The Senators beat the best Friday night at the Canadian Tire Centre. At least, Paul MacLean thinks so. The Senators’ coach told reporters he believes the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are the NHL’s top team, but Ottawa put them in their place with a 5-3 victory. Opening a five-game homestand, the Senators sent the 18,922 home happy by ending a 0-4-1 losing skid in Ottawa with their first win in the building since Feb. 6 against the Buffalo Sabres. After opening up a 3-0 lead, the Senators were able to halt the Hawks from a comeback with 46 stops by Craig Anderson and goals from Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris, Milan Michalek, Cody Ceci and Erik Condra. Only Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook and Marian Hossa were able to beat Anderson. The Senators needed third period heroics from Turris to make sure they secured the two points with Hawks’ backup Antti Maanta in the net. Turris’ 23rd of the season with 14 minutes left in the third sealed the win. It came after the Hawks’ Matt Carey was given one of those rare delay of game penalties for a faceoff violation. The Hawks weren’t happy but the Senators weren’t complaining. MacArthur, who scored his 23rd of the season in the third, had a three-point effort as Chicago tried to clinch a playoff spot. Starting the final 10 games of the regular season, the Senators did pull to within six points of the final playoff spot in the East, but MacLean was looking forward to the challenge. “It’s always fun when you play them, it’s going to be a good test,” said MacLean. “They’re the best team in the league so it’s going to be a good test and we’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good opportunity for us to get out and get playing. “During the regular season maybe they don’t have the title of it but for me if you’re the Stanley Cup champion you’re still the best team in the league.” The Hawks certainly showed after a tough start they’re no pushovers. No lead is safe where the Senators are concerned. They looked to be sailing home quite easily when the pulled out to a three-goal lead early in the second but only up 3-2 after 40 minutes. Had it not been for Anderson standing on his head, it could have been a lot worse for the Senators. The club was outshot a whopping 23-5 in the second alone as the Hawks turned up the heat. After some sloppy play in their own end, Hossa pulled the Hawks to within a goal. He was able to tuck the puck underneath Anderson with only 41 seconds left in the period. After Jared Cowen took an ill-advised high sticking penalty, Sharp cashed in on the power play by completing a give-and-go with Jonathan Toews to beat Anderson glove side at 10:46. That cut Ottawa’s advantage to 3-1. The Senators pulled out to a 3-0 lead only 23 seconds into the second. That’s when Michalek was able to beat Raanta on the stick side after a perfect pass from captain Jason Spezza. As surprising as it may have been, the Senators pulled out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Ceci’s third of the season with only 30 seconds left in the period caught the Hawks off guard. His shot from the point ping-ponged off a couple of Chicago players – lastly Matt Carey – before beating Raanta. The shots were 14-13 in favour of the Hawks after they got off to a strong start.
Ottawa Senators down Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks 5-3
Ottawa Sun | Mar 29