Senators’ Bobby Ryan ends scoring drought, gets Ottawa on the board first in Game 5 against Habs

Adam Proteau
Bobby Ryan (Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography via Getty Images)

Senators right winger Bobby Ryan had a tough regular season – his 18 goals are the lowest number in a full year since his first one in 2008-09 – and he failed to register a point in Ottawa’s first four first-round playoff games against Montreal. But in Game 5, with the Sens again facing elimination, Ryan scored his first post-season goal Friday on a low-odds shot to give his team the game’s first lead.

The Sens and Canadiens were approaching the halfway point of the first period when Ottawa winger Mark Hoffman carried the puck into Montreal’s zone and passed it to Ryan. He fired a wrist shot from near the top of the circle at Habs star goalie Carey Price – and because of the traffic in front of Price, it snuck by him: Read more

Johnny Gaudreau, Aaron Ekblad and Mark Stone named finalists for Calder Trophy

Jared Clinton
Johnny Gaudreau (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Thursday evening the NHL continued its week of rolling out the finalists for the major awards, as Calgary Flames left winger Johnny Gaudreau, Florida Panthers blueliner Aaron Ekblad and Ottawa Senators right winger Mark Stone were named finalists for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

Late-season pushes by Gaudreau and Stone to shoot up through the rookie scoring race were enough to get them nods for the end-of-season hardware, while Ekblad’s stellar and often times outstanding play on the blueline for the Panthers had him as close to a lock for a nomination as a player could get. Surprisingly absent from the finalists, however, is Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg, who for much of the season led the scoring race and appeared to have the trophy wrapped up by the all-star break. Read more

With disciplined Game 4 shutout win, Sens show they can play near-perfect game vs. Montreal & beat Canadiens

Sens winger Mike Hoffman celebrates his third period, game-winning goal with teammate Patrick Wiercioch in the third period of Game 4 of Montreal's first-round series against Ottawa Wednesday. (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

With a mountainous task before them heading into Game 4 of their first-round playoff showdown against Montreal, the Ottawa Senators understood there was no room for error against a Canadiens team that made the most of its chances to go up 3-0 in the series. And Wednesday night at Canadian Tire Centre, that’s just what the Sens did, putting a lid on Montreal’s offense, getting a terrific showing from veteran goalie Craig Anderson, and shutting out the Habs 1-0 to stave off elimination for at least one more game. They were as next-to-flawless as it gets, and that’s the good news. They’re capable of putting together a complete and airtight 60 minutes of post-season hockey.

The not-so-good news? They’re probably going to have to be just as mistake-free the rest of the series if they’re to win it, because it wasn’t as if the Canadiens were that far off in Game 4, either. Montreal didn’t have their best game, but they’re also able to play the perfect game the Sens played against them Wednesday. And that just has to happen once in the next three games to send Ottawa home for the summer. Read more

Senators goalie Craig Anderson cooly stones Canadiens’ Brandon Prust on shorthanded breakaway

Sens goalie Craig Anderson turns aside a breakaway attempt from Canadiens winger Brandon Prust Wednesday in Game Four of Montreal's first-round series against Ottawa. (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

If the Ottawa Senators are to rebound from a 3-0 first-round series deficit to the Montreal Canadiens, they’re going to need nearly-perfect performances from the entire team the rest of the way. And although their power play in Game 4 Wednesday wasn’t perfect – allowing a shorthanded breakaway to Habs winger Brandon Prust – Sens goalie Craig Anderson was there to bail it out with a solid pad save to keep the contest scoreless.

Prust got his breakaway chance in the second period of the defensive display between the two teams, and when he attempted to deke Anderson out by first faking a backhanded shot then going to his forehand, Anderson cooly threw out his right pad to stop the shot and prevent the goal: Read more

Ducks and Jets playing the way playoff hockey was meant to be played

Ducks vs. Jets  (Photo by Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)

The biggest disappointment of the first round of the playoffs is that the Anaheim Ducks are just that much better than the Winnipeg Jets. It stinks, really, that this series might be over in four games and that we might experience only one more Winnipeg White-Out.

Because for this corner’s money, even with the series standing at 3-0 in favor of the Ducks, it has been by far the most entertaining of the playoffs so far. The Jets have had a lead for 79:31 through the first three games and the Ducks have been in front for only 11:21, which indicates that the Ducks are clearly coming as advertised as a third period team that has an uncanny ability to win one-goal games. The Jets are showing their collective lack of experience in crucial situations to be sure, but they’ve showed up. Man, have they showed up. Read more

Senators’ incredible run close to over after heartbreaking Game 3 loss

Craig Anderson lies on the ice following a goal against in Game 3 (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

Sadly, the Ottawa Senators may have used up every last bit of magic just getting to the playoffs. Three games into their first-round series with Montreal, Ottawa is on the brink of elimination.

With how close the games have been to this point, it would be foolish to outright write off the Senators’ chances going forward, but their chances couldn’t look much more bleak. Whether it is the stellar play of Canadiens’ netminder Carey Price or that Ottawa had to scratch and claw to get to the post-season, it feels as though the Habs, who skated to one of the best regular season records in the league, are simply overmatching the Senators. Read more

Dale Weise buries OT winner to put Ottawa on brink of elimination

Dale Weise (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

Late in the third period of Game 3, with Montreal down 1-0 to the Ottawa Senators, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien trotted out a line consisting of Torrey Mitchell, Brandon Prust and Dale Weise. With less than six minutes remaining in the frame, Weise cashed in to tie the game which sent the contest to overtime.

If the premonition to throw that line together and run them out with time winding down in the third looked brilliant on Therrien’s part, he looked like an evil genius in the extra frame. Weise took only five shifts in the entire third period, but in overtime, Therrien put his rugged winger out three times before the halfway point of the period.

As the 10-minute mark loomed, Weise picked up the puck in the neutral zone, skated into the Senators’ zone, pulled up and fired a quick wristshot past Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson: Read more

Erik Karlsson destroyed Nathan Beaulieu with a huge open-ice hit

Erik Karlsson (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

Forget the Battle of Ontario. The first-round series between Montreal and Ottawa is creating a fierce and incredibly physical rivalry between the Canadiens and Senators. No one has felt the effects of the opening-round matchup quite like Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu.

Early in the second period of Sunday’s Game 3, after a first frame that was the embodiment of crash and bang hockey, Senators blueliner Erik Karlsson laid a wallop on Beaulieu that his ancestors felt. The best part? It was a textbook hard, clean body check: Read more