Craig Anderson has obviously heard the rumblings about the Ottawa goaltending situation, and he has answered the call. Challenged by coach Paul MacLean by virtue of the fact that there are still three goalies on the roster, Anderson has staked his claim to remain the number 1 netminder. On the heels of a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, Anderson followed that performance up with a shutout over one of his former teams, the Florida Panthers. The offence once again gave him adequate support as Kyle Turris staked them to a 2-0 lead before Jim O’Brien and Jakob Silfverberg scored late goals to make the final 4-0.
The teams traded power play chances early on. The Senators used theirs to gain momentum, while the Panthers failed to do so with their own. In fact, Jason Spezza had the best chance while shorthanded. Ottawa got their second man advantage just before the midway point, and this time they made it count. With Keaton Ellerby off for the dreaded puck over the glass penalty, Patrick Wiercioch fed a one timer across the slot to the bottom of the faceoff circle, and Kyle Turris made no mistake in burying it past Jose Theodore. Ottawa stormed the net on yet another power play before the period expired, but could not beat Theodore or the goal post to add to the lead. Ottawa outshot Florida 18-4 in the frame but led only 1-0.
Ellerby destroyed Smith with a hit coming out of the Ottawa zone. Zack Smith took exception and the two squared off in a short tilt. Smith ended up with the extra minor for roughing, giving the Panthers a power play. Again, Ottawa had the better chances as the Panthers looked incredibly lethargic, and Ottawa did a tremendous job shutting down the Panthers breakout and denying them entry into the zone. Turris doubled the lead with his second of the game as he played give and go with Guillaume Latendresse, driving the net and redirecting the return feed past Thedore. That is how the period ended, with Ottawa leading 2-0 and seemingly in control of the game.
Florida came out with some jump in the third, as they put some pressure on, forcing Anderson into making some difficult stops after having a relatively easy first 40 minutes. However, the Ottawa netminder was equal to the task. O’Brien scored the insurance goal with 2:25 left, and then Silfverberg removed any remaining doubt about the outcome with 1:04 remaining to turn what had been a relatively close game into a bit of a rout. The only thing in doubt was whether Anderson would get the shutout, which he did.
- Great ovation for Daniel Alfredsson when the players were introduced prior to the game. He seemed genuinely touched with the ovation which just points to how much he means to the team and the city.
- Alex Kovalev was greeted by a chorus of jeers when he touched the puck, a reference to the disappointing tenure he had in Ottawa.
- Silfverberg is more physical than I expected him to be. He is certainly not afraid to use his body when the time calls for it.
- Brian Campbell was pretty invisble, as was his partner (former Senator) Filip Kuba.
- There were a lot of firsts in this game, as Latendresse got his first point as a Senator, Benoit and Silfverberg their first NHL points, and Spezza and Alfredsson their first points of the season.
- I was skeptical about the impact Marc Methot would have in Ottawa, but thus far I have been pleasanty surprised. He seems a steady partner for Karlsson in the same vein as Kuba had been.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Turris had two goals, and could have easily had a couple more. He had good jump all night and is showing his comfort level already, as well as his desire to be in Ottawa. Whether he can develop into the player he was expected to be when he was drafted third overall remains to be seen, but I am finally convinced that he is a good fit as the#2 centre in Ottawa.
The Senators and Panthers will meet up again on Thursday night, when the Sens return the visit to the Miami area to begin a 2 game Florida road trip.