Brooks Laich capped off his 300th career game in the NHL with the game winning goal in overtime against the Ottawa Senators in Washington. It wasn’t a pretty game for either team, although they played a lively third period with a late tie, but it took awhile for both teams to get their footing. Blame the bad ice, as the rink was newly formed after an NBA game in the afternoon, but bad ice or no, there was a fair bit of flailing, falling and poor puck control on both sides.
Neuvirth looked to be the most awkward player on the ice early on, shakily moving back and forth in front of the net and at key moments, seemed to be standing still. In the first period, he stopped more goals with his body positioning rather than making actual saves. Anderson looked very solid in comparison, making alert plays and smothering the puck when he needed to.
Ottawa may have overcompensated in this game by trying to play too aggressively. They left many defensive gaps and were playing high in the other end, leaving a sole defenseman to carry the puck in. It’s a good strategy at times, but Ottawa was clearly leaving that sole defenseman stranded by skating too hard and too fast into the zone. Aggressive game play can work at key moments, but Ottawa needs to focus its aggressiveness.
Washington was doing a good job generating traffic in front of Ottawa’s net and made for a crowded crease for Anderson. He had a lot of fighting to do on the night. Ottawa’s defense didn’t do a great job of bailing him out either, scrambling to cover their men, getting caught on the boards and their line changes looked a little disorganized.
Positives for Ottawa? Their offense is their strong point, as long as they can generate enough of it. Karlsson’s killer goal from the blue line stunned Neuvirth and the Caps. Michalek’s never give up on the play game style is still paying dividends with his third period tying goal making him the 3rd top goal scorer in the NHL and that is definitely something for Ottawa fans to be proud of. Not to mention that his goal flattened Neuvirth and made him practically eat ice.
Takeaways for the team: tighten the defensive play, make strategic use of aggressive zone play at key points in the game and keep the offense rolling.
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.