I didn't get to see the Ottawa Senators' Saturday night 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, but I did get to see the in-game reaction from the best commenters in all the land, and also got to watch the highlights of the game. And it sounds like Alex Kovalev scored some overdue and perhaps lucky goals, and Jason Spezza put on in off Manny Legace's pads. Whatever the case, it's the same measure in the standings: A full, and very important, two points.
Sens heroes: Alex Kovalev, Jason Spezza, Nick Foligno
Memo to Sens fans: This is what it's like when you have to lines that can score. I'd forgotten what it was like, but now I know. Some might say Kovalev's goal weren't of the difficult variety, and he definitely benefited from his linemates' hard work, a lucky bounce, and the fact that there was no goalie. But on his first goal, he drove to the net hard against a check, potting Foligno's centring pass, and he finally shot the puck for the second.
Spezza scored his fourth of the season, but perhaps more importantly had six shots on net--a welcome change. He's a set up man, of that there is no doubt, but there's also no denying that he can shoot the puck, too. There's a balance he'll get to, between passing and shooting and defensive and offensive presence. He's just finding it now.
As for Foligno, second very strong game in a row, and he's getting the points to show for it: Another two assists tonight. On his way to those two helpers, Foligno had five shots and was rewarded with plenty of powerplay time. He's traditionally been a streaky scorer, and the benching no doubt woke him up, but hopefully he can find some measure of consistency through to the end of this season.
Silver Seven Heroes: Mark Parisi, Dany Hea-Traitor
These guys just brought it. Bomb doors open. They kept the GameThread going for the better part of the game. Anyone else who wasn't able to watch it, you can read their thoughts on the game as it happened, without the benefit of retrospect.
(Sens zeroes, Sens killers, Hopefully back on track, There when needed, In our hearts, Mysterious injury update of the night, and game highlights after the jump... )
Sens zeroes: Alex Picard
According to the in-game testament of Mark Parisi, Picard was a non-factor tonight. He was one of few Senators on the minus side of the ledger tonight, was tagged with two giveaways (but that's a pretty subjective stat, to be honest), and only had the one shot. He also brutally lost a race for the puck against Eric Staal on Carolina's second goal, let Staal pass the puck to the slot, and stood there and watched as Ray Whitney scored to tie the game. All of which might combine to be a good omen for Chris Campoli, who was scratched tonight in favour of Picard.
Sens killers: Ray Whitney
Again, Parisi said Whitney was on his game tonight, and could easily have had even more than the two goals he did score tonight. He heeled a strong chance on a 2-on-1 in the second, and had five shots and four hits before the night was out. Sounds like a strong game for one of the Hurricanes' prime deadline-day fire sale assets.
Hopefully back on track: Senators powerplay
Ottawa was a better-than-respectable 2-for-3 on the powerplay tonight, with Kovalev and Spezza each getting goals with the man advantage. Some keys, looking at the highlights: Net presence, as was the case with Milan Michalek pissing people off in front of the net for Spezza's goal, but was also noted from Nick Foligno and Mike Fisher; better puck movement at the points, including from Erik Karlsson, whose cross-ice feed to Kovalev set him up for the game-winner; and getting the puck on the net, as Ottawa had nine shots on their three powerplays.
There when needed: Brian Elliott
Elliott may wish he could get a mulligan for the goals he did allow, but his play when the Hurricanes were really getting their chances in the third period--in which he stopped all 12 shots he faced--made a strong statement for his ability to brush off weak goals and play well when the team really needs him. Highlight of that third period was a sick left-pad save on Ray Whitney, but there were a couple of other strong chances, too.
Not on the scoresheet, but still in our hearts: Chris Kelly
I'm usually one of the first people to rag on Kelly for his stone hands, but there's no doubting his value to this team as the go-to penalty killer and the anchor of Ottawa's fourth line. He had more penalty-killing time than anyone on the night, defencemen included, and is keeping it real. He does have to get his faceoff skills back up, though, although he was 5-for-10 tonight.
Mysterious injury update of the night: Alex Kovalev's previously unreported injury
In a Team 1200 post-game interview, Kovalev mentioned that--although he didn't want to blame injuries for his lacking production--he did have something nagging him that was keeping him from shooting the puck as much as he normally would. As a result, he was passing a lot more. Maybe if he's over it, we'll see an increased shot total from Kovalev (note to poolies) and the increased production that one assumes would follow from that.