It has been a long time since the Battle of Ontario actually had much significance in the standings but that was definitely the case tonight.
The Sens rode a stellar performance by Craig Anderson, got a game winner from Kyle Turris and picked up a huge 3-2 victory at the ACC. With the win, Ottawa is now 9 points clear of the Leafs in the Eastern Conference standings.
Craig Anderson has been sharp for the Senators on their recent run but for the second straight game, the first shot found its way to the back of the net. Gotta love the response by Anderson though as he played lights out the rest of the way.
With the first period winding down and not much going right for the Sens, MacLean shuffled the deck and put Michalek on a line with Turris and Alfredsson. The move paid off in a hurry as Alfredsson's 15th goal of the season beat Reimer and gave the Sens life to close out the opening frame.
The Sens were sloppy in the first and did not look much better in the second. If not for some big stops by Craig Anderson, this game could have turned ugly in a hurry. A garbage goal credited to Jason Spezza tied the game up heading into the final period.
Kyle Turris is new to the Battle of Ontario but he made himself right at home in the third period, ripping a snap shot that beat a stunned James Reimer, giving the Sens a lead they would not relinquish.
Considering how bad they looked against the Jets, this was a fantastic response from Paul MacLean's group. The Sens now have 58 points, giving them a nine point cushion over the 9th place Leafs.
Next up for the Ottawa Senators is a four game West Coast swing leading up to the NHL All Star Game. The Sens take on the Sharks on Thursday night.
- In the second period, Nick Foligno caught Leaf Captain Dion Phaneuf with a hip check that sent the league's most overrated player flying through the air. In the aftermath, some were discussing the possibility of a suspension but to me it looked like he made contact with the thigh rather than Phaneuf's knees. To add to Foligno's defence, it looked like Phaneuf was guilty of trying to jump over the hit, making it look much worse than it actually was. The two settled the score in a spirited tilt later in the second period.
- Keep booing him Leafs fans, doesn't seem to bother him one bit. Alfredsson picked up a goal and an assist in just under 19 minutes of ice time. Would expect MacLean to go back to the trio of Michalek-Turris-Alfredsson on Thursday.