The Ottawa Senators return home after a thrilling 3-2 OT win over the Buffalo Sabres. They would be facing an uphill battle tonight as they hosted the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins without the services of veterans Filip Kuba and Sergei Gonchar as well as leading NHL goal scorer Milan Michalek. Craig Anderson would get the start for Ottawa and would be facing fellow starter Tim Thomas.
The First Period
The Ottawa Senators had an extremely strong first period, dominating the Bruins for the most part. Unfortunately for them, outplaying your opponent doesn’t always show on the scoreboard. The Sens more than doubled Boston in shots 13-6, but ended up down by one. Boston’s lead came courtesy of Rich Perveley who found himself alone in the slot wristing one stick side on Anderson. This period also featured a rather uneventful fight between heavyweights Matt Carkner and Milan Lucic, which most would probably agree was a draw.
The Second Period
The second period would be a continuation from the first with Ottawa controlling the play. Chris Neil would have a great chance to tie it early in the period on a semi breakaway, but was turned away by Thomas. A few minutes later though at 4:23 the captain would strike. Daniel Alfredsson wired the puck past Thomas on a beautiful pass from Jason Spezza tying the game 1-1. Unfortunately for Ottawa, their youth on defence showed as David Rundblad failed to take the body in front of Anderson. The result was former Senator Chris Kelly potting an easy rebound goal in front at 13:47 to take a 2-1 lead. A scary moment late in the period as Nick Foligno would be the recipient of a dirty knee on knee collision from Adam McQuaid. Luckily for Foligno (and the Senators) he would come out unscathed. McQuaid on the other hand would end up taking a 5 minute major on the play, giving the Sens a glorious opportunity to come back. Unfortunately, Zenon Konopka would end up taking a questionable goalie interference call before the period finished, killing off 2 minutes of the Sens powerplay heading into the 3rd.
The Third Period
The third period would be one the Sens would like to forgot. They plain and simple shot themselves in the foot. It started with a pass by Alfredsson back into his own zone to Erik Karlsson. The pass would end up being off the mark leading to Karlsson fumbling the puck. The result was a Patrice Bergeron breakaway and he would make no mistake on a nice deke giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead at 4:54. Less than a minute later, a poor pinch and turnover by Rundblad would lead to a breakaway by Daniel Paille who would wrist it past Anderson for the 4-1 lead. Jason Spezza would answer back at 15:55, giving some hope that the cardiac kids could prevail only down by 2. The Sens would soon be gifted a powerplay by a Brad Marchand delay of game. However, they would be unable to convert and with just over a minute remaining, Paille would get his 2nd of the game on a bullet of a shot over Anderson’s shoulder. Final score 5-2 for the Bruins.
+ Pluses +
+ First Line: The first line of Colin Greening, Jason Spezza, and Daniel Alfredsson did exactly what they needed to do tonight by providing both of the Senators goals.
- Minuses -
- Bobby Butler: With the injury to Michalek, Bobby Butler was slotted on the 2nd line tonight. However, he was invisible for most of the night and clearly isn’t ready this season to be in the top 6. Perhaps a quick Binghamton stint is in order, if only to get his confidence and goal scoring touch back.
- David Rundblad: Rundblad was responsible for two goals against tonight. He still doesn’t look comfortable on the North American ice and both his offensive annd defensive game are struggling. When either Kuba or Gonchar get back I would hope that Bryan Murray plans to send Rundblad to the AHL. It would likely do wonders for his game as it did with Karlsson in his rookie year.
- Craig Anderson: Although the blame can’t fully be pinned on Anderson, back to back breakaway goals in the third put the game away. Those are the moments in a game when the Sens need their goaltender to come up with the big saves. Unfortunately for Anderson, these moments are likely going to come up more often than not with the young D the Sens currently have dressed.
- Senators PP: Again, the previously dominant Senators powerplay struggled. Ottawa was handed 5 powerplays to Boston’s zero. The Sens failed to capitilize on any of them. Missing three key components of the powerplay in Michalek, Kuba, and Gonchar doesn’t help either.
*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***
* Tim Thomas: 47 Saves – You wouldn’t have known that the Senators nearly mustered 50 shots on goal. Thomas made every save seem easy and showed why he was the best goalie in the NHL last season.
** Daniel Paille : 2G 0A – With two goals in the third, he buried any chances of a Senators comeback.
*** Rich Peverley: 1G 1A – Opened the game with the first goal as well as assisting on the Bruins’ 2nd goal by Chris Kelly.
The Ottawa Senators deserved a better fate tonight controlling the majority of the play. Had it not been for the play of Tim Thomas, Ottawa would have likely been sporting a nice lead after 2. The Sens need to get their power play rolling again as well if they want to stay in the playoff race. It has been struggling big time as of late. When you get 5 powerplays to your opponent’s zero, you have to make them pay. Craig Anderson’s stats continue to get worse, but he can’t be fully blamed on that. The Senators defence is just causing way too many turnovers at the worst possible times in the game. This can be attributed to the fact that the Sens lack any veteran presence with Kuba and Gonchar both out. Guess that’s karma for the booing those two received in the home opener. Until next time, Go Sens Go!
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