The Ottawa Senators hosted the Buffalo Sabres tonight, in what has likely become one of the most anticipated games this season with Kyle Turris‘ making his debut for the Sens. As well, this game sees the return of two veteran defencemen for Ottawa, Sergei Gonchar and Filip Kuba. With only Milan Michalek out due to injury, this is a game the Sens should be favored to win against the hurting Sabres. Both starters would play in goals, with Craig Anderson for Ottawa and Ryan Miller for Buffalo.
The First Period
The Ottawa Senators controlled the play during the first period, and the result showed on the scoreboard. After a Miller save on a Chris Neil breakaway, Zack Smith was able to pot his 9th of the season on the rebound to give the Sens a 1-0 lead heading into the 2nd. Unfortunately Ottawa would also lose the services of Jesse Winchester in the period. He would be the recipient of a hit from behind by Paul Gaustad (which went surprisingly uncalled). It has since been confirmed that Winchester has indeed suffered the all too common concussion we’re hearing about this season.
The Second Period
The second period would be a rather slow one with very little action from both sides. However, Buffalo would end up tying the game on the powerplay. A wrister by Jordan Leopold from the side boards would find a way through Anderson’s five hole. It was definitely a goal he’d want back. The teams would head into the 3rd deadlocked at 1.
The Third Period
The third period would be all Ottawa. Kyle Turris would earn his first point as a Senator, grabbing his own rebound and sending a pass to Erik Condra who while being checked from behind was able to swat the puck into the empty goal. Late in the period the Sens would put the game away on the powerplay. A beautiful cross crease pass by Daniel Alfredsson would find its way to Erik Karlsson to give the Sens a commanding 3-1 lead with under 3 minutes left in the period. Erik Condra would finish the game with an empty net goal for his 2nd of the game. Final score 4-1 Ottawa.
+ Pluses +
+ Driving The Net: All of Ottawa’s goals (minus the empty net) came from just outside the crease. It was nice seeing them driving the net for rebounds and being rewarded with goals.
+ Solid Defence: With the return of Kuba and Gonchar the whole Sens back end look much more relaxed. There were very few turnovers and the breakout looked much more effective. It was nice not having to worry about a mistake that could lead to a goal against.
- Minuses -
- None: This was a complete game by Ottawa and I wasn’t disappointed by anyone or any aspect of their game tonight. They definitely deserved this one.
*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***
* Erik Condra: 2G 0A – With two goals, Erik Condra led the way offensively for the Sens contributing the GWG as well.
** Ryan Miller : 35/38 – With the Sens continuously getting strong scoring chances, Ryan Miller was the only reason Buffalo was in this game. He had no chance on either of the three Senators goals against him.
*** Craig Anderson: 22/23 – Allowed one weak goal, but was solid for the rest of the night. Could definitely have had a chance at his first shutout tonight.
The Ottawa Senators played one of their best games in a while, giving a full 60 minute effort. Kyle Turris didn’t stand out to much to me, although his assist on the GWG was nice. I’ll reserve judgement on him until later in the season as I expect him to need several games to get back into game form. You have to keep in mind how late he signed his contract and the fact he’s only played in 6 games with Phoenix with limited minutes. You could definitely tell the Sens benefited with the return of the veteran defence as the team as a whole looked more confident. I can’t wait to have Michalek return as it will give Paul MacLean a few options when putting together his top 6 forwards. Lastly, the NHL has to crack down on hits from behind. The fact that the hit on Winchester went unpenalized is astonishing. Those plays are becoming too common and the NHL may need to give it the head shot treatment in terms of suspensions soon. Until next time, Go Sens Go!
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