With chucks of fibreglass still in his cheek from an opponent's high stick earlier in the game, Ottawa Senators forward Colin Greening scored his dramatic double-overtime game-winner on Sunday to become the latest hockey hero from the Rock.
OTTAWA -- Colin Greening scored his dramatic double overtime game winner late Sunday night for the Ottawa Senators, and then was delayed for more than a half hour until early Monday before he could meet up with reporters to discuss his heroics.
There was this little matter that needed attention. You see, he had some small pieces of fibreglass stuck in his left cheek that needed to be removed.
The 27-year-old Senators forward had the big chunks taken out in the second period after he was slapped in the face by an opponent's high stick.
Three periods later, the native of St. John's, N.L., was healthy enough to pop in the deciding goal seven minutes and 39 seconds into the second extra period, his third in three games to lift the Senators to a 2-1 victory before a thrilled crowd of 20,500 at Scotiabank Place.
The timely goal has given the Senators life in their second-round series. They now trail the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 with Game 4 set for the Nation's Capital on Wednesday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET). It also was the first time the Senators led after 207 minutes and 39 seconds in East semifinal against Pittsburgh.
"You dream of that growing up, playing in your garage or something, to be able to score an overtime goal in the playoffs," Greening said. "But to be honest I have to give a lot of credit to [Erik] Condra and [Andre] Benoit. Condra made a great pass to Benoit, who got it on the net, and luckily I was there to shovel it under his [Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun's] arm."
But wasn't Greening in pain with his facial injury? After all, he needed one internal stitch, five on the outside and lots of glue to heal the wound.
"You've got a lot of adrenaline going through your body," he said. "Like I said, they were only the small pieces. I had the big ones taken out."
Greening not the only hero for Sens
Greening was just one hero in this outing for Ottawa. Besides Benoit and Condra, Senators netminder Craig Anderson made 49 saves to allow his team to hang in there against the mighty Penguins.
Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson scored the dramatic game-tying goal with 28.6 seconds left in the third period on a breakaway, thanks to a brilliant pass from Milan Michalek.
Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson found his game. He played a much more prominent role than in the first two games in Pittsburgh as evident by his ice time, a game-leading 39:48.
The Senators penalty killers (Anderson, Benoit, Jared Cowen, Marc Methot, Sergei Gonchar, Chris Philips, Kyle Turris, Alfredsson, Greening, Michalek, Condra, Jakob Silfverberg and Jean-Gabriel Pageau) were brilliant. They went six-for-six, including an all-important 59-second 5-on-3 disadvantage early in the second period.
Jason Spezza also made his return from a four-month layoff because of back surgery. The length of this game was a little much for him. He admitted he was tuckered out. But to see Greening score the winner made it all worth it.
Greening, a Cornell graduate with a degree in applied economics and management as well he was a member of the school's prominent senior Quill and Dagger society, is a proud Newfoundlander.
There have been plenty of memorable hockey moments for the province. Dwayne Norris scored the game-winner for Canada at the 1990 world junior. John Slaney duplicated the feat a year later. Daniel Cleary brought the Stanley Cup home in the summer of 2008. Now this.
He is one of seven Newfoundlanders in the NHL this season. There has never been this many. Greening, Cleary (Detroit) and Ryane Clowe (N.Y. Rangers) are still battling in the playoffs. Teddy Purcell (Tampa Bay), Michael Ryder (Montreal), Adam Pardy (Buffalo) and Luke Adam (Buffalo) will have to wait again until the fall.
Last August, all seven tried to get together for a portrait with each wearing their NHL sweater on St. John's Signal Hill. Unfortunately for Greening, he was the only one who couldn't make it. He couldn't remember exactly why ("A wedding?" he thought out loud).
The picture was organized by the St. John's Telegram. Maybe the newspaper can unite them again this summer to include the province's latest hockey hero.
Tim WharnsbyTim's worked the sports beat at The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Sun, specializing in Canada's one true sporting obsession - hockey. He knows the players, the coaches, the backroom boys and most importantly, the fans. That's what he brings to his stories. Knowledge, fairness and understanding are trademarks of a Wharnsby story. That's what you will get here as he writes for CBCSports.ca.