Ottawa 3, Calgary 3 (OT); Binghamton 4, Syracuse 3 (OT)

Ottawa overcame atrocious goaltending from Alex Auld, taking dumb penalties, and a three-goal deficit to defeat Calgary in overtime.  The Sens struggled in the first period, but were the better team there after.  The game also featured a head shot from Sarich on Erik Condra which I doubt the NHL will punish.  Click here for the box score.  A look at the goals:
1. Calgary, Bourque
Kyle Turris deflects the puck through Alex Auld’s legs, who would have easily stopped it if he had his stick in the proper position
2. Calgary, Glencross (pp)
Jared Cowen loses Glencross in the slot and he fires home a great pass from the corner
3. Calgary, Butler
Throws the puck at the net and Auld simply misses it–horrible goal
4. Foligno (Gonchar)
A great individual rush, sliding the puck beneath Irving
5. Smith (Lee, Phillips)
Powers a shot in on the far side
6. Karlsson (unassisted)
A great steal, picks up his own rebound and cashes it in an empty net as Irving can’t recover from the initial save
7. Alfredsson (Karlsson, Neil) (pp)
Fires it top-shelf for his 400th career goal

Erik Karlsson – ties the game and assists on the winner; despite a few turnovers he was good defensively
Zack Smith – strong defensively and scored
Daniel Alfredsson – scores the winner and was good throughout

Players who struggled:
Alex Auld – allowed two terrible goals
Jared Cowen – too many turnovers and was uncertain when he moved the puck

Binghamton came back to beat Syracuse in overtime 4-3.  Mike McKenna picked up the win and the team had four different goal scorers (Da Costa, Hoffman, Dziurzynski, and Borowiecki).  Derek Grant added two assists. Click here for the box score and here for Joy Lindsay’s game summary.

Elmira won 3-2 tonight with Brian Stewart picking up the win while Louie Caporusso and Jack Downing held off the scoreboard


Senators News: December 30th

The Ottawa Sun provides the Sens lineup going into tonight’s game: Michalek-Spezza-Greening, Alfredsson-Turris-Condra, Foligno-Smith-Butler, Daugavins-Konopka-Neil.  Chris Phillips is back in the lineup making Matt Carkner a healthy scratch; Alex Auld earns the start.

The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan writes about Erik Condra (link) who receives flattering praise from Paul MacLean, “He seems to make any line he plays on a pretty good line. He’s kind of a player you’d say is kind of the conscience of the line, he’s always in a good spot defensively, always puts the puck in a good spot, gets around the rink real good, does a good job on the boards and in his own zone … he’s the type of player that can play with anybody.”  I agree wholeheartedly wit MacLean, but given that you have to wonder why he only played 8:45 against Montreal.

-The Ottawa media has been very soft on Craig Anderson this year, but The Ottawa Citizen‘s Ken Warren writes about his horrific numbers (link).  Anderson, who rarely accepts blame for anything, says “Do what got you success in the past. There are going to be nights when you are not at your best. That’s just the nature of this game. You’re human. You’re going to make mistakes.” And “Overall, we’ve won more games than we’ve lost (in regulation). Obviously, when we’ve lost, we’ve lost big, so the statistics are skewed on that a little bit, but when we win, everything’s good.”  Nearly half way through this season and I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the Sens hadn’t traded for Anderson–they would have drafted one of the top-three players in the draft and then had statistically the best goalie in the NHL this next season.  It’s not really a fair comparison, but it’s one of those things you chew on.

-The Sens signed their other two first round draft picks yesterday in Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel (each, according to Capgeek, with 1.137,500 cap hits).  I’m sure the Sens brass had hoped both would be participating in the WJC, but it’s no surprise that they’ve been signed.

-Binghamton released Brandon Svendsen from his PTO and blueliner Mike Ratchuk is out with a concussion.

-I watched Canada annihilate Denmark 10-2 last night, with Mark Stone picking up a goal and an assist.  The Canadians got lazy very early in the game and goaltender Mark Visentin continues to be shaky in goal.

-While it took Columbus GM Scott Howson longer than anyone else, he’s finally realised his team’s season is over (link).  I’ll quote beat writer Bob Hunter’s reaction, “This can be reassuring and maddening. When you listen to him talk, sometimes he seems almost too reasonable to be running a professional sports franchise when the paying customers want to win yesterday. At other times, you almost want to take him by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. Where was he a month ago when the season was leaving town?”  It’s amazing to think someone could do a worse job running the Blue Jackets than Doug MacLean.