With a pre-season record of 1-1-1 in their first three games, your Ottawa Senators suited up again against the Montreal Canadiens for the second time in two nights. After blowing a three-goal lead on Friday night and falling in the shootout, Ottawa hoped to get some pay back on the Habs in their barn.
With only seven regulars in the line-up, Ottawa had many rookies trying to show head coach Paul MacLean what they have and make a last minute impression. With 51 players still left in camp and only three more pre-season games to go, its expected that there will be some major cuts made today.
Ottawa showed their youthful line-up as they out shot the more veteran Habs line-up 8-4. But the period was very boring to watch as both teams played safe. With only two penalties in the first, both going to Ottawa, that was as exciting the period got.
The second period finally saw some action as Habs sniper Mike Cammalleri got Montreal on the board. Off a crazy tip that bounced by Robin Lehner, Cammalleri got his first of the pre-season. Just a few minutes later, on a great outlet pass from Aaron Palushaj that sent Cammalleri on a break-a-way, put the Habs up by two as Cammalleri pick the top corner on Lehner. Ottawa replied as the seconds were ticking down in the second period as Stephane Da Costa set up Milan Michalek in the slot with a great feed that he buried past Carey Price.
With Ottawa pushing in the third to get back into the game, the Sens got a lucky break. With Chris Neil trying to set up Michalek in front of the net, his pass went off two Habs in front a got by Price to tie the game at two. With the two teams looking like they were heading into overtime for the second game in a row, the Sens had other thoughts. With 28 seconds left in the game, Nikita Filatov showed his speed as he took the puck wide and behind the net and sent a pass to a streaking Neil for his second of the game and the game winner.
+ Pluses +
+ CHRIS NEIL had a great game with two goals and five shots on goal. I think MacLean’s new system based on physicality and speed will suit Neiler well.
+ JARED COWEN had another solid game and showed great speed. With over 23 minutes of ice time, Cowen shows that he is a horse on the ice and can be trusted in any situation.
+ DAVID RUNDBLAD had his best game in a Sens jersey. He still doesn’t look ready for the NHL yet, but he is starting to show the skill that has earned him all this hyped coming into this year.
- Minuses -
- PATRICK WIERCIOCH for the second straight game, played under 15 minutes. Playing just over 13 minutes on Friday night, Wiercioch ended up with only 12 minutes of ice time on Saturday night. With Cowen and Rundblad seeing significantly more time than Wiercioch, even first year rookie Mark Borowiecki saw more than seven minutes of ice time than Wiercioch. Obviously the coaching staff does not trust Wiercioch on the ice.
*** Three Stars ***
1st Star * CHRIS NEIL ~ had two goals and the game winner as he looks ready for a bounce back year.
2nd Star ** MIKE CAMMALLERI ~ notched two goals and also looks ready for a bounce back year after only netting 19 goals last year.
3rd Star *** MILAN MICHALEK ~ had a goal and an assist and looks ready to get off to a good start to the year.
Overall, the game wasn’t too exciting to watch. With Ottawa getting Sunday off, I expect there will be a number of cuts to get the camp roster down to a more manageable number with only three games left in the pre-season. Ottawa will take on the Winnipeg Jets on Monday at the strange starting time of 4 pm. ‘Til next time Sens Army, GO SENS GO!!!
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