Senators News: March 9th

-Paul MacLean liked his team’s effort last night, “I thought our team played real well from start to finish. The Rangers bring the best out of you. They are a real, real good team and I felt our competition level was good. I thought that the physicality of the game was there on both sides.”

Nichols writes that Nick Foligno is second on the team in 5-on-5 scoring, but smartly draws no conclusions about it.  No one thinks Foligno is the team’s second most effective forward and it goes to show how numbers can sometimes be deceiving.

Justin Goldman illustrates how different perspectives can be, as he was very happy with Ben Bishop‘s performance against the Lightning.  My feelings are shared by Pierre McGuire (March 7th podcast), as we both think Bishop let in two bad goals in his debut (he was much more impressive last night).  I do agree with Goldman that Lehner is unlikely to back up Anderson next year, although my reasons are financial whereas he talks about maturity.

Stu Hackel points out the obvious: re-instituting the redline won’t make the NHL safer, but it will shift the game back towards the dead puck era and there’s little enough scoring in the game as it is.

Steven Simmons writes that Brian Burke and others within the NHL may look to dump Don Cherry for their new contract with the CBC two years from now.  I’m not a fan of Coaches Corner, but if it goes I’d rather it sinks under its own weight than NHL exec’s crushing it.

Ottawa 4, New York Rangers 1

Without Lundqvist to face, the Sens had an easier task defeating the Rangers tonight.  They gave up the first goal, but were up 2-1 through the first and solid goaltending from Bishop kept them in it when they struggled in the second.  Both Smith and Foligno were able to break lengthy scoring droughts (the latter had scored an empty-netter recently, but not beaten a goalie in a long time).  Here’s the box score.

First Period
After a slow start the Rangers broke the ice as Callahan banged in a great cross-ice pass, O’Brien unable to control his stick (O’Brien would make up for that play by preventing Gaborik from going in all alone).  The Sens tied the game after Condra created a turnover and Smith beat Biron far side.  Ottawa followed an ineffective powerplay by giving up a breakaway to John Scott (of all people).  Foligno gave the Sens the lead late in the period.
Second Period
The Rangers dominated the second period, with Bishop keeping them in the game.  The Sens struggled with the cycle and had difficulty establishing themselves in the offensive zone.
Third Period
The Sens were much better in the third period, although the Rangers continued to have a physical edge.  Turris gave them a two-goal lead as he cashed in on an Alfredsson rebound.  The Sens hung on late, adding an empty-netter.

A look at the goals:
1. New York Rangers, Callahan
O’Brien can’t control his stick and Callahan bangs in a great cross-ice feed
2. Smith (Condra)
Condra creates a turnover at the blueline and Smith blows it by Biron from the top of the circle
3. Foligno (O’Brien)
O’Brien keeps the puck in at the blueline and his soft wrist shot is deflected by Foligno who bangs in his own rebound
4. Turris (Alfredsson, Klinkhammer)
Alfredsson’s shot is baubled by Biron and banged home by Turris
5. Spezza (Michalek, Kuba) (en)

Top-performers:
Zack Smith – scored, was good defensively, and was physical
Jared Cowen – excellent defensively and was able to handle the heavy Ranger cycle
Ben Bishop – kept the team in the game during the second period

Players Who Struggled: no one stood out as especially bad tonight, although Erik Karlsson lead the team in turnovers.