That was satisfying wasn't it? It wasn't the highest quality game you will see, but a win in Toronto is always greatly enjoyable. Add that I was sitting within 20 feet of Gordie Howe all night and that I was possibly shown on CBC, it was a great night. For those wondering, there was no beer splashed on me!
The first period was really uneventful for the majority of the time. Ottawa didn't get a shot on goal until 13 minutes into the game, and Toronto only had four shots at the time. It was closing in on a scoreless period before Tyler Bozak scored on a shot that I didn't understand how it beat Craig Anderson. Near the end of the period, there was a scrum near the Toronto net and it ended with Stéphane Da Costa receiving the only penalty, a roughing call. Shots were 8-4 Toronto after the first period.
The Senators killed off the Da Costa penalty and started to play a little bit better in the second period. Ottawa was about to receive their first power play of the game, but on the delayed penalty, Sergei Gonchar fired the puck into an open net for his second goal in as many nights. Ottawa sure seems to score frequently with the goalie pulled. Just 46 seconds after the equaliser, Brian Lee was penalised for interference, but Ottawa would kill that off as well. The Senators would finally receive their first power play of the night when Bobby Butler drew a hooking call, and then two seconds later Nick Foligno was hit with a high stick, drawing a four-minute double-minor. With a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a full two minutes seemingly dwindling away, Erik Karlsson sprung Foligno in alone and he put the Senators ahead for the first time on the night. I have to say, how does a team allow a player in alone from the blue line in, while down 3-on-5?
Just 48 seconds into the third, Zack Smith eased my nerves with a beautiful shot while on a 2-on-1 with Erik Karlsson. Karlsson really seems to be joining a lot of odd-man rushes recently. The Leafs received two more power plays, but couldn't seem to get anything going on them. The crowd was getting on Toronto and Ottawa was cruising towards an easy finish. It wasn't to be though. Joffrey Lupul banked the puck off either Craig Anderson or Erik Karlsson after a mad scramble and reignited the crowd, setting up a nervous finish. Thankfully, Nick Foligno iced the game with an empty netter in the last minute. Clarke MacArthur made it a 5-2 game when his attempted pass from the Ottawa zone eluded everyone and found its way into the net. The goal was originally given to Chris Phillips and I had a Chris Phillips own-goal joke ready to go. However, since then, the goal has been given to Milan Michalek.
More after the jump.
Sens Hero: Sergei Gonchar
Gonchar scored the goal on the delayed penalty that got the Senators back into the game. After not scoring in his first 15 games, he has now scored on back-to-back nights. He was also solid in his own end, shutting down the Grabovski-Kulemin-MacArthur line along with Chris Phillips. He finished with 23:50 of ice time and was a +3 thanks to the two empty net goals.
Sens Hero: Chris Phillips
As mentioned, Phillips was solid defensively with Gonchar. He had five hits, five blocked shots and saved a goal in the first period. He did take two penalties in the third period though, but I'll give him a hero anyway.
Sens Hero: Nick Foligno
Foligno scored a beautiful goal to put the Senators up 2-1 and then iced the game with his empty netter. Those were his only two shots of the game, but he made them count. Foligno's six goals are tied for second on the team with Jason Spezza.
Sens Hero: Penalty killers
Toronto didn't score in any of their five power play chances. Ottawa now has only allowed 1 goal in their last 22 penalty kills. In fact, in 10 minutes of power play time, the Leafs only totalled six shots.
Honourable mentions: Filip Kuba and Craig Anderson
Of the 10 minutes that the Senators were shorthanded, Filip Kuba played 5:39 of it. Kuba played 24:14 in total and blocked five shots. Anderson was solid tonight and was what the Senators needed. I was behind the Leafs net for two of the three periods, so I couldn't always see what he was doing, but he stopped 31 of 33 shots, though he did seem to be allowing a lot of rebounds again. All in all, he gave Ottawa a chance to win and they took it.
Dishonourable mention: Stéphane Da Costa
I didn't notice him doing anything at all tonight. He played only 7:31 tonight and had no shots. He only had one shift in the third period totalling 19 seconds and played only 1:16 over the last 40 minutes.
- Filip Kuba almost fell while waiting for a face-off in the neutral zone. It made me laugh.
- The crowd is a lot nicer in the 100-levels. It was a great view and a great building. I say this often, but I really recommend coming to a game here.
- After the 3-2 goal, Erik Karlsson was visibly angry, swinging his stick in the air in frustration. While he was on the ice for both Toronto goals, I wouldn't fault him for either one. He generally played Phil Kessel pretty well. I can't recall a single scoring chance for Kessel. Karlsson's 15th assist ranks him second in the NHL in that category, while his 16th point is tied for the lead among all defencemen.
- Milan Michalek is so hot these days, he scored a goal without even shooting it. His 11 goals are tied for second in the NHL, only one behind Kessel. That's right, Milan Michalek is one goal away from the NHL lead.
- Zack Smith had another two points. He seems to be getting a 2-on-1 in almost every game these days. I am so happy about his development.
- The Senators have trailed at some point in 17 of their 18 games, the only exception was the 3-2 shootout win in Carolina. Ottawa is tied for the league lead with four wins when trailing after the first period.