Game Recap: TBL @ OTT - Anderson Stands Tall

Nick Foligno slides the puck past Roloson for the 3-2 lead (Photo Credit: AP)

Pre-Game Warmup

The Ottawa Senators on a two game losing streak welcomed the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning (on a three game losing streak) to Scotiabank Place. One team would end up breaking their slump tonight. This was the first meeting between these two teams. Craig Anderson would get the start for Ottawa and would be facing 42 year old Dwayne Roloson for Tampa Bay.

The First Period

There would be no scoring for either team after the first period. However, there were chances for both sides. Ottawa would get the majority of them (leading the period 14-9 in shots), but would fail to capitalize on numerous opportunities. There were several instances when open shots were passed up to attempt passes that never made it through. The best chance of the period belonged to one of the NHL leading goal scorers Steven Stamkos as he received a cross crease pass staring at a wide open net. He was unable to make solid contact with the puck though and instead ended up firing it into the corner.

The Second Period

The second period would be a total reversal of the first with the Bolts totally dominating the play. Had it not been for Craig Anderson, Ottawa would have been out of the game after the period. Early on Tampa had a great chance as they somehow ended up on a 4 on 1 but were unable to sneak one by Anderson. They continued to pressure, eventually sneaking one into the Sens goal at the 13:52 mark as Bruno Gervais wristed a seeing eye puck from the point. That seemed to wake Ottawa up as around three minutes later Jared Cowen would throw the puck towards the Lightning net with Zack Smith in front who was able to tip it past Roloson. The period would end 1-1 with the Lightning deserving a bigger lead having outshot Ottawa 12-5.

The Third Period

Tampa Bay would continue to come out flying and pressuring Ottawa. Early in the period Erik Karlsson would end up getting the puck stripped from him by Steven Stamkos attempting to leave his own zone. Stamkos then found a wide open Martin St. Louis in front of the net and he would make no mistake roofing one past Anderson. Paul MacLean needed to get some offence going, so Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, and Milan Michalek found themselves together on the first line. It would pay off with Alfredsson receiving a pass from Spezza and launching a slap shot past Roloson. With the game tied, MacLean decided to go back to his old top line of Colin Greening, Jason Spezza, and Milan Michalek along with his old 2nd line of Nick Foligno, Jesse Winchester, and Daniel Alfredsson. His decision would pay off again as the 2nd line would take the lead on a Foligno wraparound with assists from his two linemates. Less than a minute later Zack Smith would put the game away on a breakaway goal, giving him his 2nd of the game and a 4-2 Ottawa win.

+ Pluses +

+ Jesse Winchester: Winchester played a very solid game today. He did a great job on the penalty kill and chipped in an assist while taking his spot on the 2nd line late in the 3rd period. He’s the perfect 4th line player for the Senators right now.

+ Daniel Alfredsson: The captain of the Sens scored exactly when he was needed with the Sens down by a goal. He finished the night with 1G and 1A and may be getting back to what his game was like pre-concussion.

- Minuses -

- Bobby Butler: Given another chance on the top line with Greening and Spezza, Butler has been unable to produce. Except for his game in Calgary this season has been a disaster for him thus far.

– Erik Karlsson: Although he didn’t play a terrible game, the giveaway early in the 3rd was awful when he had an easy clear. Karlsson sometimes tries to do too much with the puck instead of the safe play available and this time it almost cost his team. Nevertheless, it comes with the type of game EK65 plays.

Game Highlights

*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***

* Craig Anderson: 31 Saves, 1A – Was the reason the Sens won tonight. Also took the goaltending lead in points with his 3rd assist of the season.

** Zack Smith: 2G 0A – Continues to impress, increasing his goal total to 8 so far this season. What more is there to come from the new #15.

*** Chris Phillips: 0G 1A – What a great game by Phillips. He was laying to body all over the place tonight and winning the battles in the corners. According to the Team 1200 he also had an impressive 7 blocked shots to boot.

Final Thoughts

The Tampa Bay Lighting probably deserved to win this game, but goaltending was the difference tonight. Craig Anderson stood tall. It was also nice to see MacLean revert to his old top two lines and for the decision to instantly pay off. It will be interesting to see the line combos on Wednesday against the Caps. I would expect after this game that we will see Nikita Filatov in for Butler as well. 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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