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Sens Steal Some Sunshine

Posted By Mika Oehling On Mar 10 2011 @ 10:50 pm In Ottawa Senators | No Comments

The Ottawa Senators are on the ideal March road trip, stopping off for two games in a sunny state- Florida. They took the Panthers for a 2-1 win, proving that sunshine is indeed the best cure for the winter blahs. While it was a miserable grey March day with snow, rain and slush in Ottawa, the Senators were energized, with excellent play on the night from Ryan Shannon, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson.

Erik Karlsson picked up the two goals of the game, both in the third period, with a lucky shot off of Vokoun after the defense let him walk right in and then a powerplay stinger off a rebound in front. Anderson stopped 31 shots on the night and didn’t get derailed by the dancing ice girls. Ryan Shannon didn’t get any points, but he played a solid game, creating chances and making smart plays in his end. It’s clear that he’s got a new role on this team and it’s only going to get better.

This was a highly unusual game for penalties. The first period was broken up by whistle after whistle, as each side took 3 penalties for a total of 6 on the period: a full 12 minutes. A lot of them looked like nothing at all and it’s possible that officials around the league have been told to send a message to players and fans that they are indeed strict.

This message was clear when they called Francis Lessard for a 5 minute charging major on what was generally seen as a clean hockey hit near the boards. The hit in question occurred in front of the Panthers bench and while it may have been close to the same place where the Chara-Pacioretty hit occurred, this was clearly not a dirty play. In fact, the Panthers team looked so calm after the hit, you can actually see one of the players calmly closing the bench door in the slow motion replay.

It was an odd way for the refs to assert themselves and it’s clear that they’re feeling paranoid. Fans are watching the game closely in light of the incident, but come on; we don’t expect everyone to go soft overnight. Lessard is a goon, but he has kept it clean so far and has not sent anyone into the hospital. The refs are being reactive and they don’t need to be.

It was a good game for the Senators, as wins are always welcome. Anderson had a chance to show his former team where he once was a back up, that he is truly a number one goaltender and Gonchar picked up his 500th career assist off the game winning goal from Karlsson. Let’s hope that the extra vitamin C will help pump up the team for another win when they play the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night.

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