Anders Nilsson made 35 saves for his second shutout of the season as the lowly Ottawa Senators beat the struggling St. Louis Blues 2-0 at home Thursday night.
Nilsson, the Senators backup who had a 5.14 goals-against average in his previous five starts, made several key saves to help his team earn just its second win in the last 13 games. Ottawa, which has an NHL-low 54 points and has already been eliminated from the playoff race, snapped a five-game home losing streak and a four-game slide to St. Louis, which outshot the hosts 35-21 on the night.
The result could prove costly for the Blues, who have totaled three goals during an 0-2-1 stretch that’s come without injured goal leader Vladimir Tarasenko. Though still in playoff position in the Western Conference, St. Louis has scored more than two goals twice during a 4-5-2 stretch that’s followed its club-record 11-game winning streak.
St. Louis outshot Ottawa 13-5 in the first period, but had nothing to show for it. The Senators showed more offensive prowess in the early minutes of the second, exceeding their shots on goal total from the first less than seven minutes into the middle period.
Ottawa finally broke through with 6:33 left in the second, when defenseman Christian Wolanin took a cross-ice pass off the wing from Mikkel Boedker and drove one from the high slot into what was essentially an empty net as Blues goalie Jake Allen overcommitted the other way.
The Blues again had their chances in the third, particularly from Ryan O’Reilly and Robert Thomas, but often were stopped on point-blank saves by Nilsson. St. Louis got its third power-play chance of the night with 5:41 left in regulation, but could not take advantage.
Chris Tierney’s empty-netter with 57 seconds left sealed the deal for Ottawa.
Allen finished with 19 saves for St. Louis.
Highly touted Ottawa forward Max Veronneau recorded five shots in his NHL debut.
—Field Level Media