It's about time we saw an effort like that. The Ottawa Senators had their best effort--their best team effort--since returning from the Olympic break, and scored a 2-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens because of it. They got goal scoring from a forward, a defenceman, and good goaltending from the guy in the mask. They got what they needed, just about throughout the lineup, and they need to keep that up if they're going to maintain the points they gained on the Habs tonight.
Sens heroes: Erik Karlsson, Brian Elliott, Daniel Alfredsson, Peter Regin, Andy Sutton
Boy howdy, Karlsson's had some gems this season, but Monday was definitely his best game of the season. Good poise, patience, and passing, and he got a goal and an assist as a result. A rookie defenceman just led the Senators offence to their first win in six games. His pass to Peter Regin was terrific, and his goal was a nice little snapshot from the point. Good game for him.
The guy who stopped every shot he faced deserves some credit to. Elliott stopped all 29 shots Montreal put his way, including some very impressive saves when the Senators gave Montreal chances--which happened a little too often. Still, when the skaters made errors, Elliott was there to bail them out, a welcome change from the last few games.
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Guess who assisted on both goals tonight? The guy who has assisted on 11 of the Senators last 17 goals, and six assists in the last four games? Yeah, Alfredsson. He was quiet tonight, perhaps; quietly doing the little things he's got to do to get the team two points.
Regin woke up tonight, and scored his first point since the Olympic break. He got the message when Ryan Shannon was scratched: One of you guys was going to sit tonight, now prove it shouldn't be you next game. And he proved he's able to contribute meaningfully to the team's success by driving the net well to score his goal, and putting four shots on net.
Finally, we come to Mount Sutton. For only the second time since he joined the team, the Senators won, and Sutton was a big part of it. He had more hits (4) and blocked shots (5) than Anton Volchenkov tonight, even! And one of those hits was a huge one on Benoit Pouliot, thunderously rivalling the A-Train's series of 'welcome to the NHL' rookie initiation hits from the start of the year. Sutton's had some scary moments, and taken some very iffy penalties, but I really like the way he plays, and that he hasn't let those penalties prevent him from maintaining his physical play.
Sens zeros: None
It's tough to pick a zero when the team doesn't even allow a goal.
Sens killers: None
It's tough to pick a killer when the team doesn't even score a goal.
Sens hurters: Jaroslav Halak, Brian Gionta
Although they didn't do any killing, Halak and Gionta were strong for Montreal. Halak stopped 25 of 27 shots he faced, and made some very strong saves. Gionta had five shots on goal, and is kind of starting to look like a good signing.
Lunchpail sighting: Z. Smith
I realized something while watching Z. Smith tonight: I like what he brings to the games he plays in. So do Cory Clouston and Bryan Murray, obviously, because that's just what they called him up for. It's remarkable to think he barely played more than five minutes, because we noticed every time he was on the ice, and he had three hits in that time. I can't see him going back down to Bingo any time soon.
Two steps forward, one step back: Nick Foligno
Two penalties in the first 7:01 isn't going to help anyone, and it didn't help Foligno tonight: He only played 6:18 by the end of the game. Sort of fourth line minutes, which makes me amazed at the prospect of Z. Smith, Foligno, and Jesse Winchester as a fourth line on this team... wow... But it also makes me think Foligno's going to come out gangbusters on Tuesday, because he'll want to climb back up the lineup.