OTTAWA, CANADA - FEBRUARY 4: Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs scores a first period goal against Craig Anderson #41 of the Ottawa Senators during an NHL game at Scotiabank Place on February 4, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
But it was all downhill from there.
The Toronto Maple Leafs made the most of their scoring chances, while Ottawa--despite lots of shots--didn't have many scoring chances, and those that they had were stopped by Reimer. Five different Leafs scored on Craig Anderson, and the game finished with a 5-0 score. It wasn't pretty. Add it to the list of memorable blowouts.
Sens Killer: Phil Kessel
Same shit, different day. Once again, Kessel lit the Senators up like a Christmas tree, finishing the game with a goal and two assists--both assists terrific passes without which no offence would have been created. His speed, his shot, and (tonight anyway) his playmaking looked most of Ottawa's defencemen look downright foolish tonight. He now has 9P (4G, 5A) in 5GP against the Sens so far this season.
Sens Killer: James Reimer
Reimer stopped all 49 shots he faced. He was positionally sound, remaining square to every shooter, and basically slurping up every shot to prevent rebound opportunities for the Senators. It was his second straight shutout, and he looks like he's a second-half performer.
Sens Killers: Slow defencemen
- Jared Cowen: He's really taken some steps back from his early-season play, but the bright side is that there's little chance he's forgotten everything. He might need to sit in the press box for a game to be reminded of what brings him success, but he'll rebound.
- Sergei Gonchar: Looked slow tonight. Very slow. He doesn't have the footspeed to play a team-high 24:53 against a speedy team like the Leafs.
- Matt Carkner: See above, although Carkner was minus-2 in just 12:52 TOI. For Kessel's goal, Carkner was aware of the speed--but that awareness forced him to back right up to avoid getting left in the dust, instead offering a perfect screen against Anderson. It was an admirable shot-block, but he wasn't fast enough after that.
- Dion Phaneuf: A goal, a couple hits, a couple shots, a lot of good defence. Basically, somebody fucking weeeeeeeeeeent, and it was Phaneuf.
Sens Hero: Daniel Alfredsson
Without question, the Sens best skater on Saturday. He had a beast of a shift to open the game, getting a decent scoring chance, and didn't slow down from there. Unfortunately, he didn't have the support needed to break through the Leafs' stonewall.
Honourable Mention: Erik Karlsson
Karlsson followed Alfie's lead as much as was possible, and managed to finish the game even while playing 23:59 TOI. He had four shots on net (plus another four that were blocked or went wide), and had his feet moving quickly all night long.
Honourable Mention: Jim O'Brien
He might have played less ice time than anyone else in the game, but O'Brien still stood out. It looked like he was bumped up to play with some top forwards towards the end of the game, too, which was a fitting reward for his hustle.
You don't want to watch these.