It was a strange game, but it's the result that matters: the Ottawa Senators recorded their fourth win of the season, defeating the Florida Panthers 5-3 on Thursday night. For the first time in what feels like eternity, the Senators' strongest period was the second one, notching three goals (including one shorthanded marker) and effectively sealing the win before the second intermission.
Brian Elliott was solid, though often unspectacular. He made 28 saves in total, including 16 in the third period. The scariest moment of the night came late in the third period when Senators defenceman Chris Campoli fell on top of Elliott (leading to Mike Santorelli's third career NHL goal). Elliott stayed down for several minutes while trainers rushed out and the television cameras focused awkwardly on Robin Lehner on the bench. Elliott finished the game, but was visibly in pain when the final buzzer went. There hasn't been an update yet on Elliott's status, but if he's hurt and with Leclaire still not ready to go, Saturday night could be the debut of the Robin Lehner and Barry Brust tandem.
And if that's the case, Alfredsson help us all.
Sens Killer: Marty Reasoner
Did you know Reasoner had two assists tonight? I didn't. Reasoner was +2 and had three shots on goal, good for seven points in eight games this season, which is roughly half his point total from last year.
Sens Streak: Two straight wins!
Sens Hero: Milan Michalek
Michalek was flying tonight. He had a shorthanded goal, an assist, and led the team with a +3 rating. Michalek broke a four-game point drought in style and looked deadly every shift, despite playing only 14:42, a far cry from his season-high 21:08 against Buffalo last week.
Sens Hero: Daniel Alfredsson
A goal, an assist, and +2. Just another night at the rink for the Senators' captain. Alfredsson now has 6 goals and 6 assists in 10 games on the year, good for 15th-overall in the NHL in points (as of 10:00pm ET).
Sens Hero: Tomas Vokoun
Vokoun was pretty solid for most of the game, but he was weak on the Z. Smith goal, caught off-guard on the Alfredsson goal, and was doing something inexplicable on the Kovalev game-winner. It was an uncharacteristic night for Vokoun, and the Senators took advantage of it.
Sens Fail: Attendance
Announced attendance was 16,294, well below Scotiabank Place's 19,153 capacity (only 85% capacity, in fact). One commenter noted that it was the emptiest he'd ever seen the building. I realize it's a Thursday night in October against the Panthers, but it's still embarrassing.
Cory Clouston Fashion Update: White shirt, bronze and copper angled striped tie.
I'm not sure if he's worn this combination before, but if not, this attire is perfect this season. Keep it up, coach.
Next game is Saturday night against Boston. Renowned Senators killer Tim Thomas will goes into that game with an unreal 0.60 GAA and .981 save percentage. If the Senators win, they'll have a .500 record for the first time this season. You can catch the game at 7:00pm ET on CBC.