beginning to get a bad reputation for diving. He was even given a penalty for diving in this game. It’s a shame because Karlsson is a fantastic young defenceman, but the book on him is that he’ll go down pretty easily with minimal contact. If Karlsson wants to get some of those close calls, he’ll need to stop diving, snapping his head back and yelling at the officials.
With game 4 set to go on Wednesday night, the Senators now know they can beat the Penguins and Tomas Vokoun. The Senators have life and fight; we’ll see if they can make the series into a war with a game 4 victory.