Ottawa 1, Montreal 5; Binghamton 4, Rochester 3 (OT)

Tonight’s game was over early in the first period, as a rusty Anderson wasn’t ready and neither were the Sens.  Ottawa showed some fight after the game was 4-0, but it was too little, too late (with a little help from the video review boys in Toronto).  I think I mentioned it in the last game against Montreal, but is there any team that dives more than the Habs?  Regardless, the Sens took a number of pointless penalties throughout the game, so the officiating wasn’t a deciding factor.  Here’s the box score.

First Period
Anderson flubs the first shot he faces to give the Habs an early 1-0 lead.  Condra had a fantastic chance short-handed, but couldn’t beat Price one-on-one.  The Habs scored just after their powerplay expired, with Cole overpowering Karlsson to bang home a rebound, and afterward  Paul MacLean pulled AndersonBishop promptly made two big saves after Turris was late covering for a pinching Gonchar, but Gonchar took a penalty on the play and the Habs scored immediately off the faceoff with Cole left unchecked to bang in a rebound. Nokelainen made it 4-0 on a 2-on-1, beating Bishop short side.  The Sens finally answered at the end of the period as Spezza scored when left all alone in the front.  Neil took a pointless penalty in a scrum at the end of the period to give the Habs a powerplay to start the second.
Second Period
Anderson returned to the net to start the period.  Klinkhammer saves a goal short-handed, breaking up a cross-crease pass.  Alfredsson had a good goal waived off (it was called a high-stick)–if memory serves, the Sens have not had a video review goal ruled in their favour this year.  The Sens were dominating the period, but Konopka took a pointless penalty to put the Habs back on the power play.  The Sens continued to have most of the pressure after the kill, but couldn’t beat Price.
Third Period
A slow start to the period turned into a Montreal powerplay when an Alfredsson turnover lead to scoring opportunities for ColeEller scored on the man advantage after Anderson over committed on a pass-attempt.  Anderson subsequently stopped Nokelainen on a breakaway.  Of all the fights tonight the one I liked best was Neil coming to the defence of Karlsson after he was charged by Blunden–protect your best players.

A look at the goals:
1. Montreal, Cole
Anderson misplays the shot which beats him high through his glove
2. Montreal, Cole
Anderson gives up a rebound and Karlsson can’t control Cole in front who bangs home the loose puck
3. Montreal, Cole (pp)
Cole is left all alone and bangs home another rebound
4. Montreal, Nokelainen
Beats Bishop low short side on a 2-on-1
5. Spezza (Michalek, Phillips)
Michalek centers the puck and Spezza is left all alone and beats Price high
6. Montreal, Eller (pp)
Anderson over commits on a pass-attempt and can’t recover

Top-performers: there aren’t any top-performers in a game like tonight’s, but Chris Phillips and Filip Kuba were strong defensively.

Players Who Struggled:
Craig Anderson and Ben Bishop – collectively three bad goals allowed just won’t get it done
Matt Gilroy – still waiting for him to make an impact
Kyle Turris – he wasn’t terrible tonight, but he has to start producing

-Binghamton blew a 2-0 lead, but were able to come back to take the game into overtime and win it.  Robin Lehner made 25-saves for the win while David Dziurzynski, Mike Hoffman, Dan Henningson, and Eric Grbya (with the OT winner) scored for Binghamton.  Gryba finished a team-high +2 on the night, while Mark Parrish and Craig Schira were a team-worst -2.  Here’s the box score and Joy Lindsay‘s game summary.

-Elmira won 3-1 tonight, with Brian Stewart picking up the win and Corey Cowick adding a goal.  Bobby Raymond had no points in Florida’s win.


Senators News: March 23rd

Craig Anderson will start tonight, his first start since February 22nd.  Jason Spezza also returns to the lineup, with Bobby Butler expected to come out.

-Paul MacLean talked about tonight’s match-up, “We know it’s going to be a difficult game because every time we play them it’s a difficult game. The neutral zone is a big focus. They do a real good job there. It’s going to be up to us to make sure we don’t turn it into an obstacle for ourselves. We’re going to have to generate more scoring opportunities on Carey Price. He’s been a big factor in every game we’ve played them. We’re going to have to make sure that we try to be more relentless attacking their net.”

Eugene Melnyk‘s unfortunate tendency to speak on the record produced something dumb once again, “At the end of the day, I’ve got little ones, a nine and 13-year-old, and I’ll be damned if some guy is going to pour a beer on them or whatever, or curse.”  Swearing?  He wants to eliminate swearing in the arena?  Good luck with that.

Joy Lindsay Tweets that Robin Lehner is expected to start tonight.  Matt Puempel should debut in Sunday’s game.

The Hockey Writers list Ottawa’s top-ten prospects:
1. Mika Zibanejad (they expect him to play full-time with Ottawa next season)
2. Robin Lehner
3. Jakob Silfverberg (they think he will challenge for a roster spot)
4. Mark Stone
5. Stephane Da Costa (they compare him to Adam Oates)
6. Matt Puempel (they imply he will be in the AHL next year, but he’s too young to do that)
7. Stefan Noesen (they see him as a third-line winger)
8. Shane Prince (they aren’t sure if he’ll return to the OHL or play in the AHL next fall)
9. Patrick Wiercioch
10. Andre Petersson (they consider him a one-dimensional player along the lines of Linus Omark)

Lists like these are always good at generating debate, but there are always curious elements in them–the one that stands out for me is how little (if ever) organisational comments are considered when deciding on what’s going to happen to a player.  To pick one example, Bryan Murray has remarked that he thinks Andre Petersson is Jason Spezza‘s winger of the future (link)–I’ve seen that echoed nowhere in the prospect assessments that I’ve read.  If that’s how the GM feels it should reflect itself in how he’s viewed.

John-Eric Iannicello believes Jared Cowen is the top rookie in the Northeast division, although he doesn’t provide any clear reasons why.