Three goal outburst in the second period gives Senators 5-1 win over Canadiens
The Senators scored three goals in under four minutes in the second period to help lead them to a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
The Senators once again allowed the first goal of the game, with Tomas Plekanec grabbing his own rebound for a powerplay goal early in the first period. The Senators responded just over two minutes later when an Erik Karlsson point shot turned into a scramble in front of the net and Jim O'Brien poked the puck behind Peter Budaj. The goal was O'Brien's third on the season, making him tied with Erik Karlsson for second on the Senators in goals. Yes, you read that correctly.
The Senators had a powerplay early in the second period to give them a chance to gain the lead, but the best they could muster was a puck off the post on a Karlsson rush. A few minutes later, Daniel Alfredsson rang one off both the post and the crossbar, which would have been a tough pill to swallow if his line didn't draw Ryan White into taking a double minor penalty: two minutes for roughing and two for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Within seconds of the first powerplay, the puck returned to Alfredsson's stick and he made no mistake this time, giving the Sens a 2-1 lead. Due to the double minor, the Senators still had the powerplay, and just under two minutes later Mika Zibanejad blasted a slapshot off of Alexei Yemelin to get his first NHL goal. Not quite satisfied, Chris Phillips decided to skate in during a scramble in front of the net and, from within the hashmarks, put all his weight behind a slapshot that found its way into the net.
It was three goals in 3:35 for the Senators, and it pretty much sealed the fate of the Canadiens. Sure, the Habs managed 13 shots to the Senators' 5 in the third frame, but they somehow came out of the period giving up the only goal, as Chris Neil slammed the fifth of the night in for Ottawa.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
It's getting redundant to name Craig Anderson the hero every night, but it's been true in every game he started. Tonight he made 31 saves, including an incredible cross-crease pad save on Brandon Prust to keep a 4-1 score. Then, to one up himself, he made an even better save on Brandon Prust by stopping a sure goal with the swipe of a paddle. Anderson is playing lights out, and it is incredible to watch.
Sens Hero: Andre Benoit
Benoit, the 29 year-old referred to as one of the Senators' "young defenseman" by the TSN commentators, had an outstanding night. His stat-line: 2 assists, +1, 2 shots, 1 hit, 5 blocked shots, no giveaways, 1 takeaway and 19:25 ice time. Great to see him step up in the absence of Sergei Gonchar. Speaking of which...
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
Like Anderson, you've seen this name here before. Karlsson may have had an unimpressive point total for his standards -- a single assist -- but he was the engine driving the Senators tonight. The proof? The man played 29:32 during the game, nearly seven minutes more than his nearest teammate (Marc Methot with 22:54). It seems like a bit of a waste to give him 9:53 of icetime in the third period when, as Travis Yost noted, the Senators had a three goal lead throughout.
Honourable Mention: Mika Zibanejad
Playing a team low 9:15, it's hard to give Zibanejad full hero honours. Nevertheless, everyone's favourite Finnish-Iranian Swede looked terrific out there, hustling hard on the forecheck and scoring his first NHL goal on the powerplay.