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Game Report: Sens Get Buffalo’d 6-4

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(source: Doug Benz, REUTERS)

Your Ottawa Senators battled the Buffalo Sabres yesterday as they looked to go four-for-four on their current four game road trip. Having won the previous three games with a score of 2-1 in each victory, Ottawa was trying to repeat history. Having not played Saturday, Ottawa hoped to catch a tired Sabre team who played Saturday night in a loss to Toronto.

The first period was fast paced as both teams got on the board within the first ten minutes of the game starting. Tyler Ennis opened the scoring as he slipped behind the Ottawa defence and took a nice pass from Tim Connolly  and deked out Craig Anderson. Jason Spezza  evened up the game at one apiece a few minutes later on the powerplay as he was able to poke in a loose puck past Jhonas Enroth. A few minutes later, on a horrible defensive play by Chris Phillips, Thomas Vanek walked in on Anderson and beat him. As the period neared its end, Colin Greening  was able to find a loose puck in front of the Buffalo net and slip it through Enroth. The period ended with Erik Karlsson taking a double minor for diving and unsportsmanlike conduct.

The second period started off disastrously for Ottawa. Ennis scored his second of the game 1:37 into the period as he fumbled the puck in front of Phillips but regained it to fire a wrister top shelf to be Anderson from a horrible angle (check out the game highlights for this goal as Ennis breaks Anderson’s water bottle on the shot). 33 seconds later, with a goal-mouth scramble in front of Anderson, Paul Gaustad buried the puck in Ottawa’s net to put the Sabres up 4-2. This goal ended Anderson’s night as he allowed four goals on 17 shots.

Midway through the period, Spezza made a great read and intercepted the puck behind the Buffalo net and banked it off Enroth from behind the net for his second of the game. Spezza got a chance to net the hat trick as a rebound popped out to him in the slot with a wide open cage, but Enroth slid across to make an amazing save. Off a good rush by Karlsson, Nathan Gerbe broke out of his zone and fired a clapper from the top of the face circle and picked the top corner on Curtis McElhnney to make it 5-3 Buffalo.

In a two-goal hole to start the third period, Filip Kuba  took a hooking penalty to give Buffalo the man advantage. Just as the penalty ended, Brad Boyes threw a puck towards the net that deflected off Brian Lee  and into the net to make it 6-3. Karlsson was able to redeem himself somewhat as he took a pass at centre ice and fired a wrister through Enroth for his 12th of the year. Poor defensive play and shaky goaltending was Ottawa’s downfall as the game ended 6-4 and ended their three game winning streak.

The Positives

Jason Spezza  had one hell of a game. With two goals and two assists, Spezza was in on all of Ottawa’s offense. Playing almost 20 minutes, Spezza was a force all night as he created chances and set-up teammates. Since coming back from his injury, Spezza has 19 points in 17 games.

Colin Greening has two goals and six points since being called up 12 games ago. He seems to be holding his own on Ottawa’s first line and is playing his role perfectly.

The Negatives

Craig Anderson did not look good last night. Three out of the four goals should not have gone in. This is the second time in his last four games he has allowed four goals. Is he coming down from his superhuman play and showing who he really is? 

The defence did no favours for Anderson last night. Sloppy coverage, not laying the body, missed assignments. Anderson gets the blame for the loss but so does the defence.

Here are the Game Highlights courtesy of NHL.com.

***Three Stars***

First Star: Tyler Ennis – earns it with two goals and a great effort all game long.

Second Star: Jason Spezza – was the best Senator on the ice and had four points.

Third Star: Jhonas Enroth – made 34 saves and did not allow the Sens to get back into the game after Buffalo went up for good.

Even though they lost the game, Ottawa still went 3-1 on this four game road trip and beat two very good teams in Tampa and New Jersey. Returning home to take on the Penguins next, Ottawa will look to continue their improved play since the trade deadline. ‘Til next time, GO SENS GO!!!

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