BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 13: Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres hangs his head as the Ottawa Senators celebrate a first period goal during their NHL game at First Niagara Center on December 13, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Dave Sandford Getty Images)
The Ottawa Senators decided to end their three game slide with a 3-2 overtime win in upstate New York against the Buffalo Sabres.
Ottawa got off to a great start very early. After a great play in the neutral zone, Jason Spezza made an even better pass to Milan Michalek for his 19th of the season. The Sens continued to outplay the Sabres for most of the first period, and then a familiar story played out. With six minutes remaining in the frame, a proverbial clustertruck occurred between Nick Foligno, Erik Karlsson and Chris Phillips that lead to Paul Szczechura's game-tying goal. Not longer than a minute later, the Sens were looking at a 2-1 deficit after a David Rundblad error led to a Tyler Ennis goal. So, despite outshooting Buffalo 13-12 in the first, the Sens went into the intermission 2-1.
The second period was back and forth but the major event to note was a collision between Erik Karlsson and Milan Michalek. While initially Karlsson seemed to be worse for wear, he stayed in the game, but Michalek was the player that wasn't seen for the rest of the game. He left with what's being called an upper body injury. Colin Greening had the two best chances of the period, shooting the puck off the post on a clear break, and nearly squeaking a puck under Miller on the power play. Greening had 6 (SIX) shots on goal in the period. Shots at the end of the second were 29-23 in favour of the Sens.
The first ten minutes of the third was all Senators as they pressed hard for the equalizing goal. They got it nine minutes into the third when Brian Lee made a great play and Peter Regin fired an absolute BOMB with Nick Foligno screening in front to tie the game 2-2. With what is becoming a trend when the Sens play this season, overtime was needed. End of the third period, Sens had a 42-29 advantage in shots.
As was well deserved, Sens got the win with Jared Cowen converting a great Karlsson feed in overtime.
After the jump we look at Sens Heros, Zeros and a terrible Killer
Sens Hero: Jared Cowen: Very quietly, Jared Cowen is having a great rookie season. He played 26:04 tonight and looks very good next to Erik Karlsson. They look like a pairing that can really handle big minutes. Did Cowen have a few instances tonight where he looked like a rookie? Yes, yes he did. He also scored the game winner and finished +1. Hero.
Sens Hero: Colin Greening: Hey did I mention Colin Greening is from Newfoundland? Or that he had 6 shots in the second period tonight? Or that he punched Christian Erhoff's face to a pulp, and had an assist? Hero.
Honourable Mention: Peter Regin: Scored a beauty tonight and is looking more and more like the player the Sens need on the second line.
Honourable Mention: Erik Karlsson: Pretty standard Erik Karlsson game tonight. Beauty play on the game winner, and 4 shots on goal +1. He also however, took out the Senators top goal scorer.
Sens Uh-Oh: Milo: As mentioned above, Milan Michalek left the game and didn't return. This is bad considering he now has 19 goals and has been generally quite awesome this season.
Sens Zero: David Rundblad: Tough game for the other rookie D-Man tonight. He had a bad turnover on the second Sabres goal. He was -1, only 12 minutes of playing time. When the Kuba and Gonchar get healthy, I'd like to see Rundblad have a chance to maybe go down and play in the AHL.
Sens Killer: Turnovers: Not much to say here, without two turnovers and huge breakdowns defensively, Sens walk out of the game with an easier two points.