The Ottawa Senators hosted the Calgary Flames for tonight’s tilt. Both teams are coming off losses and are both looking to get back in the playoff race. There was the potential for this to be a milestone night with Daniel Alfredsson one goal away from 400 and Jarome Iginla two away from 500. Both backups would start in goals tonight, with Alex Auld for Ottawa and rookie Leland Irving for Calgary.
The First Period
Goaltending was the difference in this period. The play for both teams was pretty much even with both exchanging numerous scorings opportunities. However, Irving would end up outplaying his counterpart to give the Flames a 3-0 lead. The period started off badly for the Sens just 23 seconds in. Rene Bourque would attempt a pass towards the net from behind the goal line, but instead would have it bounce off Kyle Turiss‘ skate and find its way through Auld. A lucky one, but a goal nonetheless. After a Nick Foligno penalty in the offensive zone, Curtis Glencross would end up finding some space in front of the net to wrist a one timer past Auld on the powerplay. With barely over a minute left, Chris Butler would wrist a weak shot towards the net that would get past a screened Auld who would react too late to stop it. It was a routine save he should have had. The score doesn’t show it, but Ottawa likely had as many chances as Calgary, but Irving was able to shut the door on the Sens.
The Second Period
To nobody’s surprise, Craig Anderson would find himself taking Auld’s place in net to start the period. He would be solid turning away all 7 shots faced (including a shorthanded semi-breakaway) in a period that the Senators absolutely dominated. Ottawa could have easily tied it this period, but would have be content with only being down by one heading into the third. The first goal would be by Nick Foligno after a great pass from Sergei Gonchar. After Irving would make the initial save on the Foligno deke, Jay Bouwmeester would end up sliding into his own goalie pushing the puck in as well. Zack Smith would get the Sens’ second goal after entering the zone and finding himself alone to wrist a bullet past Irving for his 11th of the year. 3-2 Calgary after two.
The Third Period
Ottawa would continue their control of play in the third and it would pay off. Just 4:28 into the period Erik Karlsson would pick up his own rebound, go around the net and pot it in the open cage. It was a beauty of a goal by the leading scorer for defencemen. The rest of the period would feature minor chances by both teams, but the goalies would stand tall and force OT.
3:31 into OT, with the Sens on the powerplay the captain would finally do it. On a one time pass from Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson would slap home the game winner for his 4ooth goal in his storied career. Almost forgotten in the moment was the fact the Sens overcame a 3 goal deficit.
+ Pluses +
+ Zack Smith: With his 11th goal of the season, Smith continues to add to his career year. It surprises me that he hasn’t gotten a chance to be the 2nd line center or even earn some powerplay time with all those goals.
+ Spread Out Offence: All four Senators lines were providing scoring chances today. It showed in the scoreboard as the Sens managed 49 shots on goal.
- Minuses -
– Alex Auld: With 3 goals on 15 shots in the first period, Auld found his night done after the first. He put the team in a huge 3 goal hole, and this young Sens team can’t afford to have that happen. However, he will need to rebound as Craig Anderson cannot be expected to play every game with a pretty heavy January schedule coming up.
*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***
* Daniel Alfredsson: 1G 0A – Got his 400th goal in style with the game winner in OT.
** Erik Karlsson: 1G 1A – Got the game tying goal and was the catalyst for offence on this team tonight.
*** Craig Anderson: 17/17 – Kept the door shut from the second period onward allowing the Sens to mount their comeback.
Paul MacLean’s decision of breaking up the big 3 line of Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza, and Daniel Alfredsson after one game was a good move. You could tell the offence was much more spread out with the new lines with each seeming to get several scoring opportunities in this game. That will be key for the Sens this season, as everyone will be expected to contribute offence when you have such a young team. Craig Anderson provided the goaltending Ottawa needed tonight and continuing his unbeaten streak following games in which he has been pulled. The Sens won’t get much rest as they face the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow in Buffalo. I’m dissapointed in seeing how many fans bolted from their seats to leave after Alfredsson scored his 400th goal. This is likely his last milestone in his great career and deserved a standing ovation from every single Sens fan in the building. On the flip side though I did notice more people stayed than usual and were sure to let their captain know. Until next time, Go Sens Go!
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