The Ottawa Senators lost their eighth consecutive game on Sunday, dropping a 5-4 decision to the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. Anders Nilsson was charged with the loss, allowing two goals on 13 shots after taking over for starter Marcus Hogberg in the second period.
Despite his team falling on some hard times over the last couple of weeks, Senators coach Guy Boucher still sees some positives, particularly on the offensive side of things.
“They (Carolina) got the most shots in the league, they allow the least shots per game and we outshot them,” Boucher said, before adding that “every day is a new day” when asked how he keeps the vibe in the locker room from getting too negative.
Following a frantic finish to the second period, Ottawa came out strong to start the third, playing with a lot of energy. Carolina, however, would be the first to crack the scoreboard in the period, as captain Justin Williams would score his ninth of the year, giving the Canes a 5-4 edge with 11 minutes remaining. With 8:32 remaining, Nilsson made a spectacular glove save on a partial breakaway, bringing the crowd to its feet in appreciation.
With roughly six minutes remaining in the third period, Sens forward Bobby Ryan left for the dressing room after blocking a shot with his hand. Ryan has a history of hand injuries, leading to obvious concern from the Senators and their fans.
Matt Duchene got the home team on the board at the 2:32 mark of the second period, putting a rebound from a Ryan shot past Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek for his 18th goal of the season, bringing the Sens to within a goal. Less than four minutes later, Carolina would get that goal back, as Jaccob Slavin ripped a slapshot from the left circle, putting it over Hogberg’s shoulder. Nilsson would take over in the Ottawa net following the goal.
Ryan Dzingel would once again make it a one-goal game, burying his 17th goal of the season on the powerplay 13 minutes into the second period. Unfortunately for the home crowd, Carolina was intent on regaining the two-goal advantage, as Dougie Hamilton sniped one from the slot past Nilsson, giving the Canes a 4-2 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the period.
Not to be outdone, Sens forward Rudolfs Balcers would score his first career goal with less than a minute remaining to make it a 4-3 game. Then, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, making his season debut following an Achilles injury suffered in training camp, would score less than 10 seconds later, sending the game to the third period tied at four goals apiece.
Carolina wasted little time getting on the score board, as a Zack Smith tripping penalty lead to defenceman Justin Faulk scoring a powerplay goal on a one-timer from the blue line just over a minute into the game. A few minutes later, Canes winger Brock McGinn converted on a breakaway chance, sliding a backhand shot through Hogberg’s legs, giving the visitors an early 2-0 lead. The remainder of the opening period was largely uneventful, as both teams struggled to generate sustained chances in the offensive zone.