Ottawa 5, New York Islanders 2

After a brutal start to the game, where Robin Lehner kept them in it, the Sens were able to turn the corner and dominate the Islanders.  Erik Karlsson was able to break Norm Maciver‘s franchise record for points by defenceman and the Sens fourth line contributed three goals including the winner.  It will be interesting to see if Paul MacLean thinks Lehner has earned the start against Boston.  Here’s the box score.

First Period
The Sens came out flat, giving up an early goal on a two-on-one by Tavares and struggling all over the ice for half the period (being outshot 10-0).  Lehner kept them in it, including stopping Reasoner on a clear breakaway. They woke up in the latter stages of the period and were able to apply some pressure to NabokovSpezza had a brutal period, leading the team in giveaways.
Second Period
Ottawa came out stronger in the period, but still needed an incredible save from Lehner on Tavares to allow them to tie the game on the powerplay (Michalek).  Just prior to the goal Spezza was hit by an Alfredsson slapper and went straight to the dressing room, but was able to return and score on the next powerplay.
Third Period
The Sens did a great job cutting down on the chances for the Islanders and O’Brien scored on a turnover created by Neil.  The Isles were able to capitalise on an Alfredsson turnover to cut the lead to one, but as the momentum began to switch Neil made a fantastic tip to give the Sens back their two goal lead.  Turris salted the game away with an empty-net goal.

Here’s a look at the goals:
1. New York Islanders, Tavares
Karlsson pinches down the wall and Spezza is late in covering for him, leading to a 2-on-1.  Tavares shoots and the puck squeezes between Lehner’s arm and his body
2. Michalek (Karlsson, Turris) (pp)
Karlsson feeds Michalek in the slot who beats Nabokov with a back-hander
3. Spezza (Karlsson, Kuba) (pp)
Blasts a shot over Nabokov’s shoulder
4. O’Brien (Neil)
Neil creates a turnover and O’Brien powers a shot through Nabokov’s glove
5. New York Islanders, Parenteau
Alfredsson can’t clear the puck and Michalek loses his check (Parenteau) who is wide open in the slot
6. Neil (Foligno)
A fantastic close-in tip by Neil on Foligno’s flip pass
7. Turris (Foligno, Greening) (en)

Top-performers:
Erik Karlsson – keyed the Sens comeback and shifted the games momentum
Robin Lehner – made two incredible saves at key times in the game to help the team win
Chris Neil – a vital assist and goal in the third period

Players Who Struggled:
Jared Cowen – lead the blueline in turnovers and continues to struggle
Kyle Turris – maybe the empty-net goal he scored will help him out, but he’s a key reason why Ottawa’s second line has been ice cold

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Senators News: February 26th

-The Sens have made a deal to acquire St. Louis minor league goalie Ben Bishop (link), giving up their 2013 2nd round pick to do so.  Bishop was the Blues third round pick in 2005 and the 6’7, 25-year old is having a career year in Peoria: 38-24-14-0 2.26 .928.  He had no place in St. Louis behind the Halak/Elliott tandem.  Bob McKenzie Tweets that the Blues had signed Bishop to a one-year, one-way deal prior to making the trade [Update: McKenzie says the plan was for St. Louis to sign him, but Ottawa is actually in the process of doing so and the details are expected later today].  This makes me wonder if the Sens are planning to have Lehner spend another year in Binghamton next season with Bishop backing up Anderson.  It’s an interesting move and a slap in the face to Lehner if I’m right, as he was assured he would be the starting goaltender if anything happened to Anderson.  I’m not arguing that Lehner deserves the right to start in the NHL given his play in the minors, but it does fly in the face of that promise [Update: Ian_Mendes says “Do not read into Bishop trade as the Sens being unhappy with Lehner. This move creates depth/competition in organization. The battle for Anderson‘s back-up job next season will be interesting. This is a good competition for Lehner; was nobody to push him before.”  If Mendes is right it implies the Sens would be willing to bury Bishop in the minors on a one-way (assuming Bob McKenzie was right that his contract for next year is one-way)].

-Paul MacLean refused to throw Auld under the bus after the loss last night, following a trend which goes back to the beginning of the season, “We only played 12 minutes of the game. You’re not going to win any game playing 12 minutes. So we can’t blame the goalie for a game that the team didn’t play well in.”  The trade, however, indicates management did think it was Auld‘s fault.

Garrioch reports that Kyle Turris‘ hit on Joe Corvo is under review by the NHL, which makes absolutely no sense at all (Turris bumped Corvo as he was losing his footing and he banged the back of his head on the boards).  I expect Shanahan will suspend him anyway–league discipline is nothing if not irrational [Update: Turris has not been suspended].

Ottawa 3, Boston 5; Binghamton 1, Adirondack 2 (SO)

The Sens played roughly 15 minutes of solid hockey tonight and still nearly stole a point from the Bruins despite weak goaltending.  The game was not particularly physical (other than a huge hit by Chris Neil) and lacked intensity throughout.  I expect a better effort tomorrow.  Here’s the box score.

First Period
The Sens scored early with a great goal from Karlsson, but they could not maintain the momentum with an Alfredsson turnover leading to Bergeron tying it.  A lifeless powerplay followed, but the kicker was a brutal goal given up by Auld to Marchant.  The Sens were guilty of a lot of turnovers (particularly by the defence, with Karlsson and Phillips leading the way).
Second Period
Ottawa was awful in the period, continuing to struggle in their own zone.  Boston scored the only goal, with Daugavins turning the puck over and then Auld deflecting the puck into his own net.  A late powerplay helped the Sens a little, but on the whole they showed little sign of coming back in the game.  Turris and Spezza gained the lead for the team in turnovers.
Third Period
The Sens continued to struggle until late in the third period (long after Neil‘s devastating hit on Boychuk), with  Krejci scoring a powerplay goal, when Alfredsson scored twice on identical plays, but the Bruins salted the game away with an empty-netter.

Here’s a look at the goals:
1. Karlsson (Spezza, Michalek)
Spezza finds Karlsson all alone in the slot
2. Boston, Bergeron
Alfredsson turns it over and Karlsson and Kuba can’t control Bergeron in front of the net who bangs home a rebound
3. Boston, Marchand
A simple shot at the net fools Auld
4. Boston, Caron
Daugavins turns it over and Auld deflects it into his own net
5. Boston, Krejci (pp)
Auld over commits to a point shot that goes wide and Smith isn’t able to collapse in time to prevent Krejci scoring on an empty net
6. Alfredsson (Spezza, Karlsson)
A great cross-ice pass from Spezza and Alfredsson beats an out of position Thomas
7. Alfredsson (Karlsson, Spezza)
Identical to the last play, except Karlsson makes the pass
8. Boston, Bergeron (en)

Top-performers:
Erik Karlsson – despite turnovers in his own end, was the engine for Ottawa’s offence
Filip Kuba – the best blueliner defensively tonight
Daniel Alfredsson – his two goals made what wasn’t a very competitive game interesting

Players Who Struggled:
Kyle Turris – other than turnovers was invisible
Alex Auld – two bad goals are unacceptable

Binghamton lost 2-1 to Adirondack tonight, with McKenna making 50 saves in the loss.  Derek Grant scored Binghamton’s only goal.  Here’s the box score and Joy Lindsay‘s game summary.

Elmira also lost tonight, with Corey Cowick picking up an assist (Louie Caporusso did not play).