Youth was the theme as due to Filip Kuba‘s injury, both Brian Lee and David Rundblad were in the lineup at the same time for the first game this season. Ottawa came in on a two game winning streak, with the last game being a up and down 6-4 win over the Jets in Winnipeg.
Dallas was playing without #1 goalie Kari Lehtonen, and Andrew Raycroft has not been very successful this season, sporting a 1-5 record. Could the Senators get an early jump on the struggling Stars?
THE FIRST PERIOD
Each line had some very good sustained offensive zone pressure in the first 3 minutes, as they hemmed the Stars in their own end for extended periods of time. Unfortunately they could not cash in on the pressure but did gain some momentum. Ottawa killed off the firs penalty of the game to Erik Condra. Just after he exited the box, teammate Jared Cowen knocked Brad Larsen on his butt in front of the Dallas bench, and sent the puck to Condra who was at full speed through the neutral zone. Condra’s wrist shot tucked in just at the elbow of cross-bar and post for the perfectly placed shot and the 1-0 lead. On the Stars’ second power play (due to Nick Foligno‘s offensive zone holding call), Toby Peterson‘s point shot went off Chris Phillips‘ pants and was tipped past Craig Anderson by Dallas super-pest Steve Ott to knot the game at 1. The teams traded chances and Ottawa was awarded with a power play where they had 3 or 4 quality chances, most notably Daniel Alfredsson‘s blast off the cross bar. However, the period ended with the teams still tied at 1, and Ottawa outshooting the Stars by a 13-9 margin.
THE SECOND PERIOD
The second period was ridiculously uneventful, as the most action in the period that saw only 8 total shots (4 for each team), was the Ottawa penalty kill of Zenon Konopka‘s tripping infraction. Kaspars Daugavins blocked 3 straight shots in an unconventional manner that is going to get him killed one of these days. The 1 knee down method of blocking shots is not recommended, but it works for him. He is either extremely tough, extremely stupid or a combination of the two. However, there was no scoring and those who are not die-hard Sens fans probably fell asleep during this period given the later start.
THE THIRD PERIOD
Steve Ott had a great chance to break the deadlock early on when Mike Ribeiro found him wide open at the side of the net, but the angle was too sharp and Ott missed the yawning cage. This period was a little more wide open than the second, but the goaltenders came to play on this one. Craig Anderson made 3 saves on the doorstep as the period passed the midway point. Michalek scored his 15th goal of the season when he gloved down a rebound from Raycroft and batted it in short side to give the Senators the lead with just over 8 minutes left. The lead didn’t last long as less than 3 minutes later Ribeiro threw a pass to the slot and it was tipped into the Ottawa net by Radek Dvorak to tie the game back up. Dallas, with some hard work by Eric Nystrom, took their first lead of the game with 2:20 left in the game, as he put his own rebound past Anderson. The attempted comeback was not to be as Raycroft robbed Daniel Alfredsson with his glove as time expired to secure the 3-2 Dallas victory.
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SENSHOT’S THREE STARS
3. Mike Ribeiro - 1A, angerous while carrying the puck all night
2. Andrew Raycroft – Busy at times, made some difficult stops among his 31 stops
1. Milan Michalek – 1G, and a physical force and nearly tied the game with 20 seconds left
Here are the game highlights from NHL.com
WHAT I SAW
Milan Michalek played a very strong game, and was more involved physically than I have seen him, maybe ever, in a Senators uniform. He dished a couple of big hits in the first period and also took a big hit while negating an icing call. His offense in the third period was much needed and just wasn’t enough.
Daniel Alfredsson looked as good as he has since he took Wojtek Wolski’s elbow in the head. Alfie was skating great, and had a handfulgreat scoring chance.
Jason Spezza struggled mightily in this one. Losing Michalek on his wing has hurt the Ottawa centre, who must be feeling pressure to turn Filatov into a scorer. He seemed to be back to trying to do too much himself, and was only 43% on faceoffs.
The young defensemen actually played all right, all things considered. However, Phillips had a rough game and was the goat on a couple of the goals, most notably Nystrom’s game winner.
The loss snaps the 2 game winning streak and will be one that is pointed to should the Senators be within a couple of points of the playoffs at season’s end. They couldn’t shut the door on the Stars and gave up a late lead.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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