Take note fans — the Ottawa Senators are going to play a lot more games like this one.
Ottawa edged out The Florida Panthers 1-0 in a close game that saw some good chances both ways, as well as more than a little luck.
Going into the season the Sens, and their fans, knew that with the absence of Jason Spezza their wins were going to have to come by way a collective effort, and Monday night’s game was a perfect example of that. They’ll have to be gritty, and they’ll have to be pesky, but if they can play more games like this one then the Senators might just manufacture a playoff spot come April 2015.
The game itself was a bit of a battle for both teams as they took turns creating scoring chances but ultimately remained scoreless after one. Florida outshot Ottawa 7-6, indicating an even battle through the opening frame.
The second period saw Florida in control, outshooting the Sens 14-7. Despite this, it ended up being the best period of the game for Ottawa. Clarke MacArthur scored the game’s only goal off a nice feed from Kyle Turris that saw him split Florida’s defence to get a semi-breakaway and slide one by Roberto Luongo five-hole. Although, before that came what could’ve been the most important play of the game. With Jonathan Huberdeau and Jussi Jokinen on a 2-on-1 with only Patrick Wiercioch between them, a suddenly streaking Bobby Ryan hustled back, diving at the last second and extending his stick to knock the puck away from Jokinen, robbing him of a sure goal and a 1-0 Florida lead.
The third was more like the first, with both teams exchanging oppourtunities but ultimately no more scoring. There was a bit more chippyness, but no fights as the Senators outshot the Panthers 10-9.
4-on-4 squared: Interestingly enough both Florida and Ottawa played 4-on-4 hockey four times in the game, as both teams had trouble staying disciplined with the man advantage
Line Dancing: Coach Paul Maclean tried a different lineup on Monday than the one that beat Tampa Bay two days earlier. In were Coling Greening, Erik Condra, and Patrick Wiercioch. Out were Mike Hoffman, Curtis Lazar, and Jared Cowen.
Maclean also used lines that he’d experimented with in the preseason, putting the top six as MacArthur/Turris/Stone, and Ryan/Zibanejad/Chiasson. Despite the lack of goals overall in the game I was really impressed with the way the two lines played. Stone has some real chemistry with Turris and MacArthur and all three seem to know where the others are and did a nice job of finding each other on the ice. Ryan did well playing his off wing, and it was pretty cool to see the bigger guys all on a line together (Ryan: 6’2″, 207lbs, Chiasson: 6’4″, 205lbs, Zibanejad: 6’2″, 211lbs). All three were using their size and and we’re playing fast and hard.
Although only MacArthur scored, I’d really like to see these two lines kept together. I think with time together that they’re chemistry and natural assets could form a formidable and difficult to contain top six forward group.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but not in Florida: The Panthers have only played three games and have yet to win any of them. Despite this small sample size it looks like fans of Florida’s other team are already ready to pass on this season. The crowd at the BB&T Arena set a franchise record for lowest attendance with just over 7,000 people showing up.