Game Recap – OTT @ EDM – SENS WIN, SENS WIN!!!!


The Ottawa Senators finished off their 4 game road trip Saturday afternoon with a Hockey Day in Canada tilt with the Edmonton Oilers.  Both teams are at the bottom of their respective conferences and the loser today will be in the driver’s seat for 30th overall.  The Senators play without Daniel Alfredsson, while the Oilers are minus Shawn Horcoff.  The goaltending matchup is  Brian Elliott vs  Nickolai Khabibulin, with both men looking for their first win of 2011.

The Senators came out quickly, and were rewarded when  Bobby Butler scored his first career NHL goal just under 3 minutes in.  The lead was short-lived, however as Andrew Cogliano slipped one through Elliott fifty-four seconds later.  The youth of Edmonton took over, as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi had solid periods.  However it was Alex Kovalev who scored his 12th of the season on a play that was deflected in by an Oiler defenseman.  Despite the shots after 1 being 6-6, the Senators held a 2-1 lead.

The second period was a tale of two periods, as the Oilers dominated the first half of the period, and were able to tie it when Dustin Penner broke down the left wing and tucked a perfect shot inside the post at the 4:11 mark.  The second half of the period looked as though a Pittsburgh-New York Islander game might break out, as the Oilers took exception to Jason Spezza poking at a loose puck, and Spezza, Milan Michalek, Ladislav Smid and Colin Fraser all got double minors for roughing.  Moments later, Nikolai Khabibulin took a double minor against  Chris Neil.  Ottawa was unable to capitalize on the power play.  In fact they were not even close to taking the lead and showed no desperation.  The second period ended in a 2-2 deadlock.

The third period saw Ottawa finally capitalize on a power play as Michalek showed some dogged determination and put a second effort past Khabibulin.  Peter Regin then gave the Senators a rare two goal cushion when he converted a beautiful feed from Kovalev and put the puck in an almost empty net with just under 6 minutes to play.  The Senators did their best to give the game back, as Brian Lee took a late penalty.  Dustin Penner scored to make it a one goal game just after the penalty expired, and there was still time for an Oil comeback.  With Khabibulin on the bench for an extra attacker, Kovalev netted his second of the game, lifting a wrister high from his own blue line that found the net.  Spezza took a late high sticking penalty to make things interesting, but the Oil could get no closer, and the Senators finished off the game with a 5-3 victory.


Brian Elliott won his first game since Boxing Day, and although he only face 16 shots, was solid when he needed to be.  He also threatened to join the meelee when Khabibulin when loonie on Neil, but stopped short of the centre ice line.

Bobby Butler played a great game, and had his first 2 NHL points (1g, 1a), playing on the top line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek.

Jason Spezza was the catalyst for this game, with a pair of assists.  He also showed he will not get pushed around, as his 8 penalty minutes will attest.  Hopefully he doesn’t pick up 8 minutes every game, but he showed he won’t be pushed around.


The Senators finally won a game, so even though there were some weak performances, I won’t mention them here.  It’s been a long, tough stretch, so they get a pass today.



3rd Star:  Dustin Penner, EDM – A  pair of goals and a physical game for the Oilers

2nd Star:  Bobby Butler, OTT – His first points in the NHL, could have had 3 goals with the chances he had.

1st Star: Alex Kovalev, OTT – A three point game, including a great feed to Peter Regin for the winning goal.  He did show up when he needed to, but also disappeared on some shifts.  Making a case for himself to be a trade deadline pickup for a contender.


The Senators wrapped up the road trip with a win, in the first game since the Mike Fisher deal.  Although they won this one, their lack of team speed was very apparent against the speedy and youthful Oilers.  Aside from Milan Michalek, the Senators do not have one other player who can skate with the likes of Cogliano, Hall, Hemsky and Eberle.  This is one facet that must be addressed in the rebuild, as the club has been slogging along for years, using pure talent as the equalizer.  They do not have the pure talent they used to, so they need to get faster (as they get younger).

The Senators return home Tuesday to face the New York Islanders, who may have a number of players under suspension following their fight filled effort Friday night.