Now that is a terrible headline.
Going into Saturday night's neutral-site game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Ottawa Senators had only one win in their previous six games and desperately needed a victory to get back on track. Fortunately for them, the Maple Leafs were ripe for the picking. Toronto put forth a very weak effort and the Senators, who didn't play fantastically, were still able to take advantage of the situation and put together a 3-0 victory. The Senators now move to within two points of the Atlanta Thrashers for 8th in the Eastern Conference and one win away from a .500 record.
On to the recap...
Sens Heroes: Milan Michalek, Alex Kovalev, Mike Fisher
Easily the Senators' best line tonight. the trio combined for all of Ottawa's goals and were the only three players to register points tonight. Michalek tallied two assists, Kovalev had a goal and two assists, and Mike Fisher scored two goals 6:06 apart and added assist as well. Fisher's goals - particularly the first one - were beauties. During a between-periods interview, Fisher alluded to still playing through an injury, making his performance tonight even more impressive. He was also 7-4 in the faceoff circle.
Sens Hero: Brian Elliott
Elliott didn't have to be fantastic, but he was good when he needed to be and made a couple of excellent saves. Truth be told, he benefitted from more than a few Maple Leafs mistakes, but Elliott still put together 29 saves on 29 shots to record his second shutout of the season and eighth of his career.
Hardest-Working Senator: Jesse Winchester
Only Ryan Shannon played fewer minutes than Winchester, but that didn't stop him from putting together an excellent performance tonight. With three shots on goal and four more that were blocked or missed the net, plus three hits (all in only 12 shifts), Winchester's game tonight deserves applause, even if he didn't make an impact on the scoresheet.
Leafs Hero: Jonas Gustavsson
His save percentage may have been below .900 tonight (25 saves, 28 shots), but Gustavsson was outstanding. Aside from Phil Kessel (6 shots, 7 blocked/missed), Gustavsson may have been the only other Leaf to show up tonight. He had little to no chance on any of the Ottawa goals and was completely hung out to dry by a weak Toronto defence (I'm looking at you, Brett Lebda). By the end of the night, Gustvasson was looking visibly frustrated with the team playing in front of him, and honestly, who could blame him? An excellent performance by the Swedish goaltender that deserves recognition.
- Jason Spezza directed 5 shots towards the net, but missed the net on 4 of them. Spezza also went 7-4 in the faceoff dot, same as Fisher.
- Filip Kuba blocked 5 shots tonight.
- Chris Kelly (5-6) and Nick Foligno (0-1) were the only Senators below 50% in the faceoff circle.
- Jonas Gustavsson was credited with two giveaways.
- Mike Fisher's three points gave him 11 on the season, or one more than Ilya Kovalchuk.
What We Learned: Pierre LeBrun on the Hockey Night in Canada hot stove revealed tonight that Bryan Murray had recently sent a memo out to every other GM in the NHL letting them know Brian Lee was available. General consensus among Senators fans was "he only sent one out recently?" Murray has reportedly been trying to make a trade, but Lee hasn't garnered any interest. Nick Foligno is apparently who other GMs are interested in.