Craig Anderson looked happy to be in Ottawa when he arrived on the bench on Friday night and now Ottawa fans will look just as happy to see him here. He was the undisputed hero and player of the game against the Leafs in 1-0 shootout win for Ottawa. His first game as a Senator was not only a win, it was a shootout and the rest of the season doesn’t look half bad with Handy Andy in between the pipes.
Spezza scored the only goal of the game with a nice tight shot over Reimer’s shoulder. The goaltenders on both sides of the ice owned the game, with Reimer also making some good stops. The power plays for both teams were weak, with very few shots on goal. Both teams played a tight game, with neither one leaving a lot of room for players coming out of the neutral zone and very few long seam passes making their way through.
Foligno and Michalek both played spirited games for Ottawa, with Foligno looking a little too spirited at times. While he’s been playing hard to make an impact on this team, his undisciplined holding of the stick call on Phaneuf after getting clocked with a clean hit is an indication that he’s letting his frustration get the better of him. Indeed, it’s always a spirited affair when it comes to the Battle of Ontario. When the teams weren’t busy trading chances by cycling around back and forth on the ice, they were busy exchanging words and little pushes.
Lessard and Rosehill got into a heavyweight tilt worthy of any Friday night fight night highlight reel, which was stopped short by the refs before things could get nasty. Neil was in a few scrapes, as to be expected, and Michalek was taken into the net by Hanson, who held him down and took advantage of his position stuck in the net.
Phillips played a frustrated game with a few cringe-worthy errors. His body language in the game clearly shows some stress. It may be that he’s been feeling the pressure of a volatile environment in Ottawa, or maybe he knows that he’s getting the move. All eyes in Ottawa are fixed on the trade deadline and Murray’s cryptic promise that there will be more moves in the future. Is Phillips next? The rumour mill has been swirling around him for months.
Toronto’s plus players on the night were Reimer, Phaneuf and Schenn. Phaneuf seems to be settling into his position as Captain very nicely, particularly when he plays the aggressive game that he’s known for. Schenn has made a lot of smart moves on the ice and was a constant thorn in the side for Ottawa. Despite all of this, it was clearly a battle of goaltenders and they were both up to the task.
It was great to see Anderson get the upper hand. Ottawa has been craving a steady goaltender for awhile (some will say ever since the franchise got started), and it looks like Anderson may be the one. This was a win against the hapless Leafs, however; it will be another test when Ottawa takes on a bigger monster, like the top-ranked Philadelphia Flyers. We’ll see if Anderson is up to the task in a week from now.
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.