The Ottawa Senators began life without Erik Karlsson and it wasn’t pretty. Icing a lineup that included 3 players making their NHL debuts, Ottawa couldn’t muster enough quality offensive chances to beat Scrivens in a game that was much closer than the score would indicate. Ottawa fired 34 shots on Ben Scrivens, including 19 in the second period, but many were from the perimeter. Craig Anderson faced 28 shots, stopping 26 of them. Frazer McLaren, Tyler Bozak and John-Michael Liles (into an empty net) did the damage for the Maple Leafs.
It was the type of first period you would expect from 2 clubs dressing a total of 17 players who were in the AHL at some point this season. The shots ended up 7-5 in favour of the Leafs, who go the only goal off the stick of McLaren as he tipped home a puck at the top of the crease past Anderson.The goal came just 3:14 in, and happened to come with Eric Gryba, Derek Grant and David Dziurzynski all on the ice at the same time.
The second was much more wide open, with some power play time for both teams allowing the Senators to get their 19 shots to 10 for the Leafs. Scrivens was good in this period to keep the Sens off the board despite multiple odd-man rushes by Ottawa.
The Senators did a good job of keeping it within one, until Dion Phaneuf‘s hard pass deflected off Bozak’s skate past Anderson. The play was reviewed but there was no distinct kicking motion and the goal stood. The Senators got a late power play, but couldn’t find the solution to Scrivens. With Anderson pulled for an extra attacker, Liles shot from the Leafs end found the empty net for the final goal.
- The Senators showed that they will not give up, but will have to change their game.
- The power play looked surprisingly strong, and they maintained possession through many of their 4 man advantages, but their scoring drought being up a man extended to 22 straight.
- Add Milan Michalek to that lineup, at least the good one and not the one who played after Jason Spezza‘s injury, and it could have been a different game.
- It will take a bit of time, especially on the blue line, for players to find their roles. It looked like some players, especially Marc Methot, were trying to do too much especially early on. It is understandable that they would want to step up a bit to make up for Erik Karlsson’s loss, but they need to settle down and just play within themselves going forward.
SENSHOT”S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Sergei Gonchar played over 27 minutes to lead all players. He had 5 shots on goal and two blocked shots.
The Senators travel to New Jersey to face the Devils on Monday afternoon, a President’s Day matinee. Puck drop is at 1:00