It took 60 minutes of solid effort and two powerplay goals, but the Ottawa Senators were able to come away with a very impressive road win against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. It may have been a game the Sens should have won--one of few teams struggling more than Ottawa is Minnesota--but that just makes this win all the more meaningful, because Ottawa needs to win those games.
The Sens win, really, hinged on one key play: The Minnesota Wild appeared to score a go-ahead goal in the second period, killing off the momentum Ottawa had going. But after conferring with one another, the refs decided the Wild had too many players on the ice, and not only was the goal called back, Minnesota also received a penalty. Just seconds into the ensuing powerplay, Ottawa scored. The Sens went from being down a goal to up a goal in a matter of nine seconds. They were able to hold on to that lead for a solid road win
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
It's really remarkable how quickly this kid can put up points, and how many he can score (when he's scoring them, anyway). Another three points tonight give him 19 on the year, second (!) on the team in scoring. It seems obvious that his defensive awareness isn't fully developed--that often takes time and maturity to really be its best--but if he's able to develop offensively, too, he'll be a scary-good defenceman in the coming seasons.
Sens Hero: Chris Phillips
Another defender with a huge role on Ottawa's win, but this one was on the other side of the puck. Phillips had a couple hits, but more impressive than those were the three blocked shots--including one game-saver early in the game, and one with his jaw in the second period. The upswing in Phillips' play continues, and not a moment too soon.
Sens Hero: Daniel Alfredsson
The offence was once again initiated by the captain, as Alfredsson blasted a shot (perhaps superfluously) past Jose Theodore to tie the game at one early in the second period. Even Hasse looked impressed; the man was even high-fiving other fathers in the stands.
Not Bad: Brian Lee
Considering it was his first game in two months, Brian Lee actually looked respectable at times. There are still issues with his game (his one-on-one strategy is godawful, and he lacks the assertiveness that should come with more playing time), but overall Lee wasn't a liability, which is about all that was asked of him.