Ottawa 1, Carolina 2 (OT)

Ottawa got a point they didn’t deserve in their loss tonight thanks to goaltending (for, I believe, the first time this year).  They were awful in the first period and while they gradually improved it was a struggle all night. Mike Hoffman looked good in limited action and it was another poor night for the officials (Mike Hasenfratz and Francois St. Laurent).  For the box score go here link.  A look at the goals:
1. Carolina, Nodl
His pass bounces in off the skate of Carkner
2. Kuba (Foligno, Turris)
Floats a shot threw Ward
3. Carolina, Ruutu
A great tip off a Harrison shot

Craig Anderson – made 36 saves and did not allow a bad goal
Filip Kuba – was excellent defensively and scored the only goal

Players who struggled: the whole team struggled, but no one was particularly heinous.  I thought Matt Carkner was too scrambly in his own zone and Chris Phillips had a couple of egregious turnovers.


Senators News: December 23rd

-The Sens lines via The Ottawa Sun (with Mike Hoffman getting the call-up and Brian Lee scratched): Colin Greening-Jason Spezza-Daniel Alfredsson, Nick Foligno-Kyle Turris-Erik Condra, Kaspars Daugavins-Zack Smith-Chris Neil, Mike Hoffman-Zenon Konopka-Bobby Butler; Jared Cowen-Erik Karlsson, Filip Kuba-Sergei Gonchar, Chris Phillips-Matt Carkner.

-Most of the media dispensed with discussing last night’s game to whinge over the call on Nick Foligno, but while I disagreed with the call I’m not up in arms about it.  My only complaint is the inconsistency from officials and the league, but that’s not going to change any time soon.

-Pierre McGuire (link) and others think Bobby Butler might have some of his mojo back after scoring, but given that nothing developed after his two-goal performance against Calgary I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude towards him.

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Wayne Scanlan wonders if the Sens are contenders or pretenders (link), with Bryan Murray saying, “We have to play game by game almost and see where we are. I watch our team now and I think we can compete with everybody. We haven’t been embarrassed except at the beginning of the year.”  Scanlan himself doesn’t answer the question, but I doubt the Sens will maintain a playoff position.

-A quick thought on the choice of recalling Mike Hoffman (32-7-10-17 -8): I’m not surprised that he was brought up instead of veteran Mark Parrish or Pat Cannone (neither impressed in pre-season), but Murray could have opted for a return of Stephane Da Costa or bringing in a grinder like David Dziurzynski.  My guess is that Paul MacLean remains impressed with Hoffman‘s skill level and wanted his versatility (he can play the wing whereas Da Costa cannot).  It will be interesting to see how much ice time he gets against Carolina.

Sports Illustrated‘s Stu Hackel reminisces on the classic and now vanished art of goal scoring by flying down the wing and firing a slapshot (link).  For those of us who remember hockey when goaltenders normally stood up this was one of the most common plays in hockey.  Hackel quotes Scotty Bowman about the change, “The D couldn’t get to the shooter like today. The game was more spread out, because the D had to back off more. Now, everybody can skate with everybody else. And the forwards backcheck much more. The speed of the game now just makes it so you can’t take that much time to get a shot off.”

Ottawa 4, Florida 3 (OT)

Ottawa won its third game in a row with an overtime victory.  Florida was the better team in the first period, but the Sens were able to stay in it and eventually get the lead–which they surrendered twice, including late in the third, before winning in overtime.  Nick Foligno was thrown out of the game early in the second period for a hit on Ellerby and Matt Carkner spent most of the game riding the pine playing a team low 5:01.  It wasn’t a good night for the officials (Tim Peel and Justin St. Pierre), but ultimately it did not decide the game.  For the box score go here link.  A look at the goals:
1. Neil (Karlsson, Alfredsson) (pp)
A great deflection in front
2. Florida, Repik (pp)
Versteeg puts it off Repik’s skate and in
3. Alfredsson (Neil) (pp)
Clemmensen turns it over behind the net and Alfredsson bats it out of the air via Neil’s centering pass
4. Florida, Matthias (pp)
Carkner chases a blocked shot towards the blueline and neither Konopka nor Daugavins cycle back to cover for him, leaving Matthias wide open who scores from inside the faceoff dot
5. Karlsson (Alfredsson, Greening)
A laser shot to the top-corner via a Jason Spezza screen
6. Florida, Kopecky
Slides it under Anderson driving across the crease–a bad goal
7. Butler (Turris, Cowen)
His hard pass deflects in off Campbell

Daniel Alfredsson – a three-point night and he was strong defensively
Chris Neil – a goal and an assist along with some thundering hits
Erik Condra – yeoman’s work defensively and he created offensive chances

Players who struggled: no one particularly stood out in this regard, although an extra save from Craig Anderson would have eliminated the three-point game.