The Ottawa Senators dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Montreal Canadiens in their third tune-up game of the season last night. Despite jumping out to a 3-0 lead, and holding a lead in the final minute of regulation, this game got away from the Sens via a combination of dumb luck, persistence from the Habs, and a lack of stick-to-itivness from the home ensemble.
As we have done throughout the entire pre-season at SenShot, our focus will be less on the specific deets of the game, and more on the overall impressions.
It was the Zack Smith show for much of the evening, especially within a brief span of the first period. Smith unloaded for two back-to-back goals and was a terrific presence between Matt Hoffman and Erik Condra. Smith would eventually finish one assist shy of the Gordie Howe hat trick after engaging in some fisticuffs in the third frame. The young forward displayed exactly what management is looking for out of their 3rd line centre – grit, tenacity, and the lingering threat of offensive output.
Stephane Da Costa was another prospect who showed well on the Sens side last night. Centring a line with Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfredsson that has the potential to be an item to start the regular season, Da Costa was buzzing. A nifty pass to Michalek in the second resulted in the third goal for the team. The battle for that second centre position remains the most intriguing in camp; Peter Regin and Da Costa appear to be neck and neck with Mika Zibanejad not far behind.
Speaking of Alfredsson, it was the captain’s first game in over six months last night. Alfie’s performance was cautious, what one would expect given the circumstances. The good news is that his back withstood the experiment. Whether or not he can still rise to his noted high levels of excellence ever again remains a mystery, still, it felt great to see #11 back out there. Unfortunately, it was off his foot that the game-tying goal, late in regulation, bounced in off of.
Filip Kuba continues to look like a bigger rookie than half of the guys out there. One has to wonder how long it will take before the “Kubalicious” one is relegated to the press box. Especially with the likes of Jared Cowen and Mark Borowiecki looking like seasoned vets.
Craig Anderson played the entire game between the pipes and looked solid despite the loss. He could only be fault on the first goal, a slapper from a stationary player on the near-side dot that went through him. The other goals came on a breakaway and the aforementioned, unlucky, crease-side bounce. His shootout performance wasn’t exactly “all world” either, but the rest of the time he was calming, in position, and making tough saves look easy.
The Sens take on those Habs again tonight in Montreal at 7pm.
**Don’t forget to buy your Tickets for SenShot’s Alfie Night in Ottawa on November 11th, 2011. Click here for more details**
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