The eighth place New York Rangers rolled into Scotiabank Place holding the 8th spot in the East and should have been a desperate hockey team.
But the Ottawa Senators matched that desperation level on Thursday night, cruising to a 3-0 win and improving their record on home ice to an incredible 13-2-3. Benoit, Latendresse and Greening scored the goals and Ben Bishop stopped all 24 Ranger shots for his first shutout of the season.
With the NHL Trade Deadline just a few days away, you can expect to hear Ben Bishop's name to come up in the rumour mill. If scouts were there to watch him tonight they had to like what they saw, as he stopped every shot he faced and picked up first star honours in the process.
Despite sitting on the playoff bubble, this was a pretty uninspried performance by John Tortorella's team. And in fact, it was a pretty quiet opening forty minutes until the latest BSens call up made his impact on this one.
Fans in Ottawa are going to learn this in a hurry but Mike Hoffman has some serious wheels. It was his breakaway speed that led to an Ottawa power play where Andre Benoit broke a scoreless tie late in the second period.
Can't help but get excited watching the chemistry between Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad. In the second period, they had a couple shifts where they were absolutely flying and were both on the ice for Benoit's goal. Those two are going to be fun to watch for years to come.
In the third period and with the Senators clinging to a one goal lead, Ben Bishop made a spectacular diving save, robbing with his shoulder. Not long after that stop, Guillaume Latendresse beat Lundqvist to give the Sens a little bit of breathing room.
The goal was the 5th in 9 games for Latendresse.
While the Senators were a tad sloppy in the final twenty minutes, Ben Bishop was strong in goal and preserved another huge win for a team that continues to turn heads around the National Hockey League.
The Senators will close out a five game homestand on Saturday night when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs. With Ottawa holding a two point lead over the 6th place Leafs, you can expect a wild atmosphere at the Bank on Saturday night.
- Scary incident in the second period as an awkward collision led to Anton Stralman's skate making contact with the leg of Chris Neil. Good news is Neil returned just before the end of the second period.
- Some injury related news prior to puck drop as Bryan Murray told CTV's Terry Marcotte that centre Jason Spezza is still considered questionable for the playoffs. The last injury update suggested that Spezza would return in time for the last couple weeks of the season.
- Some good news from the morning skate earlier today as it sounds like Craig Anderson has taken another step in his recovery. Anderson is unlikely to play on Saturday but could return early next week.
- Always interesting to watch scouts this time of year. Tonight's contingent included representatives from Washington, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Tampa Bay.