The Ottawa Senators picked up in the pre-season opener where the rookies left off…with a win. While these games still don’t count for anything in the standings, it is still better to come out on top. The Senators scored once in each period en route to the 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
With a traveling roster of 28 players, here is how the Senators lined up to start the game:
Michael Sdao – Troy Rutkowski
Ottawa got on the board first when O’Brien won a draw to the left of goalie Michael Hutchinson, to Rutkowski. The blueliner’s shot went through traffic provided by Robinson and O’Brien driving to the net and past Hutchinson. Robinson got a piece of it on the way through and got credit for the Senators’ first goal of the season. Lehner wasn’t really tested much, but stopped all 6 shots he faced in the first frame as the Senators held the 1-0 lead through 20 minutes.
An end to end first shift saw Spezza commit a turnover in the Winnipeg zone, but Spezza was the backchecker who took the puck back the other way. Karlsson carried the puck through the neutral zone and found Ryan, who fired a bullet shot past Hutchinson to double the Ottawa lead just 26 seconds in. Lehner was tested a little more after that, but stood strong. Michalek sent Da Costa in alone, but Hutchinson got a glove on it. Moments later, Matt Halischuk broke in alone on his off-wing and beat Lehner to cut the lead to one. The Jets took the play to the Senators on the strength of a couple of power plays, but the Senators held onto the one goal lead through 40, but would start the 3rd with a penalty carried over for 26 seconds.
That power play was short lived, as Paul Postma took a high-sticking penalty on Smith. Ottawa made the Jets pay on the ensuing power play when Karlsson’s point shot was deflected by Michalek past Hutchinson, to restore the 2 goal lead. Andrew Hammond played the third period in relief of Lehner. Neither team mounted much more in the way of chances, as Hammond was strong when called upon, and the game ended with the Senators taking the game 3-1.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
It looked effortless, and that is a good thing, as Erik Karlsson showed mid-season form handling the puck and being an overall general on the ice. He had a pair of assists and was the best Ottawa player on this night.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Conacher showed some real jump, playing hard at both ends of the ice.
- Perhaps miffed that he seems to be out of the conversation in many instances, O’Brien played a solid game.
- Karlsson looked great and mobile going forward, but still looked a bit hesitant on his pivots to the outside while skating backwards.
- The top line showed some flash after a shaky start where the wingers were thinking too much alike and were kind of stumbling over each other. That got straightened out as the game went on and they were in control of the game for the most part when they were on the ice.
- Da Costa, who has also been a forgotten man, played well in an offensive role but was not rewarded for his efforts
The Senators travel to Saskatoon where they will meet up with Jared Cowen, who will come back to Ottawa with the team. The Senators will meet the Flames Monday night, with the Spezza line expected to rest while the Turris-MacArthur-Hoffman line gets the call. Also expect Karlsson and Methot to come out in favor of Chris Phillips and Cody Ceci. Darren Kramer and Wacey Hamilton will also draw in, with Hammond and Nathan Lawson likely dressing as the goalies and will probably both see action.