Lehner earns first NHL shut out as Senators beat Bruins 1-0
Playing against the Boston Bruins usually means three things: a tremendous Tim Thomas performance, a hard-hitting match-up, and a Senators loss.
One of those things didn't happen tonight, and it made for one of the most impressive Senators wins of the year.
The Senators came out of the gate strong tonight, outshooting the Bruins 13-7 in the opening frame. Late in the first, Erik Karlsson rifled home a powerplay goal thanks to a terrific Daniel Alfredsson screen. Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek assisted. It would stand as the game's only goal, and the game-winner.
Despite all of the predictions of fights to be had, no scraps actually came to fruition -- the closest being a brief moment where Shaun Thornton dropped his gloves but didn't actually fight. That's not to say that the game wasn't physical, though, because it was. Both teams traded hits, with the official tally favouring the Bruins quite heavily (28-11).
Ottawa controlled the play again in the second period, but the third period saw the Bruins take charge. They outshot the Sens 17-7 and had a number of glorious chances thanks to three straight Ottawa penalties, including one with just over two minutes left. Nevertheless, the Senators survived thanks to hard work, hustle, and a standout game from Robin Lehner.
Sens Hero: Robin Lehner
Lehner earned his first NHL shut out with a terrific performance against the Bruins, making a number of key stops against one of the best teams in the NHL. It's going to be tremendous to watch him and newly acquired Ben Bishop compete in the future -- Lehner made 32 stops on 32 shots tonight, while Bishop stopped 41 of 42 for the Binghamton Senators tonight.
Sens Killer: Tim Thomas
Thomas was his usual self again tonight, stopping several breakaways and doing everything in his power to give the Bruins a win that they probably didn't deserve on this occasion. The only shot that beat him was one that he clearly couldn't see thanks to a Daniel Alfredsson screen, but otherwise, he was flawless.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
The only goal of the game (and therefore the game winner) went to Erik Karlsson, which is only fitting given the tremendous tear he's been on. I'd tell you how many more points he has than the next closest defenseman, but I only took two semesters of post-secondary calculus and can not compute such a large figure.
Sens Zero: Erik Condra
Condra has generally been a great player in his first full year as a Senator, but tonight was probably his worst game in an Ottawa sweater. He took a needless holding the stick penalty late in the game, and he also missed two glorious chances that should have been easy goals, including an empty net opportunity where he simply missed the net from a few feet out.