Ottawa 3, Carolina 2 (SO)

Ottawa won tonight’s game in a shootout after a falling apart right near the end of the third period.  They played a poor first period (struggling to break out of their zone or win a faceoff), but dominated the second to take a two goal lead.  In the end they were able to earn the two points in the shootout (a former Senator menace).  For the box score go here link.  Tonight was an ugly night for the officials (Foligno was hauled down on three separate occasions with no call and Neil was high-sticked at the end of the second with no call).  Looking at the goals:

1. Konopka (Gonchar, Winchester)
Racing down the left side Konopka simply beats Ward short side with a great shot
2. Spezza (Greening, Gonchar) (pp)
A fantastic screen in front by Greening who pokes the rebound through Ward and Spezza taps it in for the easy goal
3. Carolina, Ruutu
Cowen and Gonchar get confused over who is going to touch the puck to create an icing in front of their net; neither touches it and Carolina bangs it in
4. Carolina, Skinner (pp)
A fantastic tip off a point shot
5. Spezza scores the only goal in the shootout for the win

The best players for Ottawa:
Milan Michalek – didn’t show up on the score sheet but was strong at both ends of the ice
Colin Greening – what’s not to like?  Wound up tied with Michalek for the most scoring chances on the team
Erik Condra – fantastic defensively and his all Binghamton line was terrific
Kaspars Daugavins – he played with confidence and tonight was by far his best game in an Ottawa uniform (I’m including the pre-season)
Filip Kuba – someone has pushed the “restart” button on the big Czech and he has been excellent
Craig Anderson – saved the game in the first period and the shootout, although I wish he’d handle the puck less as he’s off target on a high proportion of his pass attempts

The players who struggled:
Stephane Da Costa – I’m at a loss for why he hasn’t been sent down to Binghamton
Mika Zibanejad – he’s far too timid with the puck and needs to rebuild his confidence; he also turned the puck far too often

I don’t think David Rundblad was good enough to be among the best tonight, but for the third game in a row he was able to deke down from the blueline for a fantastic scoring chance–not many players can do that.

Senators News: October 25th

-Ottawa’s lines as per The Ottawa Sun:
Colin Greening-Jason Spezza-Milan Michalek
Nick Foligno-Mika Zibanejad-Kaspars Daugavins
Erik Condra-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Jesse Winchester-Zenon Konopka-Stephane Da Costa*
Erik Karlsson-Filip Kuba
David Rundblad-Chris Phillips
Sergei Gonchar-Jared Cowen
*The Ottawa Citizen has Da Costa at center, which makes more sense

-As was reported yesterday afternoon, Daniel Alfredsson will miss tonight’s game with a maintenance day for his hip

The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan writes about the injury (link), but includes comments about the team as well.  Jason Spezza mentions what I think has been the key to the Sens limited success, “We’ve had a lot of guys going to the net, and sticking around the net this year. Maybe more than ever. (Chris Neil) has been there, (Colin) Greening’s been there, Nicky Foligno’s been there, Milan (Michalek) has scored a lot of goals from there … there seems to be probably the best net presence we’ve had, and that helps the skilled guys from the outside a little bit. It’s been something I think that’s added a lot to our offence.

-Brennan also writes that the team should keep Mika Zibanejad (link).  There’s nothing new in the article, but Brennan has decided that Zibanejad is a lot like Tyler Seguin.

-The Brennan train continues with an article about Kaspars Daugavins (link), who talks about why he came back to North America: “Obviously, my hometown team [Dinamo Riga] (has) wanted me back for the last four years. But I still feel I can crack the NHL somehow, and I’m going to keep battling until I make it. If I see I have no chance to play here, maybe I’ll go back home. But it’s not going to happen soon.”

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Wayne Scanlan writes about the non-issue of Paul MacLean being too nice (link).  I’ve never heard the criticism and it makes me wonder if Scanlan just wanted to work in as many references to MacLean’s moustache as possible.

-Rob Brodie writes about Jason Spezza for the Sens website (link).  There’s nothing new, but it’s worth noting that Spezza‘s production hasn’t dipped this season despite worries by analysts.

-TSN, THN, and ESPN’s power rankings are out (link and link and link), with Ottawa 28th, 29th, and 27th.  Scott Cullen (TSN) rightly points out that goaltending has been a major issue for the Sens.

-Joy Lindsay tweets Binghamton’s lines at practice (link): Cowick-Locke-Petersson, Hoffman-O’Brien-Parrish, Filatov-Cannone-Grant, Dziurzynski-Hamilton-Lessard/Downing.

-And finally, for those who never saw it (or want to relieve it), here’s Kaspars Daugavins after the Binghamton Senators won the Eastern final: link.