Ottawa 4, Florida 3

In a game that ended with a wild finish, the Senators defeated the Panthers in regulation to win their fourth in a row.  I thought Ottawa carried the play throughout the game, with Florida’s offence largely dependent on counter attacks.  For the box score go here link.  A look at the goals:

1. Florida, Garrison
This was a nothing play and a simple shot that Anderson should have had
2. Alfredsson (Spezza, Gonchar)
On a delayed penalty call Alfredsson benefits from a Gudbranson shot block and scores from the slot
3. Florida, Weiss
All three forwards are caught deep and the Panthers score on a 4-on-2
4. Da Costa (Condra, Michalek)
On another delayed penalty, Condra makes a beautiful cross-ice pass to Da Costa for a tap in at the side of the net
5. Greening (Karlsson)
The Panthers turned it over twice in their zone and Greening blasts a shot in off the far post
6. Florida, Versteeg
With the net empty over commits to one side and gets caught out of position after a cross-ice pass
7. Foligno (Alfredsson, Rundblad)
Panthers turn it over at the blueline and Foligno picks up Alfie‘s rebound and roofs it with less than 4 seconds left

Best players tonight:
Daniel Alfredsson – tied the game at two and assisted on the game winner, a great game for Alfie
Stephane Da Costa – was given great opportunity and was produced his best game in the NHL (he finished +3 after leading the team in the minus category)
Colin Greening – played a strong game (despite turning it over for the tying goal) and nearly had the winner
Nick Foligno – his hard play earned the team its second goal and he capped it off with the game winner

Players who struggled: for the first time this season I don’t think any particular player on the team had a bad night.  There were mistakes and turnovers, but not on the level of previous games (Kaspars Daugavins did come back to earth tonight however and he’s going to need to watch his turnovers).

Final note: David Rundblad again deked down from the blueline for a grade A opportunity; picked up a nice assist on the winner and I don’t see him sitting for Brian Lee any time soon.

Senators News: October 27th

Mika Zibanejad was returned to Sweden yesterday, a move I’ve been advocating for awhile.  The sentiment in the media was agreement with the decision (eg, Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Sun, link, and Wayne Scanlan of The Ottawa Citizen, link).  Zibanejad was philosophical about the move, “I wanted to stay, but I knew there were options to send me home. I was prepared for that and I was prepared to stay. I’m going home. It’s sad, but on other hand it’s a good thing for me. It’s going to be a chance for me to improve my game. I’m going to a place where I know the coach, my teammates and everything around me. That’s my hometown, so I’ll be comfortable and I can focus on improving my game.”  Bryan Murray’s comments about why he was sent back echo my own that he should be, “He was playing the last little bit to survive and not make mistakes, rather than be the creative kind of kid we want him to be. From a selfish point of view, it was very difficult. We like him. He’s a guy that would work hard and do everything the coaches would ask.”  Scanlan’s article suggests financial reasons were also part of the decision, but I disagree entirely.  The Sens are barely above the cap floor and letting Zibanejad‘s fat contract go makes it more difficult to make roster moves.

-As expected, Daniel Alfredsson will return to the Sens lineup after taking a game off for maintenance

-Here are the Sens lines heading into tonight’s game (Anderson will start):
Colin Greening-Jason Spezza-Milan Michalek
Nick Foligno-Stephane Da Costa-Daniel Alfredsson
Kaspars Daugavins-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Jesse Winchester-Zenon Konopka-Erik Condra
David Rundblad-Chris Phillips
Sergei Gonchar-Jared Cowen
Filip Kuba-Erik Karlsson

-There’s still no official update on Peter Regin, but what’s been speculated has been grim.  Regin is currently seeking a second opinion and may have to have surgery on his shoulder a second time.

The Silver Seven‘s Mark Parisi wonders about Ottawa’s second line center position now that Zibanejad is gone, Regin is injured, and if Stephane Da Costa isn’t ready (link).  He doesn’t like any of the options he presents, which are: 1) Zack Smith, 2) Corey Locke, 3) Nick Foligno, 4) a trade for a veteran center.  It’s an interesting question, but I’d like to add a couple of other options: 1) Colin Greening (a center his whole career until he made the NHL), 2) Mike Hoffman.  Of all six possibilities none really stand out, but the nod would go to Greening if MacLean is willing to break up the top line.

-Joy Lindsay reports that Corey Locke has returned to practice while Mark Parrish is absent (link).  These are the lines in his absence: Cowick-Locke-Petersson, Hoffman-O’Brien-Downing, Grant-Cannone-Filatov, Dziurzynski-Hamilton-Lessard; Borowiecki-Conboy, Wiercioch-Gryba, Godfrey-Schira, Raymond-Heshka.

Hockey Futures‘ D. J. Powers has posted part-two of his ECAC preview (link), which doesn’t mention Brad Peltz at Yale, but says the following about Michael Sdao at Princeton, “One area where Sdao has begun to make strides in his development is on the offensive side. While Sdao will likely never be among college hockey’s top scoring defensemen, he has shown some good offensive capabilities.”

The Hockey News‘s Adam Proteau has posted his top ten players of the month (link, and yes, apparently Proteau thinks October 26th is the end of the month).  Jason Spezza comes in at #6.

-I give credit to Sportsnet‘s Ian Mendes for eating his words about Brian Elliott (link).  It remains to be seen if Elliott can consistently play well for the Blues, but he got destroyed by the media here when there were many other targets equally deserving.