Senators topple the Avs
OTTAWA — The Senators didn’t like the way they started against the Colorado Avalanche. However, Ottawa was more than happy with how it finished.
The Senators scored four consecutive goals, including Clarke MacArthur getting the go-ahead score during a three-goal third period, to beat the Avalanche 5-3 Thursday night.
“We were frustrated after the first (period), there’s no question,” MacArthur said. “We slowed things down a little bit in the second and started to make the easy plays and we got a little momentum that way and started getting pucks to the net so that was good.”
Bobby Ryan, Zack Smith and David Legwand also scored to help the Senators win their home opener. Craig Anderson stopped 31 shots and Chris Neil had an empty-net goal with 1:22 to go.
Alex Tanguay, John Mitchell and Gabriel Landeskog scored for the Avalanche. Calvin Pickard stopped 23 shots in his NHL debut after replacing Reto Berra at 2:46 of the first period.
Berra left the game after he was knocked over by Ottawa’s Kyle Turris, who was pushed by Mitchell. Pickard was called up earlier in the day from Lake Erie of the AHL after the Avalanche placed Semyon Varlamov on injured reserve.
“It was probably a good time for a debut because you didn’t have to think about it, you got right into it,” Pickard said. “It was a fun atmosphere, good Canadian building and it was a good experience, but I would have liked to get the win for sure.”
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy couldn’t fault Pickard’s play, but he wasn’t overly impressed by some of his players.
“We can’t be happy about our game overall,” said Roy. “With the lead we had 13 turnovers. If we do turnovers when we’re up by one goal eventually the puck’s going to end up in the net. We have to be better with the lead, we have to be a lot smarter than that.
“I didn’t think we managed our game very well.”
Trailing 3-1, Ottawa made it a one-goal game early in the second as Legwand scored a power-play goal.
The Senators scored two goals in the third to take control of the game. After being robbed by Pickard in the second period, Ryan made the most of a second opportunity and beat the 22-year-old through the legs to tie the score at 3-3. Just over 3 minutes later MacArthur scored to give the Senators their first lead of the game.
“To be honest that’s kind of what we expect them to do,” Senators coach Paul MacLean said. “As the leadership group of the team and the skill level of the team, that when the game is on the line and they have it on their stick the expectation is that they’re going to make plays to give us a chance to win the game and they certainly stepped up and did that.”
Anderson and Pickard were the difference for their teams in the second period. Anderson made four consecutive saves late in the period, while Pickard’s best came at the 17-minute mark as he slid across and robbed Ryan.
The Avalanche jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Tanguay grabbed a loose puck and beat Anderson high. Colorado made it 2-0 at the halfway mark as Mitchell scored short-handed after beating Erik Karlsson in race.
The Senators cut the lead in half as Smith tapped in Curtis Lazar’s shot, but after going 0 for 13 on the power play this season the Avalanche finally managed to score with the man advantage with Landeskog.
“I don’t know if we were nervous in the first or what we were doing, but we didn’t play hard enough and we didn’t win the 1-on-1 battles,” Senators captain Erik Karlsson said. “We came in (after the first period) and no one was happy with how we played and we just kind of had it out and had some words and took a deep breath after and (MacLean) came in calm and gave us directions of what to do in the second and we just came out and executed.”
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