Ottawa 4, Philadelphia 3 (SO)

The Senators blew a 3-0 lead, but hung on to the shootout where they beat the Flyers to earn a vital two points.  The game was a fantastic one for Craig Anderson, as the Sens took the second period and overtime off.  Neither team played much defence until the third period, which made it entertaining to watch.  Here’s the box score.

First Period
Flyers opened with an early powerplay, but the Sens had the best chance short-handed with a 2-on-1 (Daugavins unable to get his stick on Michalek‘s pass).  Ottawa opened the scoring with a great play by Alfredsson leading to a Spezza goal (a play made possible by a turnover created by Greening).  The Sens gave up a short-handed breakaway stopped by Anderson which was followed by a delay of game call against KubaAnderson made a big save on Jagr during the following 4-on-4 action.  Ottawa scored when Karlsson kept the puck in and Alfredsson fired a shot that deflected off a Flyer and in.  Anderson made another great save on Hartnell.  The Sens fourth line scored the third goal as Klinkhammer made a steal at the blueline resulting in Neil putting the puck through BobrovskyAlfredsson was stopped on a breakaway late in the period.
Second Period
Whatever words were said between periods lead to awful play by the Senators.  The Flyers had an edge in play and opened the scoring when Schenn scored off Simmonds face.  Ottawa’s first good chance of the period came five minutes in when Smith couldn’t bury a rebound.  Anderson made a great save on Jagr before the midway point of the period and then another off a Michalek giveaway short-handed.  The Flyers scored again when Couturier faked Karlsson out and beat Anderson–there was a lengthy review, but it was a good goal.  Ottawa got a powerplay following the goal, but were unable to do anything with it.  The Flyers tied it up just after the kill when Alfredsson made a bad pinch and Coburn scored on a 2-on-1.  Late in the period Turris was stopped on a breakaway.
Third Period
Karlsson had the first chance of the period, but was unable to beat Bobrovsky short side.  The Sens carried the early play in what was a cautious period.  Turris hit the post at the mid-way point.  Ottawa wasted another powerplay without generating a single scoring chance, while Anderson stopped Philadelphia on their only opportunity.  Spezza had a great chance in the final minutes, but couldn’t slide it under or around Bobrovsky.
A pair of turnovers by Spezza resulted in chances that the Sens were able to block before they got to the net, but the Flyers carried the play and Briere hit the post and then Anderson made a great save off Simmonds.  The Sens had no good scoring chances in the extra frame and the Flyers ended overtime on the powerplay, Anderson making a great save off a Jagr one-timer.
Michalek (five-hole) and Spezza (low glove side) both scored while only Matt Read was able to beat Anderson, giving Ottawa the victory.

A look at the goals:
1. Spezza (Alfredsson, Carkner)
Alfredsson makes a great pass to Spezza from behind the net who has an empty cage to score in
2. Alfredsson (Karlsson)
Karlsson keeps the puck in and Alfredsson’s one-timer deflects in off a Flyer
3. Neil (Klinkhammer)
Klinkhammer keeps the puck in and Neil shoots through Bobrovsky
4. Philadelphia, Simmonds
Schenn burns Klinkhammer with a move and fires it in off Simmonds face
5. Philadelphia, Couturier
Gets around Karlsson by faking a shot and then beats Anderson on the back-hand
6. Philadelphia, Coburn
Alfredsson makes a bad pinch leading to a 2-on-1 with Coburn pushing the puck over Andreson

Craig Anderson – kept the Sens in the game over the last 45 minutes and the shootout
Chris Phillips – fantastic defensively
Daniel Alfredsson – a goal and an assist to lead the offence

Players Who Struggled: all the players who might be singled out (Spezza and Karlsson for turnovers, or Klinkhammer for his gaffe on the first Flyer goal) also did positive things in the game that helped the team win (two goals and two key assists), so there was no specific dud this afternoon.


Senators News: March 31st

-No lineup changes are expected for the Sens this afternoon.

Paul MacLean talked about the year that was and the last few games of the season, “From Day 1, we said we were building a foundation to win. We’ve laid a lot of good stones in that foundation through adversity and through success. These last five games are another opportunity. For me, this is when you really find out about players and how do you play when you’re under the gun with the pressure. These are valuable building blocks to our organization, not only for this year, but down the road. This is when it really counts. This is when you find out who you can depend on.”

Sergei Gonchar talks about Filip Kuba‘s chemistry with Erik Karlsson, “Since Kuba‘s an offensive guy it’s easier for him to read because he understands what’s going on and he understands Erik very well. When he knows that Erik will go he’ll stay back and once in a while when he sees Erik‘s not going then he jumps in. It’s one of those things that can only happen when you have an understanding of your partner and an understanding of the game.”

Joy Lindsay reports that Corey Cowick has been recalled from Elmira while Josh Godfrey was sent down.  Andre Petersson and David Dziurzynski will be game-time decisions and Robin Lehner is expected to get the start.  Here were the lines at practice: Cole Schneider-Pat Cannone-Francis Lessard, Mike Hoffman-Stéphane Da Costa-Jack Downing, Derek Grant-Wacey Hamilton-Mark Parrish, Matt Puempel-Mike Bartlett-Corey Cowick; Mark Borowiecki-Craig Schira, Patrick Wiercioch-Eric Gryba, Dan Henningson-Tim Conboy.

Jordan Fransoo‘s Victoria Royals were eliminated in the WHL playoffs, making him eligible to play for Binghamton if he signs an ATO.

Capgeek has unconfirmed numbers for Chris Wideman‘s contract (590k).

-Here’s my profile of Sens prospect Michael Sdao.

-For those who missed it, Sens prospect Darren Kramer has invented a new kind of container for peanut butter and mayonnaise.

Adrian Dater offers up his own awards for this NHL season.

Prospect Profile: Michael Sdao

Michael Sdao (D-L, 6’4, DOB 1989, 7-191/09; contract: 620k/14)
2007-08 USHL Lincoln 53-3-6-9 +12 178pim (ppg 0.17) 5th d-pts
2008-09 USHL Lincoln 51-3-7-10 Even 162pim (ppg 0.19) 5th
2009-10 NCAA Princeton 30-5-4-9 -4 48pim (ppg 0.30) 4th
2010-11 NCAA Princeton 27-3-7-10 Even 65pim (ppg 0.37) 4th
2011-12 NCAA Princeton 30-10-10-20 -3 87pim (ppg 0.66) 1st
2012-13 NCAA Princeton 31-8-7-15 36pim (ppg 0.48) 1st
2012-13 AHL Binghamton 12-1-0-1 +4 23pim (ppg 0.08)

Picked out of the USHL as one of the best fighters in the draft (he was not ranked by Central Scouting), hes continued to improve the other parts of his game each year at Princeton.  If his offensive game translates at all at the pro level he’s going to be a very pleasant surprise for Ottawa.  Former coach Guy Gadowsky describes him:

He can really shoot the puck, and he’s in even better shape: he’s definitely stronger, he’s definitely quicker, and he’s as focused on becoming the best hockey player as he can possibly be. I won’t say he’s changing – he’s still going to be a tough, hard-nosed defenceman – but he can definitely shoot the puck.

Roman J. Uschak interviewed Sdao mid-season and he talked about his experience, saying he wants to continue working on his defensive game and is committed to graduate.  His coach, Bob Prier, said:

More than anyone else I’ve coached, he wants to play at the next level. He’s definitely got the will, and an absolute bomb from the point. He’s also a great person, and his intangibles are terrific. … He’s an  NHL prospect, and a good prospect.

This year Sdao did not beat his career highs from the previous season, but he remained the most important cog on his team’s blueline and still lead the back end in points.  Signing an ATO with Binghamton, Sdao was easily able to push Ben Blood out of Binghamton’s lineup and play regularly.  Here are some of his comments at this year’s development camp:

Now I’m a hockey player, I’m not a student anymore so it’s been good. It’s [the AHL] been great — every time you play against better players you become better too. It was definitely a good experience in Binghamton and it’ll be good heading into camp this year. I’m a physical defenceman, I move the puck and just try to keep it simple. I play a hard game, try to keep guys honest and just be a hard player to play against. It [today’s testing] went well. All of my numbers improved from last year so it’s definitely moving in the right direction. I think [the numbers improved because of] working with Chris Schwarz and just working hard, being in the gym and getting the work done.

Here’s a clip of Sdao from his USHL days, a goal scored in the NCAA (or skip to 4:39), a fight playing for Bingo, along with an interview from that game.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)