ST. PAUL, Minnesota — After a first period flurry, a fortunate broken stick and a few timely saves, the Ottawa Senators could fly home full of positive feelings Tuesday night.
The Senators delivered yet another solid road effort, defeating the Minnesota Wild 3-0 and extending their recent hot stretch to 6-0-1, including an impressive 2-0-1 mark during their three-game, nine-day road trip out west.
The victory allowed them to keep pace in the suddenly heated race for the bottom few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Senators are tied with the Detroit Red Wings, one point out of the final wild card spot.
Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris scored on the power play and Erik Condra, on a third period breakaway after Minnesota’s Marco Scandella broke his stick, provided the Senators’ offence.
Goaltender Robin Lehner, making his first start since Dec. 27, stopped 27 shots to register his second career shutout. Lehner had to make a sharp glove save off Jason Zucker with 7:21 remaining, but Tuesday’s blanking was easier than his 33-save shutout of the Boston Bruins on Feb. 28, 2012.
In a sense, the Senators stole a page from the Wild’s book, getting control of the game early and sticking to a disciplined game plan. They closed the door against the injury depleted Minnesota team, which was playing without Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and No. 1 goalie Josh Harding.
The Senators led 1-0 early in the third when Scandella broke his stick playing the puck at the Senators blueline. Condra took advantage, sprinting in alone on Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Scandella attempted to knock Condra’s stick out of his hands, but Condra managed to get a shot away, slipping the puck between Kuemper’s legs.
Turris put the game out of reach with a late power play goal in an impressive shutdown third period.
After MacArthur scored the lone goal of a first period dominated by the Senators, the second was much more even, with the Wild owning a 10-8 shot edge.
The ice was tilted in the opening period, however, as the Senators came at the Wild in waves.
MacArthur sprinted past Wild defenceman Clayton Stoner and re-directed a Turris pass high over Kuemper on a power play.
Kuemper should have dressed down the rest of his team at the intermission. He was the only one who showed up to start the game and it could have been — probably should have been — much worse for the home team.
The shots after Period 1: 15-3. Another nine shots were blocked by the Wild, and the Senators missed the net on four other attempts.
Senators 3, Wild 0
WHY THEY WON
They took the game to the Wild at the outset and delivered a rock-solid road game the rest of the way. Robin Lehner made the necessary saves when he had to, picking up his second career shutout.
Senators heavyweight Matt Kassian was in the lineup to face the organization where he began his career, and he has only positive words for how he was treated by Minnesota. The Senators now have a 14-3-7 record when he plays.
Zack Smith, Senators No points, but he was a constant presence, pressuring the Wild's offensive threats all night.
The Wild's alarm clock They weren't in the same league as the Senators in the opening period, allowing the Senators to roll over them at the outset.
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