March 31, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; Ottawa Senators left wing Rob Klinkhammer (36) and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (8) watch as puck gets behind goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (35) during the first period at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Game Recap: OTT @ PHI - Anderson Shines In Victory

Pre-Game Warmup

With a win in this afternoon’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Sens magic number to clinch the playoffs would go down to 4 (any combination of Ottawa wins and Buffalo losses). Craig Anderson would get the start for the Sens while Sergei Bobrovsky would get the nod for the Devils.

The First Period

The Flyers arguably out-chanced the Sens this period, with their best chance coming on a Claude Giroux breakaway. However, Anderson stood tall making save after save stopping all 14 Philadelphia shots in the period. His counterpart did the exact opposite. Just 6:04 in, Jason Spezza would be the recipient of a beautiful Daniel Alfredsson pass to give the Sens the 1-0 lead. The lead would grow to 2-0 at 11:39, with Alfredsson getting a goal (and his 2nd point) on a one timer with the assist going to Erik Karlsson. At 14:27 a weak Chris Neil wrister would squeeze through Bobrovsky to give Ottawa a commanding 3-0 lead. The Senators would almost make it 4 late in the period with an Alfredsson breakaway shot squeaking past Bobrovsky, but not enough power to get in the net. After one, the Senators showed no signs of rust from the four day layoff leading 3-0.

The Second Period

The second period was a total 180 turn from the first period with Bobrovsky shining, stopping all 9 Senators shots including a Kyle Turris breakaway. The Flyers would also finally figure out Anderson starting at 2:59 with Brayden Schenn‘s shot deflecting off Wayne Simmonds‘ face to bring them within 2. Sean Couturier would get the 2nd Philadelphia goal at 14:38 after a lengthy video review to determine if the peg of the net was off the ice. The Flyers would finally tie it up at 17:17 with Braydon Coburn the recipient of a nice pass from Danny Briere. The Sens would cough up a 3-0 lead, tied 3-3 after two.

The Third Period

With the game tied at 3 and both teams desperately needing points (for different reasons) they both played very cautiously. There was very little action compared to the first two periods. The best chance came at the end with Jason Spezza getting robbed by Brobovsky resulting in an audible f-bomb on national TV. With the score tied this game would head to OT.

OT

Both teams would have numerous chances in a very exciting OT. However, both goalies would stand tall not allowing anything. The star of the overtime was no doubt Craig Anderson who made several huge saves in the latter half of the OT including a one minute PK. With nothing solved in OT, a shootout would be required.

Shootout

Matt Read would begin the festivities with a quick release wrist shot that would beat Anderson. However, Milan Michalek would respond with a shot through Bobrovsky’s five hole. Claude Giroux would attempt a fancy backwards skating goal that would backfire. That would lead to Jason Spezza who would make no mistake sniping one low far side to give the Sens the lead in the shootout. A stop by Anderson on Danny Briere deke would clinch the Senators victory.

+ Pluses +

+ Quick Start: The Sens who usually come out of the gate very slow came out flying today with 3 goals in the first.

+ Forever Young: Captain Daniel Alfredsson continues to impress contributing a goal and assist in the victory.

- Minuses -

- Second Period Letdown: Despite a quick start, the Sens still managed to let their 3 goal lead evaporate in the 2nd period.

- Powerplay: Went 0/4 on the night and didn’t create any real good chances on any of them.

Game Highlights

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20112012,2,1170&navid=sb:highlights

*** Senshot’s Three Stars ***

* Craig Anderson: 36/39 – Despite allowing 3 goals in the second he was terrific in the first period as well as OT. For some reason he also seems to be the only goalie in Senators history who can consistently win in the shootout.

** Jason Spezza: 1G 0A – Was all over the ice tonight and had a goal as well as the shootout winner to show for it. Has clearly become one of the top elite centres in the league.

*** Sergei Bobrovsky: 26/29 – After a disastrous first period, he recovered nicely allowing the Flyers to mount the comeback and come so very close to pulling of the come from behind victory.

Final Thoughts

With the victory the Sens have almost guaranteed themselves a playoff position. It was a great effort by a team that hasn’t played since Monday. The reffing in this game was questionable. Two calls stuck out for me. The first was Carkner’s roughing for a small shove that resulted in a two handed slash by Hartnell in retaliation. The second was Kuba’s hooking in OT after Michalek was clearly held on the other side of the ice. Craig Anderson is once again showing why the Sens needed him back, he just seems to give Ottawa enough confidence to take offensive risks and not worry about turnovers coming back to bite them. The Sens may have a chance to clinch a playoff position tomorrow in NY against the Islanders. Until next time, Go Sens Go!

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Tags: Craig Anderson Jason Spezza Sergei Bobrovsky

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