OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators were on the verge of a massive comeback, only to fall short in overtime.
After overcoming a three-goal deficit the Senators forced the game to overtime only to watch it slip away as Seth Jones scored the winner 3:49 into the extra period as the Nashville Predators defeated the Senators 4-3 Monday night.
Ryan Ellis broke in alone on goaltender Robin Lehner and Jones was there to bang home the loose puck.
“It was a tough one to slip away and we almost gave it away,” said Jones. “We need all the points we can get right now so it was nice to pull away with two.”
The win allowed the Predators (27-28-10) to snap a four-game losing streak.
The Senators say they take solace in earning the single point, but at the same time know they need to be better if they hope to stay in the playoff race.
“The way the game was looking going into the third period it looked pretty bleak for us to get that one point so we’ll take the positive,” said Ottawa’s Marc Methot. “It would have been nice to get two, but we’re happy with the resiliency we showed at the end.”
Nick Spaling, Craig Smith and Eric Nystrom also scored for Nashville. Pekka Rinne faced 37 shots. This was Rinne’s first victory in four starts since returning from injury.
Jared Cowen, Methot and Jason Spezza scored for the Senators (28-25-12).
Craig Anderson allowed three goals on 29 shots before leaving the game early in the third. Lehner faced 13 shots in relief.
Senators coach Paul MacLean said he didn’t have an immediate update on Anderson, but didn’t believe it was anything serious.
Holding a 3-0 lead the Predators nearly let the game slip away in the third as the Senators scored twice in a span of 2:39.
“I thought we played real well, especially the first two periods,” said Nashville’s Mike Fisher. “We thought we were the better team, but then gave them a little life in the third and the crowd came alive for them and before you knew it, it was 3-3.”
Spezza tied the game with 67 seconds remaining in regulation. The newly acquired Ales Hemsky, who had three assists, found Spezza at the side of the net and the Senators captain banged it in.
“We knew we had to make a push in the third and it showed a lot of character for us to get a point,” said Spezza. “We kept coming and coming, but it sure would have been nice to pull that one out in overtime.”
The comeback started midway through the third, as Cowen was able to find the puck through traffic in front and push it past Rinne.
Spezza picked up his second assist of the night as he found a surging Methot to make it a 3-2 game at the halfway mark.
The Predators three unanswered second period goals appeared to make this game look all but decided.
“We normally do a better job of locking these games down,” said Predators head coach Barry Trotz.
Anderson could hardly be blamed for any of the goals as he was the victim of two redirections and a giveaway. Anderson’s night came to an end at 4:10 of the third after he was hit in the head by teammate Milan Michalek.
On the first goal Spaling tipped a Michael Del Zotto point shot at the eight-minute mark of the second.
Less than two minutes later Colin Wilson won the faceoff in the Senators end and got the puck to Jones on the point. The blue liner then passed it to Mattias Ekholm, who took a shot that Smith re-directed in front.
The Predators made it 3-0 on Nystrom’s unassisted goal. Methot went to clear the puck and it landed directly on Nystrom’s stick for the easy finish on Anderson.
A scoreless first period was highlighted by the damage inflicted by Shea Weber’s powerful shot.
First, Anderson dropped to the ice after taking a Weber shot in the shoulder and minutes later Cody Ceci took a shot to the head that left him with a lacerated right ear. He did not return to the game.
“You never want to see anyone go down like that,” said Weber. “Hopefully he’s doing all right because that’s nothing you ever want to see.”
Following the game Ceci tweeted, “Thanks for all your concerns just a cut and a little shaken up should be back at it soon enough.”
Notes: The Senators were without LW Clarke MacArthur as he has a hand injury, but is expected to return for Saturday’s game against Montreal. D Patrick Wiercioch, was a healthy scratch for the Senators…LW Gabriel Bourque and D Victor Bartley were healthy scratches for the Predators….The CIS Men’s Basketball Champion Carleton Ravens were honoured before the game and took part in the ceremonial puck drop.