Game Report: AHL Sens Beat Flyers 4-1

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(source: TONY CALDWELL/OTTAWA SUN/QMI AGENCY)

Your Ottawa Senators came into Saturday night’s game having played less than 24 hours before in their 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Flying back home through the night, Ottawa had a rested, Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers waiting for them. The odds didn’t look good for Ottawa to win this game, especially with nine rookies/AHL call-ups in the line-up filling in for injuries and traded players. But something happened last night. A team with nothing to play for and barely icing a NHL calibre roster, handed the best team in the East a 4-1 loss.

The first period was all Philly. Out shooting Ottawa 15 – 3, Sens goalie Craig Anderson stood on his head to keep the Sens in this game. The game started off great for Ottawa as Zach Smith crushed rookie Erik Gustafsson into the boards. But from there, Philly just peppered Mr. Anderson with shot after shot. Making a number of amazing saves, Anderson was only beat by Scott Hartnell on a shot that picked the corner. Anderson could not be faulted on the goal, but the same could not be said for Erik Karlsson. The young Swede was caught at the blueline and let Hartnell walk in on Anderson for the goal.

The second period saw a role reversal as Ottawa came out as the aggressors. Out shooting Philly 14 – 8, Ottawa moved their feet and caused Philly to take their first penalty of the game. Just over a minute into the powerplay, Nick Foligno battled his way out of the corner and caught Brian Boucher cheating and roofed his tenth of the year. Then, four minutes later, off some solid cycling by Erik Condra and Ryan Shannon, Condra netting his first career NHL goal to put the Sens ahead 2-1 after 40 minutes. I don’t know if Philly just sat back because they were playing the worst team in the East, but they did not look like the Beasts of the East.

The third period was back and fourth as both teams fought for the win. It wasn’t until midway through the period that Jason Spezza got a pass to Chris Phillips  at the point and he slipped a wrister through Boucher. His first of the season, Phillips did his patented one arm salute to Sens Army. Could that be the last time we see him do that in a Sens uniform? Condra  finished off the scoring with his second on the night (and his career) on a late powerplay to make the final 4-1 in Ottawa’s favour.

The Positives

Erik Condra is my new favourite Senator. With my #38 jersey on order, Condra not only got his first career NHL goal, but he got his second too. He also scored the game winner and added his first powerplay maker. This kid has the smarts and the effort to be an NHLer next season. What is his ceiling is yet to be determined, but he is fun to watch. Check out the video of Condra talking about his first NHL goal courtesy of SensTV.

Craig Anderson  had another stellar game in Ottawa’s net. Making 30 saves, Anderson kept the Sens in the game in the first period, and did not allow the next goal. When is it too early to start talking contract extension with this anomaly.

Filip Kuba  has really stepped up his game as of late. Playing the most ice time of any player on both teams, Kuba had one assist and even played the body. In the absence of Sergei Gonchar, Kuba has simplified his game and has seemed to finally gotten back into game shape after two major injuries in the last year.

Roman Wick had a better outing this time than his first game in Buffalo. Playing over 12 minutes in ice time, Wick was moved up the line-up throughout the game. Showing good speed, Wick used it to draw a penalty. He needs more time in the minors, but he looks like he may have a future in this league.

The Negatives

Corey Locke has all the skill in the world and he has proven it at every level below the NHL. But last night, Locke played only five minutes and was not a factor in the game at all. If there was ever a time for Locke to show that he can play in this league, yesterday was it. He failed to impress and probably missed his chance to earn more playing time in the NHL.

Here are the Game Highlights courtesy of NHL.com.

***Three Stars***

First Star: Erik Condra - with two goals on the night, the rook’ earns the first star.

Second Star: Craig Anderson – earns it with 30 saves and another solid outing.

Third Star: Ryan Shannon – had two assists and is giving reason to Sens management on why he deserves a new contract.

The Sens proved tonight why they should not be taken lightly. With the infusion of young, eager rookies, Ottawa has become a team full of speed and fight. Next up is the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, but first is the Trade Deadline on Monday at 3 pm. Who will be here and who will not will be determined by then. Til next time, GO SENS GO!!!

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