The Ottawa Sun front page this morning has a picture from last night’s game with one word on it that says it all: Yay! The Ottawa Senators beat the Carolina Hurricane 3-2 last night and while the game was inconsistent and sometimes downright strange, it felt good to get a win.
The Carolina Hurricane are coming off 6 days worth of rest after travelling to Europe for two games where they took the Minnesota Wild, so it’s understandable that they might look a little shaky. Shaky doesn’t even begin to describe, though, the constant collisions, stick losses and pucks that wound up in skates for the first period. It was a clumsy game and the first period would have been a total snorefest if not for the sudden removal of injury-prone Leclaire 2 and a half minutes into the game, and the odd bounce goal from Fisher that looked like it easily could have been Neil.
The first period was a total write off. Leclaire will also likely be a write off too, not because he’s not a good goaltender, but we all know that he’s just unlucky. He gets it in practice, he gets hit on the bench, and now a lower body injury may sideline him further in what started off as a promising new beginning. Elliott came in quickly to the rescue and wasn’t truly tested by Carolina’s offense until well into the second period.
Lucky for him that most of the Carolina squad looked absent. Eric Cole put in a pretty consistent effort in throughout the game, and Captain Eric Staal didn’t even get his legs going until the third, when he packed away a goal and an assist within minutes of each other.
Mike Fisher had a breakout game with 2 goals, although the first was one of those odd garbage goals that was hard to see and the second was a beauty of a hard shot. Michalek also put one away in a pretty solid performance and there were some good assists from Nick Foligno and Ryan Shannon.
Chris Kelly showed off some nifty little moves, but couldn’t capitalize on the night. After a good run in the pre-season and a bit of showing off on the ice, it might be the year to pay attention to Kelly. Peter Regin also had some great chances, showing a little bit of what we saw in last year’s playoff run against the Pittsburgh Penguins that impressed.
Falling short of expectations? Spezza and Alfredsson both picked up assists on the night, but in general, their performance was lacking. Some noticeable mistakes, such as bad turnovers and passes to nobody, are familiar and need to be addressed. It’s fair to say that Ottawa expects a lot from these two top forwards, and some of it may be unfair, but they clean up their game.
Erik Karlsson may be an enigma to some, but really, he’s an inexperienced young kid with a lot of talent who needs more guidance. He needs more ice time with Gonchar to make him better. Their mix of speed and patience bring a lot more to the team, and people shouldn’t be so quick to criticize. He makes some brilliant plays and he makes some dumb mistakes; but that’s all part of the growing experience. He does have to look before he chips, though, because his turnovers could be dangerous.
All in all, a win is a win and we’ll take it. The scrappy play of Ottawa’s younger lines and good performances from Elliott could spell out a good season. With Leclaire’s lower body injury, Elliott may be on track for another 50 games this season. The report from Binghampton is that Mike Brodeur has a concussion and Robin Lehner may join the squad for backup as early as Saturday’s game against Montreal. Cory Clouston is going to have another year of adapting- adapting to injuries, odd luck and line changes. Adaptation in sport, like in life, makes winners and losers- let’s hope that our team adapts well.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.