OTTAWA – There’s nothing like beating the defending Stanley Cup champions to gain a little confidence.
Craig Anderson stopped 46 shots in his first game back since being injured Mar. 10 as the Ottawa Senators beat the visiting Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 on Friday.
“We found a way to win and that’s all that really matters,” said Anderson. “It felt good to come back from my whatever injury. Got back in there, get back in the saddle and it was good to see a lot of shots so you didn’t have time to think and you just kind of read and react so it was really good.”
Clarke MacArthur had a goal and two assists to lead the charge while Erik Condra, Cody Ceci, Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris each scored for the Senators (30-29-14)
Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook scored for Chicago (42-18-15). Antti Raanta faced 29 shots.
Chicago has lost three of its last four outings and captain Jonathan Toews says there are too many mistakes happening when his team has possession of the puck.
“I’d say there was some good moments where we did have control of the puck where we were getting point shots and second efforts and some of the things we’re looking for when we’re playing good hockey,” said Toews. “Other than that it was sloppy turnovers, sloppy mistakes that we really need to get out of our system. We need to get those plays out of our game. It’s as simple as that. We need to play some character hockey. Frustrating way to lose.”
Toews wasn’t alone in thinking the Blackhawks failed to show their best effort.
“I didn’t like our game,” said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville. “We had a good start and obviously giving up a shorthanded (goal) right off the bat they got some momentum off it and played well.”
Ottawa scored twice in the third and killed off a 34 second two-man advantage to hold off the Blackhawks before a crowd of 18,922 at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Turris made it 4-2 with a power-play goal at the six-minute mark of the third and MacArthur scored his 23rd of the season midway through the period to make it 5-2.
“I thought we competed better,” said MacArthur. “We had a little lapse in the second, but you’re playing Chicago and they’re going to make a push, but we were able to make plays in the third and not clam up.”
Frustration started to set in for Chicago midway through the third when Andrew Shaw speared Zack Smith. Shaw was assessed a major and game misconduct for his actions.
After the game Smith admitted he was less than impressed by the play.
“A spear is always looked upon as pretty bad for someone to do,” said Smith. “It’s kind of a cheap shot, especially where he was aiming, but you saw the replay.”
The Blackhawks made it 5-3 with a shorthanded goal at the 17-minute mark as Seabrook’s shot from the point just trickled across the goal-line.
Ottawa jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but by the end of the second it was a one-goal game. The Senators were outshot 23-5 in the middle period.
Chicago got on the board midway through the second with a power-play goal as Sharp took a great pass from Jonathan Toews and tipped it past Anderson.
Hossa made it 3-2 when he scored with 41 seconds remaining in the second period. Hossa intercepted a pass at the Ottawa blue-line, cut through two defencemen and squeezed the puck past Anderson.
Ottawa had made it 3-0 just 23 seconds into the second as Michalek tipped in a shot off a pass from Spezza.
“I thought we had a little more confidence,” added MacArthur. “I thought overall we had a little lapse and those are going to happen, but we answered back in the third which is big and I thought our (defencemen) moved the puck a lot better, especially in the third when we were under pressure.”
The Senators held a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Condra made it 1-0, scoring shorthanded midway through the first. And Ceci made it 2-0 in the final minute of the period as he scored from just inside the blue line.
Notes: The Senators were without D Chris Phillips who missed his second straight game and RW Bobby Ryan (sports hernia, out for season). LW Matt Kassian was a healthy scratch…The Blackhawks are without RW Patrick Kane (lower body, two weeks), LW Bryan Bickell (upper body, day-to-day) and D Michal Rozsival (lower body, day-to-day). D David Rundblad, LW Jeremy Morin and LW Teuvo Teravainen were a healthy scratch. LW Matt Carey made his NHL debut.