USA TODAY Sports
The talk heading into Ottawa's game against the Sabres Tuesday night focused on two factors: Tyler Myers and Mika Zibanejad.
Tyler Myers had drawn back into the Sabres lineup after two nights as a healthy scratch and Mika Zibanejad, Ottawa's 19-year-old rookie, was centring the top line. However, in the end it was the same old, familiar storylines which dominated the game.
In the first period the Sens and the Sabres exchanged a couple marginal penalties. Once again, Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson looked good; the Sens were outshoot 13-7 in the first but Andy held the Sabres at bay. Ottawa's powerplay looked good at times, particularly on an Erik Karlsson rush, in which he fed Kyle Turris, only to have the chance turned aside. The top line experiment resulted in one good chance for struggling winger Milan Michalek; however, the Sens ended the period needing to generate some offense.
The second period began where the first period ended: alternating chances and penalties. Things got more exciting midway through the frame when Robyn Regehr took a two minute boarding penalty for a hit on Daniel Alfredsson which seemed to wake the Sens up. While they didn't convert on the ensuing powerplay, the Sens did have chances. The best? The captain missed a wide-open net on a slick feed from Erik Karlsson. Karlsson broke Ottawa's scoreless run with the first shorthanded goal of his career on a slap shot that beat Ryan Miller. Then it was time for the other Erik. Erik Condra had probably his best period of the season in the second: strong overall play was matched with some slick passing. After setting up a teammate for a great chance in front of the net failed, Condra decided to do it himself and scored his second of the season. Again, Craig Anderson played well, making a big stop on Cody Hodgson to keep the Sabres off the board as the period came to a close.
The officiating continued to be tight in the third with each side exchanging a trio of penalties. Ottawa's PK managed to withstand the barrage, including a 5-on-3, but Buffalo's PK was equal to the task. Ottawa's best opportunity of the period came off a Kyle Turris feed to Jakob Silfverberg in the slot, but the rookie was denied by Ryan Miller. Buffalo's too many men penalty in the final minute of play sealed the victory for the Sens.
In the spotlight, Michalek had a somewhat better game: a chance in the first and solid PK play (including an assist). Kyle Turris had a strong third period. But ultimately and predictably, this was the Erik and Andy show, as it often will be this season. Ottawa wins 2-0. Shots 42-31 in favour of Buffalo.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
What more is there to say about Andy? Another typical Anderson game: timely stops, 42 saves, and another shutout.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
Over 27 minutes of ice time (including more than nine on the PP), his first career shorthanded goal, nine shots on goal total. He just keeps getting better. The best player every night, Karlsson stepped up his game in the second to try and break the deadlock and he did just that. How did he end his night? Streaking down the wing firing a blast off the crossbar, narrowly denied his second on the night.
Sens Hero: Erik Condra
As much fun as many Sens fans have making fun of Condra's ability in the slot, he always plays a solid possession game. But tonight he brought it offensively, trying to set up his teammates and chipping in with the crucial second goal.
Sens Friend: Tyler Myers
Healthy scratch or on the ice, it doesn't matter much these days. Myers looked slow, ineffective, and took a slashing penalty. He also put up a lot of 0s. Taken 3 spots ahead of Erik Karlsson, the 2008 Draft is as close to #65 as Myers is going to get for some time.
Shot Chart: Via ESPN