Game Recap: OTT @ WPG - The Cardiac Kids Strike Again

Milan Michalek scores a beauty for his first of the game (Photo Credit: AP)

Pre-Game Warmup

This game marks the first visit for the Senators to the newest Candian team, the Winnipeg Jets. Coming off a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Sens are looking to make it two wins in a row. The Jets on the other hand are coming off a 4-2 loss to Boston and are hope to rebound at home.

This was the second meeting between the Jets and the Sens, the first being a 4-1 victory for Ottawa at Scotiabank Place back on Oct. 20th. Craig Anderson would get the nod for Ottawa and Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg.

The First Period

The Ottawa Senators would lead 1-0 after the first on a beautiful goal (and his 300th point) by Sens leading goal scorer Milan Michalek wristing one top shelf on Pavelec. However, if it weren’t for the play of Craig Anderson the Sens would have likely found themselves down by one or more. Winnipeg controlled the majority of the play, throwing 14 shots on Anderson, many of them good opportunities. There were also some scary moments in the first for Sens fans as Jared Cowen was almost struck straight in the face by a high shot, but managed to turn his head at the last second and receive it near the ear. This was followed by a Winnipeg skate catching Nikita Filatov in the face leading to a broken nose and would be the end of the night for him. If that weren’t enough, Filip Kuba would leave with an upper body injury after receiving a hit and falling awkwardly.

The Second Period

The second would be much like the first with Winnipeg controlling the majority of play, and it would finally pay off for them. After Erik Karlsson missed two opportunities to clear the puck from his own end, Daniel Alfredsson would make a rare mistake of his own turning the puck over in front of his net. This led to the wide open cage for Blake Wheeler 7:06 into the period. They would almost get another shortly after on a 5 on 3 power play, but Anderson would absolutely rob Nick Antropov on a one timer staring at an open net. However, the Jets would take the lead on a nice forecheck by Tanner Glass leading to Alexander Burmistrov bouncing one an ugly one off a surprised Anderson at 15:07. That seemed to wake the Senators up though. Just 35 seconds later, Ottawa would manage to pull the puck out of a scrum at the side of the Winnipeg net, leading to Zack Smith potting his 5th of the year. The Sens would then take the lead with under a minute left, as Chris Phillips would throw the puck through a maze of bodies where it would deflect off of Milan Michalek for his 2nd of the game. The Senators would finish the period still up by a goal, 3-2.

The Third Period

Like the first two periods Winnipeg came out flying and it paid off. After receiving a huge hit in the offensive zone, Karlsson lay on the ice, clearly having had the wind knocked out of him. The result was an odd man rush the other way eventually leading to a goal in front by Evander Kane just 1:24 into the period. The Jets would strike againg just 1:17 seconds on the powerplay with Kane notching his 2nd of the game and 12th this season. The cardiac kids would not go down easily though. With just over 10 minutes to play, Chris Phillips would do a nifty backhand pass to Karlsson to keep the puck in the offensive zone. This would lead to Karlsson finding a wide open Jason Spezza who would roof it top shelf over a sprawling Pavelec. Minutes later the Sens would find themselves on the powerplay, and Paul MacLean would go on a hunch putting his succesful third line out to start. The hunch would pay off as Zack Smith wired his 2nd of the game and 6th of the season (tying him with Heatley for goals) over Pavelec’s shoulder to take the 5-4 lead. The Senators would fend off the Jets and Nick Foligno would get the empty net goal to finish the game 6-4 for Ottawa.

+ Pluses +

+ Zack Smith: This really looks like his breakout year. With 13 points on the season he has already set a career high in points. He’s always hustling and is looking to possibly be a succesor to the fan favorite Mike Fisher. The real question though is will he be able to keep up his scoring pace for the entire season seeing as every point he earns now is going towards his career high in points.

+ Milan Michalek: What more can you ask from 9MM. He pots two goals tonight pushing his total to 14 and is making fans quickly forget about Dany Heatley. It really looks like he’s finally recovered from the disastrous knee injury he suffered back in 2008-09 and has solidified his position as the Senators go to scorer.

- Minuses -

- Senators Defenceman: Although they were down to 5 D because of the Kuba injury, they have to do a better job of clearing the area around the net. The Jets were hovering around it all night with little resistance, resulting in several goals in close proximity to Anderson.

Game Highlights

*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***

* Zack Smith – 2G 0A
** Milan Michalek – 2G 0A
*** Chris Phillips – 0G 2A

Final Thoughts

The Winnipeg Jets probably deserved a better fate tonight after outshooting Ottawa 43-34 and definitely outchancing them as well. The Senators bent but never broke clawing their way back from one goal deficits in both the 2nd and 3rd period. The powerplay for Ottawa was looking good tonight with very fast puck movement and it finally paid off with the 3rd line of Kaspars Daugavins, Zack Smith and Erik Condra out on a MacLean hunch. Although it was a very exciting game this is not the type of game we’ll want to see the Senators play too often. Craig Anderson may have let in 4 goals, but he was also one of the reasons we were in this game to begin. It will be interesing to see how severe the injuries are to Filatov and Kuba as they may result in some new callups from Binghamton. Lastly, don’t forget to cast your votes for Daniel Alfredsson and your other favorite Senators for the All Star game in Ottawa!

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