If the play of the Senators during this preseason has given you any optimism, tonight's pitiful performance for the first 45 minutes against the Boston Bruins almost certainly changed your outlook on the team. Tonight's Senators team made the pre-trade deadline 2010-11 Senators look good. It was that bad.
The Senators were outshot 20-5 in the first period. They were outshot 10-5 in the second period. The Senators somehow managed to tie the Bruins with ten shots apiece in the third period. Really, the only reason that the Bruins didn't have 4 or 5 goals going into the third is that Craig Anderson stood on his head and kept the Senators in the game.
The Bruins opened the scoring in the first period with a Milan Lucic powerplay goal, and as mentioned above, completely dominated play for the first two periods. It was only in the third period that the Senators found some life and made the game interesting. The Sens' first goal came from a great Colin Greening forecheck, where he won the puck and quickly fed a wide open Daniel Alfredsson, who wired a wristshot past Tim Thomas. A few minutes later, the Senators seemed to get a second goal after Mika Zibanejad slipped one past Thomas, but the play was waved off by the ref due to alleged goaltender interference by Greening.
The game winning goal came on a late powerplay, when David Rundblad got a lucky deflection off a Bruins defender's skate to beat Thomas.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
Anderson was the only true bright light for the Senators tonight, giving his team an opportunity to win even when they absolutely did not deserve it. He made some saves he had no business making, which is how the Senators won a game they had no business winning.
Sens Zero: the entire Senators roster for the first 45 minutes
The Senators came out entirely flat, being outshot 30-10 in the first two periods and having absolutely no puck possession. They lost just about every puck battle there was, and looked like they were playing a team completely out of their league.
Sens Killer: the entire Boston Bruins team for the first 45 minutes
The Bruins looked like Stanley Cup champions. The Senators looked like flip cup champions.
Sens Killer: Faceoffs
The Senators tied the Bruins in faceoff wins, but that's only because Jason Spezza won 70% of his draws and took the bulk of them for the Senators. Other than him, no player to take more than 2 draws was 50% or above -- Konopka and Zibanejad were tied at 43%. Zack Smith was an awful 27%.
Filatov Watch: It's been said before, but it needs to be emphasized -- the common held assumptions about Nikita Filatov are completely wrong. When he was traded to the Senators, the general impression was that he was a talented goal scorer who couldn't find the defensive zone. Instead, Filatov has yet to score a goal, but is always the first forward back across the Senators' blue line on the backcheck. Even though he needs to put the puck in the net, his effort at both ends of the rink has been exceptional.
Rundblad Watch: Unlike Filatov, Rundblad was exactly as advertised. He made a handful of questionable defensive plays (although not as bad as his earlier games), but showed good poise on the powerplay to get his first goal of the preseason off a nice feed from Sergei Gonchar. Rundblad almost had a second after he was set up for a one-timer, but he somehow missed the wide open net. His three shots were tied with Filatov for the highest on the team.
Zibanejad Watch: Zibanejad showed his great speed and effort throughout the game, and almost had his fourth goal of the preseason until it was waved off on a questionable call. He's still a bit rough around the edges, but he's been the best Senators goal scorer during the preseason, and it's sure to have earned him an NHL tryout to start the year.
Cowen Watch: Cowen played another strong game, showing his great reach when he broke up a dangerous Bruins 2-on-1 and his impressive strength with several big hits (including one that took Steve Kampfer out of the game -- hopefully he's alright). Cowen was second only to Sergei Gonchar in ice-time.
Butler Watch: Bobby Butler played just 7:15 during the game, the lowest time-on-ice for a player on either team. He recorded no shots.