Game Recap - OTT @ BUF - Alfredsson Can't Prevent Sens 5th Straight Loss

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Matt Ellis scores on Craig Anderson during the first period (Photo Credit: AP)

Pre-Game Warmup

This game marked the return of Daniel Alfredsson from the concussion injury suffered back on October 29th against the New York Rangers. Since then, the Ottawa Senators have had a record of 1-3-1 without their captain. Although welcoming their captain into the lineup, the Senators also found out they would be without the services of Chris Neil due to an ankle injury substained in the loss to the Rangers two days ago.

This was the second meeting between these two teams, with the Buffalo Sabres winning the previous game 3-2 in a shootout at Scotiabank Place. Craig Anderson would start for the Sens and Jhonas Enroth for the Sabres.

The First Period

This period was one that Anderson would like to forget. Just 2:09 into the period Drew Stafford would throw a harmless shot towards the net from the right side. Anderson was unable to control the rebound, allowing Sens killer Derek Roy to pot his 5th of the season. Just 16 seconds later, another harmless shot by Corey Tropp from the point would be mishandled by Anderson, leading to Matt Ellis scoring the rebound goal for his 1st of the year. That would mark the end of Anderson for the night, leaving him with a very ugly 49.66 GAA for this game.

However, shortly after the Sabres would run into penalty trouble giving the Senators a short 5 on 3. Just as the 5 on 3 expired, Sergei Gonchar would blast his 1st goal of the year top corner to bring his team within one at the 4:38 mark of the period.  Buffalo would regain their two goal lead at the 14:40 mark with a nice pass from behind the net by Stafford (left unpressured by the Sens defence) to Jordan Leopold who would sneak it past Alex Auld.

The Second Period

The second was uneventful when it came to scoring, but Ottawa had their chances. Their best coming on a shortanded 2 on 1 by Erik Condra and Zack Smith. Condra sent a beautiful pass across to Smith who was unable to capitalize on Enroth. The period also featured some solid penalty killing by the Sens who had to kill off a total of 3 penalties, including a short 5 on 3. Ottawa would still end up outshooting Buffalo 11 to 5 in the period, with the Sabres still holding on to the two goal lead.

 The Third Period

There would be no third period comeback for the Senators this time. Just four minutes into the period Luke Adams would wrist one past Auld from a nice feed by Thomas Vanek giving the Sabres a comfortable three goal lead. They would increase the lead 57 seconds later on a shot by Ville Leino that would find it’s way off Auld’s back and it the net. It was cruise control from Buffalo from that point with the game out of reach for Ottawa. A dominating 5-1 victory for the Buffalo Sabres.

+ Pluses +

+ Daniel Alfredsson: Even in a 5-1 loss the captain of the Senators was dangerous on every shift. You couldn’t even tell that he had just returned from what once looked like a severe concussion.  Was the only forward on the Sens that wasn’t negative in the plus/minus department.

- Minuses -

- Craig Anderson: Anderson will need to be a lot better in net if the Senators plan on winning this season. 2 goals on 6 shots won’t cut it. This young team just can’t afford to be down by two early in a game. So far this season has not been friendly for Anderson and he may soon go down as another victim of Ottawa’s goalie graveyard.

- Alex Auld: The Senators need goaltending from someone to keep them in the game. Auld wasn’t the answer, giving up two quick ones in the third putting the game out of reach. With 3 goals on 15 shots, one wonders if either Senator goalie will finish with a save percentage above .900.

- Senators D: All of the Sabres goals came from in close this game. The Senators defencemen will have to do a much better job of clearing guys away from the net and not allowing them to get shots off, especially on nights when the goalies are struggling.

Game Highlights

*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***

* Derek Roy – 1G 2A
** Drew Stafford – 3A
*** Jhonas Enroth – 36 saves

Final Thoughts

The Senators had no chance tonight with the goaltending they received (5 goals on 21 shots). They managed to throw 37 shots towards Enroth who only allowed one, keeping his unbeaten streak alive so far this season. It was also obvious that the Sabres were much more willing to drive the net tonight and it paid off. The Senators played too much of a perimeter game to pose much threat to the Sabres and will have to change that if they plan on being competitive. They won’t have much time to think on this loss as they are back on the ice tomorrow against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the ACC.

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