Feb. 20, 2012; Uniondale, NY, USA; Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips (4) celebrates scoring a goal with defenseman Sergei Gonchar (55) and center Kyle Turris (7) during the second period against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Game Recap: OTT @ NYI - Erik Karlsson For Norris

Pre-Game Warmup

The Ottawa Senators have the opportunity to create a cushion between them and 9th place in the East tonight as they visit the NY Islanders. The last time these two teams met, the Sens lost 2-1 in OT and were lucky to even salvage a point in a game they were outplayed. Ottawa has had four days off since their last game so rust may be an issue, but they will be well rested. Starting goalies would Craig Anderson for Ottawa and Kevin Poulin for New York.

The First Period

There would be no rust from the well rested Sens as they would dominate the entire first period outshooting the Islanders 15-5. Ottawa would essentially put the game away in the first two minutes. Just 1:08 in, Erik Karlsson would throw the puck from the goal line which would sneak by a surprised Poulin (one he would definitely want back). Just 27 seconds later Jason Spezza would receive a nice pass from Nick Foligno allowing him to snipe one past Poulin. That would spell the end of Poulin’s night as Al Montoya would take his place. The Islanders best chance to bring them back within one was on a Sens powerplay as Michael Grabner would find himself on a breakaway only to be foiled by a backchecking Milan Michalek. It turns out that non-conversion may have cost them as Erik Karlsson would get his 2nd of the night with Daniel Alfredsson finding him alone in the slot to wrist one past Montoya. After the first, the Sens would be up by a well deserved 3-0 lead.

The Second Period

The second period would be much like the first with the Senators controlling the entire period. The pace would be slightly slower with both teams looking like they wish this game could be over. There would be one “scrap” in the period as Matt Martin would essentially force an uninterested Zack Smith into fighting.  The only goal would come on the powerplay at 9:37, from none other than Chris Phillips for his 3rd of the year. Sens would outshoot the Islanders 12-5 and lead 4-0 heading into the third.

The Third Period

This wasn’t New York’s game. They would control the period outshooting the Sens 18-5. However, the Sens would be the only ones to score, getting goals by Brian Lee (his first in 99 games) on a seeing eye wrist shot and Spezza’s 2nd on a beautiful shot on the powerplay. Anderson would shine in goal this period, getting the well deserved shutout as Ottawa would go on to win 6-0.

+ Pluses +

+ Ottawa Senators – A great game by the entire team tonight, hopefully they can build on this victory and secure that playoff position.

- Minuses -

– Third Period Letdown – The Sens did let up a bit in the third period up 4-0, but still ended up outscoring the Islanders 2-0 in the period. They’ll have to avoid these letdowns in close games though.

Game Highlights

Will Post When Available

*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***

* Erik Karlsson: 2G 2A – With 4 points tonight, Erik Karlsson continues to show that he deserves to be a Norris candidate.

** Jason Spezza: 2G 0A – Spezza has been performing as of late like the number one center the team hopes he could be. That’s exactly what they need if the Sens are to continue winning games.

*** Craig Anderson: 28/28 – Wasn’t planning on giving him a star, but his performance in the third period where the Sens got a bit lazy changed my mind as he stopped all 18 shots he faced.

Final Thoughts

The Sens have now earned 9 out of a possible 10 points in their last 5 games and are beginning to put some space between them and 9th place in the East. Winning these games against non-playoff teams are key down the stretch. It turns out that rust wasn’t an issue for the Sens and the long rest period did them well. Maybe it’s a good thing Ottawa has one of the lighter second half schedules. Erik Karlsson is on fire, with 57 points on the season now. That’s 17 more points than the next closest defenceman in scoring. If he isn’t nominated for the Norris, I (along with all of Ottawa) would be shocked. The Sens return home to host the Washington Capitals on Wednesday which is sure to be another important game in the playoff race. Until next time, Go Sens Go!


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