Bobby Ryan will begin a seven-year, $50.75 million contract with the Ottawa Senators next season and he’s given them some cause for concern. The four time 30-plus goal scorer is coming off of a lukewarm regular season where he managed just 18 markers in 78 contests. He was also quiet the opening four games of Ottawa’s first round series against Montreal.
The 28-year-old ended a 16-game goal scoring drought tonight though with a nice shot through traffic that found its way past Canadiens goaltender Carey Price:
Montreal jumped ahead 3-0 in this series. Ottawa stayed alive with a 28-save shutout from goaltender Craig Anderson in Game 4, but the Senators clearly need others to step up as well if they are going to dig themselves out of this sizable hole. Ryan breaking out at this stage would be a big boost for them when they need it the most.
The benefit of being a Cinderella Story is that you get very familiar playing in must-win games. Ottawa needed to go on an incredible 21-3-3 just to make the playoffs. Compared to that a four-game winning streak doesn’t sound so daunting. The Seantors were down 3-0 in the first round going into tonight’s contest, but they stayed alive for at least one more game by earning a 1-0 victory over Montreal tonight.
As has been the case so often for Ottawa in recent months, goaltending was the story. Craig Anderson, who had lost the starting gig to Andrew Hammond by the end of the season, got the nod for the second straight game and turned aside 28 shots to earn his third career playoff shutout.
His efforts proved critical as netminder Carey Price and the Canadiens were very effective at shutting down the Senators. Two of Ottawa’s top forwards, Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan, were once again held off the scoresheet in this first round series. Not that they were alone in that tonight as 25-year-old rookie Mike Hoffman accounted for the game’s only goal:
Of course a team winning Game 4 after falling behind 3-0 isn’t unheard of, but actually pulling off a reverse sweep is a very rare feat. Ottawa will have another must-win game on Friday.
Ottawa needed a 21-3-3 run to make the playoffs and throughout that stretch, most of the praise for the Senators’ turnaround was focused on goaltender Andrew Hammond. He certainly was a big part of the their success, but he wasn’t the sole cause of that incredible run. Others stepped up for Ottawa as well during that stretch and the Senators similarly need to provide current starting goaltender Craig Anderson with more support going forward if they going to pull off a second unlikely comeback.
“We’ve kind of been a one line scoring team over the past five or six games. We need some help,” Senators forward Erik Condra said, per the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.
Rookie Mark Stone has three points in the playoffs, Clarke MacArthur has found the back of the net twice, and Mika Zibanejad has a goal and an assist. That covers the full range of Ottawa forwards with at least two points in the first round.
Kyle Turris, who had 35 points in 36 contests after the All-Star break, has been held off the scoresheet for two straight games. Then there’s Bobby Ryan; a 28-year-old forward with four 30-plus goal seasons on his resume and the owner of a seven-year, $50.75 million contract that kicks in next season. He doesn’t have a point yet in this series.
“(Ryan) had some poise tonight, so it was good to see,” Senators coach Dave Cameron said in defense of his player, per the team’s website.
Still, Ottawa needs more out of Ryan. The Senators have tied their future closely to him with that contract. With that in mind, he’ll be one of the key players looked at to be the hero in Game 4.