SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 6: Fans of the Ottawa Senators hold up a sign for Daniel Alfredsson (not pictured) prior to the game against the Florida Panthers on April 6, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. Alfredsson is playing in his 1,000 career National Hockey League game. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Although he only made it onto the scoresheet once (a single assist), you have to think that Daniel Alfredsson will be pretty happy with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. As for the game itself, well, it wasn't particularly exciting. Five minutes into the first period, the Senators went on a four minute powerplay after Bryan McCabe cut Mike Fisher near the eye with the high-stick. The Senators were unable to convert on that powerplay, but did score a powerplay goal late in the period thanks to a nifty Jason Spezza behind-the-back pass to Mike Fisher.
The Senators scored two in the second period, with Erik Karlsson netting his fifth of the season and Chris Neil scoring his ninth on a goal that you'd have to see to believe (and we have gif images after the jump, so be sure to keep reading). Mike Fisher and Jarkko Ruutu both scored in the third period for the Senators, while the Panthers only managed 2 goals during the game (from Shawn Matthias and Kamil Kreps), leaving a final score of 5-2.
Sens Heroes: Mike Fisher, Chris Neil, Pascal Leclaire
Not only did Mike Fisher two goals on the night, he also played his heart out. He won nearly every battle to the puck, hit hard, and had more effort than just about anyone else on the night. He finished with 5 shots on goal and a team high 3 blocked shots.
Chris Neil did exactly what he's paid to do tonight. He fought Nick Tarnasky early to give his team momentum, and he added both a goal and two assists on the night as well. That's right, Neil had himself a "Gordie Howe Hat-trick" tonight by the halfway point of the second period, but he had Keith Ballard to thank on the goal:
Thanks to Jeff Sullivan for the gifs.
Pascal Leclaire nabbed his first win of 2010 (yes, it's been that long) in fine style. He made 32 saves on the night, including a number of big ones that kept the Senators perfect during their six minutes killing penalties. It has to be a huge confidence boost for Leclaire and the rest of the team, knowing that if Elliott falters, Leclaire can step in and play well.
Sens Zeroes: Andy Sutton
It's not that Sutton had a poor game overall, because he had an average game and actually finished +2. The problem I have with Sutton tonight was his lack of discipline -- he took two back-to-back penalties early in the second period that could easily have swung momentum back to the Florida Panthers. The Senators managed to kill both with brave shotblocking and some sharp netminding from Pascal Leclaire.