Just over 24 hours after the completion of Saturday’s 3-2 OT loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Ottawa Senators squared off against the Flyers again, this time in the friendly confines of Scotiabank Place. I took in this game, expecting some fireworks that usually take place in the back half of home and home series.
Sens Killer Jaromir Jagr (77 point in 60 career games) was inserted into the lineup after his groin injury, which was the lone change from 24 hours ago for either lineup. The goaltending matchup was the same: Craig Anderson vs Ilya Bryzgalov.
The action took no time to get going, as when the puck dropped, Erik Condra went to the bench in favor of Zenon Konopka, who went right after Zac Rinaldo and they dropped the gloves 15 seconds in. Give Konopka the duke on the scrap. Ottawa jumped out front before the first minute had expired, as Kyle Turris carried the puck into the Philly zone and found Daniel Alfredsson trailing the play. Alfie’s wrister found the back of the net for his 13th of the season. The lead was short-lived as less than 2 minutes later former Senator Andrej Meszaros‘ long distance wrister found its way through traffic and past Anderson. A goalmouth scramble just over 8 minutes in saw Chris Neil give Ottawa the lead when his shot just made it over the line before Bryzgalov could get his glove on it. There were 9 players standing within a couple feet of the crease on the play and the referee initially waved it off, but after a lengthy review it was indeed a goal. Marc-Andre Bourdon tied it back up with a shot from about the same spot as Mesjaros, and his writ shot found the top corner past a screened Anderson. Before the announcement of that goal could be completed, Philly took their first lead of the game when Matt Carkner was outmuscled in the offensive zone and turned the puck over while getting knocked down. Sean Couturier was the beneficiary and he went in 2 on 1 with Matt Read. With Chris Phillips and Zack Smith taking the pass away, Couturier simply wristed one past Anderson.
Less action in the middle frame than the first, as the teams settled into a more defensive groove. Following the successful kill of a short 5 on 3, Ottawa fell into a deeper hole as rookie Read cashed in a rebound that Anderson kicked out while sliding across the crease. He slid too far and was outside the net and the crease which allowed Read to shoot on an open cage. The period ended with Ottawa having Philadelphia right where they wanted them…Flyers ahead by 2.
Colin Greening got the comeback started when his attempted pass to Jason Spezza driving the net was deflected by Matt Carle into his own net in an effort to deny Spezza the pass. A solo effort by Erik Karlsson 3 minutes later tied the game as he stole the puck from Jagr along the boards in his own end and carried it down the wing. Using Greening as a decoy, Karlsson fired it through Bryzgalov 5 hole. There was still 15 minutes remaining but the Flyers were losing their grip in this one. With yet another overtime looming, Filip Kuba‘s half slapper found its way through traffic and past a screened Bryzgalov to put Ottawa up for good with 1:11 remaining. Nick Foligno sealed the deal with an empty netter and sent the faithful home happy and with a slice of Pizza for the 6-4 win.
Post Game Show
Senshot’s Three Stars
3. Matt Read (PHI) – The Flyers’ best player all night, with 1G, 1A.
2. Filip Kuba (OTT)- Game winner and a +4 on the night in 22 minutes.
1. Erik Karlsson (OTT)- 1G, 1A and an incredible +5 in a relatively light night playing only 24 minutes.
WHAT I SAW
It was the first time I have seen the new Bell HD Screen, and it is 1,000 times better than the old one. The picture was clear, and once the rest of it is installed it will be first class.
I though Anderson was going to get the hook after the 3rd Flyer goal, and definitely after he put himself out of position for the 4th goal. However, Paul MacLean stuck with him and his loyalty was rewarded as Anderson shut the door in the third.
Karlsson was invisible in the second period, and then you look at the stats and he had two points and was +5. His first and third periods were incredible.
I was very vocal about doubting Kyle Turris and his potential as a second line centre. I can also admit when I am wrong, and I am almost ready to do so. He has enjoyed the change of scenery and has fit in very well behind Jason Spezza. Looking more comfortable every game, he is a better playmaker than I gave him credit for. If he continues, it will be one time I am glad I was wrong.
Ottawa continues to turnover the puck at very inopportune times. With the score tied at 4, there was one sequence where they handed the puck to the Flyers at their own blue line at least 3 times in a 30 second span. They didn’t result in goals….this time.
Ottawa hits the road for 3 games this week, visiting a Penguin club devastated by injuries and plummeting in the standings (Tuesday), the league leading New York Rangers (Thursday), and then a divisional battle with the Montreal Canadiens (Saturday).
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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