The Ottawa Senators managed to stun the Buffalo Sabres with a sudden victory overtime win 3-2 and the goal scorer Jared Cowen couldn’t look happier. The entire team was feeling it, but for one key absence: Milan Michalek. His first period goal made him the NHL’s lead goal scorer, but a collision with teammate Erik Karlsson in the second period effectively knocked him out of commission, hopefully not for long. This may yet prove to be a bittersweet victory.
The Senators played a great first period, coming out of the gate running and dictating a fast pace to the game. Two costly turnovers, though, resulted in two quick goals for the Sabres with Foligno, Karlsson and Rundblad making little errors. Rundblad did not have a great game, as his little mistakes and inexperience really showed, mostly in the form of hasty shots. It was good to see Carkner back in the lineup to give a little stability to the blue line.
The defensive cracks are impossible to ignore. While Gonchar and Kuba both made their share of silly mistakes early on in the season, their experience and patience is sorely missed. Carkner’s return has helped to stabilize things, but as evidenced by the first period, Anderson was pretty much a solo act, a rather successful one. Left to fend for himself, he was forced to take a penalty in the first period and then followed that up with some great pad saves.
On the other end of the ice, the usually formidable Ryan Miller looked shakey. The big rebounds were completely uncharacteristic of his game style and they were as big as grapefruit. He gradually settled down later in the game, but he doesn’t look like the Miller we all know in the league. Truth be told, he hasn’t really looked like himself since that Lucic hit.
With that incident in mind, it’s no wonder that the Buffalo Sabres have grown protective of their goaltender. Otherwise, Christian Erhoff wouldn’t have bothered to challenge a larger Colin Greening to a late end of game fight after Greening bumped Miller into the back of the net on a chase. This contact was probably incidental, as Greening isn’t the type of player to deliberately careen into another player, but it’s understood that Erhoff felt an obligation to his team and Greening did right to oblige him by making him bleed.
Konopka and McCormick also got in a scrimmage in the first period with McCormick seeming to get the worst of it, but the show stopper fight of the night had to be the Greening-Erhoff tilt. At $10 million a year, he can afford to take one for the team.
The stand outs for this game were Anderson, some good defensive support from Carkner, lots of effort from Foligno, and a good game for Peter Regin with his third period goal to tie the game. His killer shot from the point with ample traffic in front from his teammates is a goal that Miller will only see by watching the highlights. His shot should remind people of why he’s valuable to this team. When he’s healthy.
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.