Last night’s victory 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres was a team effort, but the night belonged to Ottawa’s Captain Daniel Alfredsson, who showed that he is still an elite player and nobody can deny it. Racking up a hat trick on the night, Alfie reached a milestone 1000 career points, becoming only the 75th player in NHL history with this magic number. Alfie is now a part of history, and anything else that he gets from here on in is just gravy.
The Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres are familiar foes and both of them badly needed a win. The Senators coming off the worst start of the season and sitting in last place badly needed a victory to restore confidence in the team and evade trade talks with Minnesota. The Sabres, who were off to a shakey start and looking to finally clinch a win at home were feeling the pressure of the so-called home team advantage.
The nerves showed up early in the game for the Sabres, as they played a jittery game, causing lots of bad turnovers and making little mistakes in their own zone. The Sens capitalized on all of these occasions, creating great pressure in the Buffalo zone and causing Miller to play a surprisingly aggressive game, one that he was probably not comfortable with himself. It was clear that Miller didn’t have confidence in his defense and they gave him little reason to be.
The Sabres tried to compensate for their sloppy play with some rough stuff of their own, with Vanek taking Ruutu face down in the glass from behind and Kaleta delivering a brutal, one-minded blindside hit to Winchester, who was already wearing a protective face mask from a previous game injury which required over 30 stitches to the chin.
The Sabres made sure that the Senators would be hurting in this game, but they’re doing a far amount of hurting themselves with Jason Pominville out with a concussion and Rivet’s shoulder acting up after a tap into the boards in the 3rd period. Buffalo’s hero on the night was Tim Connolly, scoring both goals for the team, with a quick release that seemed to stun Elliott.
But Connolly’s heroics could not match the Ottawa Captain, who put in a clever tip in front of Miller for his first, a beauty of a shot for his second and an empty netter for his third, proving that he’s still as sharp as ever on the ice. The night belonged to Alfredsson and the Senators and it must have been one frustrating night for Miller.
A few odd notes on the game for the Senators: Jason Spezza is out with a groin injury and didn’t play. Brian Lee was given a few shifts as a forward in this game to compensate, a move that seemed to neither hurt nor aid the Senators. Kovalev’s ice time was cut to a few shifts, in some of which he made some pretty big errors. Shannon was also sharp on the night, along with some solid play by the veteran Phillips, who even sacrificed his body to block a shot late in the third to protect Ottawa’s lead. And David Hale debuted last night with the team, and it sure was nice to see a big body presence on the ice.
The Senators seemed to have lost some of the attitude and come out to play as a team. Punishing skates, bad press and the looming threat of trade talks seems to have awakened this team. They were aggressive but smart in their game and provided better support to each other on the ice; their man-on-man defense has also improved. Let’s hope that this team stays awake now; they have a lot more ahead of them.
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.