The greatest tank battle of the NHL's 2010-11 season was spoiled by a few players who decided to play well, and what should have been a clusterfuddle gong show of epic proportions turned into a half-decent game from which the Ottawa Senators took a 4-1 decision over the Florida Panthers. With the win, Ottawa swept the season series against Florida by winning all four games by a 16-6 margin.
The Panthers pulled their weight in the tank battle, though, and it started early: Scott Clemmensen sent an incredible pass right to the stick of Nick Foligno, who easily put the puck in the Panthers net. That's the kind of dedication it takes to secure a lottery pick, so take note, other rebuilding teams. A couple second-period goals by Colin Greening formed a sandwich around a Michael Repik goal, and then Filip Kuba (yeah, seriously) scored his first goal in 77 games. The teams mucked through a fairly boring third period with nothing to show for it on either side, and in the end Ottawa won the game while Florida won the better position in the draft lottery (for now).
Sens Hero: Colin Greening
Greening played like a man possessed on Thursday night. His first goal was an absolute rocket of a snapshot that went straight up and over the glove of Clemmensen. His second wasn't bad either, but despite three or four opportunities to get the hat trick, he just couldn't pull it off. He had a team-high five shots as well as four hits on the night, and looked like he could end up being a very effective middle-six forward as he continues to develop.
Sens Hero: Marek Svatos
It had taken Svatos a while to get into a groove with the Senators, but he actually looks like he fits in the NHL these days. He finished the game with two assists and, although he had zero shots, had two hits on the night. Svatos looks pretty good on a line with Milan Michalek and Ryan Shannon.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
Anderson is having a hard time wrapping his head around this 'tank' thing, obviously. Still, he looks friggin' awesome, and his 37-save performance against the Panthers was just the latest in a long line of amazing games for the Senators. His goals-against average with Ottawa is below 2.00, and his save percentage is an incredible .944 in 15 games so far.
Nick Foligno, for his goal, and for playing 18:16 TOI on the game; he was close to a Hero, but slowed down in the second and third. ... Milan Michalek, for incredible short-handed scoring chances and three shots on net. ... Patrick Wiercioch, for playing by far a career-high 18:25 TOI and finishing +2 on the night. ... Brian Lee, for six blocked shots. ... David Hale, for playing over 20 minutes and just giving us solid, reliable defence. ... Filip Kuba, for his goal, three shots, two hits, and three blocked shots; statistically, it was probably his best game of the year.