"Come on, guys. 39 shots? Seriously?"
Our first regular season glimpse at the new edition of the Ottawa Senators was pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a young, inexperienced team: speed, effort, and a rollercoster game with more mistakes than you can count. Oh well. You have to start somewhere, right?
The Senators came out as the stronger team in the first period, spending plenty of time in Detroit's zone and creating turnovers all over the ice. Unfortunately, it was the Wings who struck first, with Todd Bertuzzi taking advantage of a bad line change (and an unaware Sergei Gonchar) to get a breakaway goal.
Unfortunately, things kind of fell apart in the second period. The Wings put 3 goals on the board during the second period, all of them created by bad turnovers by the Senators' defensemen. The Senators were constantly hemmed into their own end during the second, and just unable to create any real moment.
The Senators looked a bit sluggish to start the third, allowing a lucky Ian White goal from the point that made it 5-0. It looked like it was completely over at that point (and let's face it, it was), but the Senators fought back and made it respectable. Jason Spezza took a shot that took a strange bounce off of Milan Michalek to make it a 5-1 game, and then Spezza undressed the Red Wings' penalty killers a few minutes later and fed Michalek for the prettiest goal of the night. Filip Kuba (!!!) added a goal with just under 2 minutes left to bring the game within two, but that was as close as the Senators would come.
Sens Hero: Milan Michalek
Michalek was in fine form tonight, leading the team with 6 shots and potting two goals because of it. His speed looked to be back tonight, and he looked stronger on the puck than he did last season. Let's hope this game is a sign of how he's going to play all season. Each member of the Michalek-Spezza-Filatov line was a +1 on the night. Every other Senator was a minus.
Sens Hero: Jason Spezza
Sure, Michalek got both of the team's goals, but both belonged as much, if not more, to Spezza. The first goal was a Spezza shot that took a strange bounce off Michalek, while the second one involved Spezza making a fool out of everyone on Detroit before feeding a wide open Michalek (who made a nice deke to get it past Howard). If you missed the game, watch it now:
Sens Killer: Turnovers/Defense
The Senators made far too many defensive-zone turnovers, which is what killed them in the second period. Every single defender on the Senators' blueline made at least one defensive zone giveaway during the game, and many came back to haunt the team. No defender played particularly well, but Erik Karlsson had an especially disappointing game. The Senators ultimately gave up 39 shots on goal. Poor Craig Anderson.
Secondary assists are points too!
Mika Zibanejad had his first NHL point with a secondary assist on the Kuba goal, while Filatov had one on the first Michalek goal.
What about the Captain?
Alfredsson's stat-line should be ignored today. Yes, he was a team-worst -3. However, he had a great game tonight, showing speed and strength that we haven't seen from him in quite some time.
Stephane Da Costa's promotion
Mika Zibanejad started the game on the second line, but he was replaced in the second period by Stephane Da Costa. The reason? Da Costa was arguably the Senators' best player in the first two periods. He always seemed to be in the right place, he managed to steal the puck with incredible frequency, and he had some dazzling passes that Chris Neil simply couldn't capitalize on.