It was a long time coming. After wading their way through a gruelling seven game road trip that played with the hearts and emotions of Ottawa Senators fans everywhere, the Sens finally took to the ice in the newly minted Canadian Tire Centre.
Luckily for them, this year's home opener was against the New Jersey Devils, and they aren't very good.
The game started really well for the Senators, even if it wasn't ideal for owner Eugene Melnyk who was booed in the opening. The early going was pretty ugly, three minutes into the game and neither team had a shot. When Ottawa finally took a shot, Erik Karlsson took a nice pass from Bobby Ryan and shot it through Martin Brodeur. The future Hall of Famer did not look particularly good on the goal.
Just two minutes (and one shot) later, Ryan himself scored his 4th of this young season, with red hot Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur drawing assists on Blobby's goal. The rest of the period was rather uneventful, though the Senators looked good on their first man advantage, with Cory Conacher having a golden opportunity. The Senators also took four penalties (CLASSIC) but again, because the Devils aren't very good, the Sens were able to kill off the infractions. Mostly due to the nearly seven minutes of powerplay time, the Devils ended the period leading the Sens in shots 12-7, but Craig Anderson stood tall.
The second period saw the Senators get an early powerplay that they could not convert. The highlight of the powerplay was Erik Karlsson flying back to break up a Stephen Gionta breakaway. The star of period two was certainly Craig Anderson who looked like he had a force field behind him. Even when he made a mistake playing the puck behind the net, somehow the puck still stayed out. It is a good thing that Andy was so good in period two, because the Senators decided shooting the puck at the net isn't so fun after all. Naturally, on their 4th shot of the period, Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson went Globetrotter and set Zack Smith up for a goal at the side of the net. Sens managed to finish the period down 23-11 in shots, but up 3-0 in the game. They also took three more penalties to bring their total for the night to seven after the first two periods. Recipe for success!
Who could have guessed, that with a 5-on-3 to start the third period, the Devils would make the Senators pay? With 4 second remaining in the two man advantage Travis Zajac scored his first of the season. Minutes later, with the Devils pressing, Jagr was robbed by Anderson as he was looking at a wide open net. Not to be outdone by a legend, Erik Condra reminded everyone in the building that HE is the king of missing an open net as he had a great chance and shot wide.
After year another defensive zone draw, Steve Bernier cut the Senators lead to just a single goal. However, just in case Sens fans in the stands were getting nervous about a potential collapse, Milan Michalek blasted a puck over Brodeur's shoulder to make it 4-2 with just under five minutes left in the third.
Jason Spezza added an empty netter for his third point of the night, and Sens fans went home as happy as clams.
Stay with me for Heros, Zeros and Killers.
Sens Hero: Bobby Ryan - Good for this guy. In his home opener with his new club, he came to play. He had a goal and an assist, had a team high 3 shots on goal and was a force all night long. For a guy who was given a rough ride by some media members for not scoring eleventy billion goals in the first two games of the season, he is now off to the best start of his career with 7 points in his first 7 games.
Sens Hero: Kyle Turris - KT7 is the new hotness in Ottawa, and for good reason. Just an assist tonight, but a plus 2, solid in the faceoff circle (58%) and he drew a penalty. He led Sens forwards with 18:32 on ice. His new line with Bobby Ryan has been almost unfair.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson - When your team gets badly outshot, takes an ungodly number of penalties and manages to get the win, you've had a good night.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson - This guy. Played a team high 26:46, scored the opening goal, highlight reel assist on the Smith goal, unreal defensive plays on Gionta and Henrique, assist on Michalek goal. Just crazy to think he's still not back to normal yet.
Honourable Mention: Martin Brodeur - Ya. He was bad tonight, and that was rather helpful for the Sens.
Sens Zero: Discipline - On any other night against just about any other team, this would have been a killer. The Sens continue to parade to the sin bin, and it is not a trend that can continue if they want to improve.
The Sens are off until Saturday afternoon when they take on the Edmonton Oilers.