Senators 4, Tampa Bay 6

The Sens dream of a 48-0 season ended tonight as they fell to the Lightning 6-4.  Ben Bishop struggled (as did Lightning ‘tender Lindback) and the Sens paid for defensive lapses.  Both the first and third periods had very little flow.  Ottawa surrendered two separate two-goal leads (3-1 and 4-2) and weren’t able to respond once the Lightning took the lead in the final frame.  Despite a large number of penalties the game was not particularly physical other than B. J. Crombeen deciding it would be a good idea to let Chris Neil punch him in the head repeatedly.  Here’s the boxscore.

Game Notes
Bishop gave up two bad goals (Carle‘s and Hedman‘s) which puts the loss solidly on his head; he struggled all night and never seemed comfortable between the pipes
Karlsson had another great game
-I’d normally be all over Chris Phillips for being -3 on the night, but I thought he played well
-It was an excellent debut for Kaspars Daugavins who wound up playing on the second line
Michalek, Condra, and Regin lead the team in scoring chances (3 each); Michalek had a fantastic opportunity to tie the game late but decided to try and pass when he was all alone in front

The Goals
1. TB, Carle (pp)
A bad rebound from Bishop leads directly to the goal
2. Condra (Neil, Gonchar)
Gets a great pass from Neil and goes five-hole on Lindback
3. Spezza (Alfredsson, Gonchar) (pp)
Powers a shot through Lindback
4. Karlsson (Michalek, Turris)
Hedman deflects a harmless shot into his own net
5. TB, Stamkos
Left untouched in front he cashes in on the Salo rebound
6. Turris (Alfredsson, Daugavins)
Two great passes give Turris the wide open shot in the slot and he doesn’t miss
7. TB, Hedman
Fires it through Bishop who should have stopped the shot
8. TB, Malone
Deflects a Salo shot
9. TB, Malone
Bats a bouncing puck into a wide open goal
10. TB, Pyatt (empty net)
Benoit blindly throws the puck against the boards and gives it to the wrong team

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: January 25th

-Ottawa plays Tampa Bay (2-1-0) tonight; the Lightning are lead by the trio of Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, and Cory Conacher (5 points each) and backstopped by Anders Lindback (1-1-0 3.50 .905).  Here’s the NHL’s preview.

-There are a number of lineup changes for the Sens ahead of tonight’s game: Ben Bishop gets the start, Mark Borowiecki will play instead of Patrick Wiercioch (who was largely invisible last night), and Kaspars Daugavins slides in for Guillaume Latendresse who tweaked something and is injured.

-Here are my thoughts on last night’s 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.  Here’s Scott‘s scoring chances (he had them 22-12 for Ottawa, mine were 24-6).  Here are Paul MacLean‘s thoughts:

We feel fortunate to come out with the win. We stuck to it. We didn’t get frustrated when things didn’t go our way. We found a way to get momentum back on our side. I thought we established our game in the third and that made a big difference.

Nichols takes a look at other free agent defensemen the Sens might be interested in besides KHLer Viktor Antipin, suggesting 22-year old Danny DeKeyser (21-2-8-10, whom Shawn Simpson reported they were interested in last year) and 22-year old Andrej Sustr (24-6-10-16; teammate of Sens prospect Bryce Aneloski; Tim Wharnsby linked him to Ottawa last year).  Sustr was ranked #195 in North America in 2010 by Central Scouting (#264 RLR), while DeKeyser was not ranked by anyone.  Red Line Report considered DeKeyser the top college free agent last year while Sustr was #11 (RLR’s prognostication on that score has to be taken with a grain of salt, as you can gauge by looking here).

[Just a quick update: here’s what Red Line Report said about both players last year:
Danny DeKeyser: He plays a simple, defence first, stay-at-home game. He’s not flashy at the offensive end, but moves the puck well and gets it to the right spots by making good decisions. Efficiently gets the puck out of the zone with crisp outlets. He’s physical and wins the battles down low, keeps the crease clear, and plays with a bit of a nasty edge. He’s an outstanding penalty killer who blocks a ton of shots.
Andrej Sustr: Towering puck-moving defenceman with a game-changing reach. One of the best collegiate defencemen at passing the puck – zips it hard and accurately on the tape. Smooth skater despite being so lanky. Calm and poised – never seems hurried. Sees the ice well and makes good decisions. Can play the power play and utilizes his reach to create shooting lanes and put pucks on net. Reach is also his best defensive asset and he effectively clogs up the middle and forces the puck to the perimeter. Should be more physical.
]

Bruce Garrioch chimes in on the Ben Bishop rumours:

The Edmonton Oilers have interest in backup G Ben Bishop, but the Senators aren’t ready to make a move. They want to see how Bishop performs once he starts playing — which could be as early as Friday vs. Tampa Bay — and if the market increases once Vancouver Canucks G Roberto Luongo is dealt.

-Binghamton faces Syracuse (24-10-5) tonight; the Crunch are lead by Tyler Johnson (37 points) and backstopped by Dustin Tokarski (17-6-3 2.35 .903).

Sarah Kwak reminds us that it’s the large number of powerplays being handed out that are the main engine for increased scoring in the NHL right now.  Just like the end of the last lockout the league is cutting back on the obstruction.  I wouldn’t expect it to last, but it’s worth noting.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Ottawa 3, Florida 1

The Sens stretched their winning streak to three with a convincing win over the Florida Panthers.  Although the score was slightly closer than the previous victory Ottawa was more dominant and the Panthers had fewer chances (it was the best game of their season thus far).  The Sens were down 1-0 early, but tied the game before the end of the period and never looked back.  Here’s the boxscore.

Game Notes
Guillaume Latendresse continues to be snake bitten as he fumbled the puck on a glorious 2-on-1 with Milan Michalek and (failing to get a shot) and was then stymied on a penalty shot in the third period
-Twice in the second period Craig Anderson was bailed out by his defensemen on open net chances after an initial save (by Erik Karlsson and Chris Phillips, both of whom were the best defensively among the blueliners)
-It was not a great night for Colin Greening who failed to cash in on a great chance in the first period and then lead the team in turnovers (5)
Latendresse and Michalek lead the team in scoring chances with three each

The Goals
1. Florida, Fleischmann (pp)
Jim O’Brien gets lost defensively and Anderson can’t prevent the shot from going through him
2. Phillips (Methot, Smith)
Tail end of a powerplay Phillips one-timer deflects in off a Panther
3. Karlsson (unassisted)
Creates a turnover at the blueline and blows a wrist shot top-shelf, far side
4. Spezza (Michalek, Methot)
Empty-netter

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)