The Ottawa Senators netted 2 power play goals and a penalty shot last night for a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs hurt themselves by taking some bad penalties, with a couple of nasty slashes on Peter Regin and some roughing from tough customer Colton Orr. But Ottawa made them pay for every one of their mistakes and the end result was a stellar night for Ottawa’s defense and goaltending.
Brian Elliott played up to his potential last night, making some great saves at key moments in the game. His play was focused and assertive. There was nothing fancy about his game style, but Elliott has been consistently good for the Senators in Leclaire’s absence and has the potential to take over the number one spot for his quality play. Regular starts seemed to have boosted his confidence level up to the same level it was last year when he was the NHL’s star of the month.
Ottawa’s defense showed some quality offense with a goal from Sergei Gonchar, his first as a Senator and from Erik Karlsson. Aggressive defensive play by Chris Campoli was also a factor in last night’s win and he even blocked a shot in front of Elliott in the second. Ottawa’s forwards also showed some defense of their own, with some good intervention by Alfredsson at key moments, showing that he’s a team player by cycling back to help out. Ever popular at the Air Canada Centre, Alfie knows that he will be booed every time that he touches the puck, and somehow, this fact always seems to get his feet going. He was all over that game and he’s showing no signs of age.
It wasn’t all good news for the Senators last night. The last half of the second period and most of the third belonged to the Leafs. They netted both their goals in that last period after their Captain went down in a tangle with Regin on the boards. Ottawa’s play was lax in the third and they didn’t do a good enough job of protecting their lead. Spezza’s cross checking penalty was unnecessary and gave the Leafs a chance to put on the pressure when they should have had the wind knocked out of their sails.
And the goal attributed to Beauchemin had Kulemin sitting right on top of Elliott in the crease, which should have been an interference penalty (remember the Boston game and the interference called on Fisher that resulted in no goal for Alfie? This was pretty much along the same lines). Thankfully nothing came off the delay of game penalty attributed to Hale, but that was another bad call that could have buried the game.
It was a close one and a spirited affair, as the Battle of Ontario always is. And it was a game that was worth watching, unlike the snoozefest with Boston. This time, I didn’t get the urge to read a book instead.
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.