Ottawa Senators

Ducks score four third-period goals, come back to beat rival Kings

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Ryan Kesler started the rally. Corey Perry finished it.

The Anaheim Ducks, challenged two days ago by head coach Bruce Boudreau, used a four-goal outburst in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit and defeat the rival L.A. Kings by a final score of 4-2 on Friday.

Kesler had gone nine games without a goal, or a point for that matter. He got the comeback going by snapping out of his own drought with a goal less than five minutes into the third period. The Ducks took over on the score board from there. They held the edge in shots on goal — the Kings had more attempts at even strength, as per hockeystats.ca, but could only get 12 shots on John Gibson through the final 40 minutes.

It’s a big win for the Ducks. More importantly, they were looking for a better effort, more emotion in their game, as they looked to break free from recent struggles that had seen them go 6-7-1 in 14 games.

Corey Perry scored the winner, then added the empty net goal with 24 seconds remaining, ending any hope of a Kings comeback in the final minute.

The Kings, who played the night before and were shut out by relative unknown goalie Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators, have now lost two in a row after their eight-game winning streak.

Burgled: Sens’ Hammond shuts out Kings

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The most common reactions to Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond are quickly changing from “Who is this guy?” to “How can we beat him?”

While Jonathan Quick continued his own excellent work for the Los Angeles Kings, Hammond was even better, powering the Senators to a startling 1-0 win on Thursday.

Hammond, 27, now has two shutouts in as many nights. He stopped all 35 shots by the red-hot Kings and now owns a 172:22 shutout streak (stopping 123 of the last 126 shots he’s faced).

This is all coming from an undrafted player at an advanced age who didn’t even really have remarkable numbers at lower levels.

Yes, there was some luck. He somehow stopped a point-blank Tyler Toffoli chance while the Kings were pressing on a late power play. There was also an obvious Justin Williams goal that was blown dead because the official lost sight of the puck.

The Senators have now won four games in a row, all with Hammond in net. While they still have a ways to go, they have to be taken seriously in the East wild card race, especially as Boston, Florida and Philadelphia lost at least their most recent games.

At worst, it’s a great story. At best, it’s the beginning of something special for a guy few heard of before Feb. 18.

He’s already acknowledging his nickname, too:

Ducks’ Boudreau: ‘We better pull our heads out of our butts’

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On Friday, the Anaheim Ducks face the L.A. Kings, who, in case you haven’t noticed, are kind of on a roll right now.

And that roll would very likely continue for the Kings if the Ducks put forward another effort like the one they had Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators.

The Ducks were shut out 3-0 on home ice, ending their brief winning streak at three games. They remain atop the Pacific Division. But the Kings have won eight in a row, made a big trade earlier Wednesday, and appear like they could threaten to go on another lengthy playoff run.

Prior to their small three-game winning streak, the Ducks had been beaten in five of six games.

Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau had a pretty direct message to his team after the loss to Ottawa.

“We can’t wait until the third period to play. We’re capable of doing a lot more than that. It’s maddening,” he said, as per the club’s Twitter account.

“We face a super test Friday [against LA]. We better pull our heads out of our butts or it’s not going to be pretty,” he added.

The Ducks tested Ottawa’s goalie Andrew Hammond with 25 shots on goal, and 15 in the final 40 minutes.

Goalie nods: Holtby looks to continue dominance of Pens

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Braden Holtby owns Pittsburgh

Check the numbers:

Dec. 27: 31-save shutout in a 3-0 win.

Jan. 28: 27-save shutout in a 4-0 win.

Feb. 17: Stopped 32 of 33 shots in a 3-1 win.

All told, Holtby’s posted a 0.33 GAA and .989 save percentage against Pittsburgh this season, which is unbelievably good. It’s all part of what’s been a banner campaign from the 25-year-old, who is 29-13-9 on the season with a 2.16 GAA, .924 save percentage and six shutouts, second-most in the NHL.

The NHL’s shutout leader? That would be Marc-Andre Fleury, with eight, who will start in goal for Pittsburgh this evening. Should be a good one.

Elsewhere…

Calgary at New Jersey: Karri Ramo vs. Cory Schneider

Ottawa at Anaheim: Andrew Hammond vs. John Gibson

Cowen suspended three games for Jokinen headshot

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Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen has been suspended three games for a high hit on Florida’s Jussi Jokinen, Sens head coach Dave Cameron confirmed.

Here’s the hit in question, which occurred during Ottawa’s 4-1 win on Saturday:

The incident happened early in the second period, with Cowen receiving an interference minor. Jokinen appeared to be shook up initially but didn’t miss any time, finishing the game with 16:21 TOI.

Cowen, 24, did have a history with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety as a repeat offender. Back in December of 2013, he was suspended two games for an illegal check to the heat of Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons:

As a result of today’s suspension, Cowen will miss Ottawa’s next three games: Wednesday in Anaheim, Thursday in Los Angeles and Saturday in San Jose.