Feb 26, 2012; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Robin Lehner (40) makes a save in the first period against the New York Islanders at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE

Game Recap: NYI @ OTT - It's Lehner Time!

Pre-Game Warmup

The Ottawa Senators look to bounce back from a near comeback loss to the Boston Bruins yesterday. The hope to do against the NY Islanders, a team they just recently destroyed 6-0. Robin Lehner would get the start for the Sens (fresh off of learning that they acquired goaltender Ben Bishop), while Evgeni Nabokov (a potentital trade deadline piece) would get the nod for the Islanders.

The First Period

It seems to be a trend this season, but the Sens always start off games terrible. Today was no different with the Islanders scoring just 49 seconds into the period as John Tavares found himself all alone in front with time to wrist one past Lehner. New York would continue to dominate the period with the Senators taking over 10 minutes to register their first shot on goal. Ottawa would finally substain some pressure near the end of the period, but would be down 1-0 after the first. Shots favored the Islanders 13-8, and Lehner was a major reason the Sens would only be down by 1.  

The Second Period

The second period would be much more succesful for Ottawa as they came out with a bit more jump. They would be rewarded at 12:21 when Milan Michalek would backhand a shot past Nabokov after a nice pass from Karlsson on the powerplay. Just before the goal, Jason Spezza was the recipient of a Daniel Alfredsson slap shot and would limp to the dressing room. Panic began in Ottawa, but he would return to the ice and score seconds later at 16:22 on a bullet of a shot. Once again it was on the powerplay and assisted by Karlsson. At the end of the second, the Sens would lead 2-1. Shots in the period were much more even at 10-9 for Ottawa.

The Third Period

Ottawa would continue their dominance of third periods. At 5:13, Jim O’Brien would get his 2nd career goal after an awful glove save attempt by Nabokov. The Islanders would strike back minutes later after a PA Parenteau snipe due to some sloppy defensive converage by the Sens. However, the 4th line would strike again as Chris Neil would tip a Nick Foligno shot in mid air to regainn the 2 goal lead. Kyle Turris would put the game away with the empty net goal. Sens would get outshot in the period 8-6, but win the game 5-2.

+ Pluses +

+ Fourth Line – Great game by the fourth line of Nick Foligno (2A), Jim O’Brien (1G) and Chris Neil (1G, 1A). They kept the puck in the opposing end for most of their shifts and contributed two goals. Can’t ask for much more than that from your fourth line.

- Minuses -

– Slow Start – The Sens need to stop coming out so slow in games. Need to work on getting a full 60 minutes in or they will find themselves down after the first more often than not.

– Third Line – The third line of Kaspars Daugavins, Zack Smith, and Erik Condra need to pick it up. Earlier in the season they showed great chemistry and were putting up a ton of points. Now they can barely mount any substainable pressure. If they don’t start producing soon they may be at risk of losing a roster spot next season.

Game Highlights

Will Post When Available

*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***

* Robin Lehner: 28/30 – Didn’t let the fact that the Sens acquired Ben Bishop phase him. Played lights out tonight and kept the team in the game during their slow start. Definitely deserves the start on Tuesday against the Bruins.

** Erik Karlsson: 0G 2A – With two powerplay assists Karlsson continues to shine. If he isn’t in the Norris talk then there’s a problem.

*** Nick Foligno: 0G 2A – Continues to work hard even when placed in a smaller role on the 4th line. You would think he’s got a promotion coming soon to the 2nd line with the slump that Colin Greening is in.

Final Thoughts

The Sens won a game they should and continue to solidify their playoff spot. A scary moment when Jason Spezza went down, any long term injury to him would likely derail the Sens chances at making the playoffs. Robin Lehner impressed as well tonight, fairing much better than Alex Auld. A few more good starts from him might earn him the backup position heading into the playoffs. Several senators including all of the third line continue to be in massive scoring slumps. Hopefully they pick it up soon, but it’s better now than the postseason I suppose. The Sens have a challenging game up ahead on Tuesday when they visit the Boston Bruins (a team they have yet to beat). Also, don’t forget about the trade deadline tomorrow, it will be interesting to see if Bryan Murray has any more tricks up his sleeve. Until next time, Go Sens Go!

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