Coming into last night’s contest, the Ottawa Senators were struggling to find goals without their number one centre.
That wasn’t a problem on Tuesday night though as the Sens got goals from Erik Karlsson, Chris Phillips, Daniel Alfredsson and the eventual game winner from Chris Neil as Ottawa held on for a huge 4-3 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
While Head Coach Paul MacLean can’t be happy about the way his team attempted to sit on a 4-1 lead, he’ll be thrilled to come away with the two points. The Senators stormed out to a three goal lead primarily thanks to an aggressive fore check that gave the Sabres fits and a committed effort to getting to the net.
Having Jhonas Enroth in the Sabres net certainly helped too.
Plenty to like in this game if you’re a Sens fan. First off- the awakening of Peter Regin. Regin has been quiet early in this shortened season but seemed rejuvenated playing on a line with Chris Neil and Colin Greening. It was a won draw by Regin that led to the Phillips marker and a great bit of hustle by the Dane that led to Neil’s second period goal. Safe to say we’ll see MacLean go back to that trio tomorrow night.
Really liked the game of the Captain as well. Daniel Alfredsson seemed to be all over the ice last night, and had some chemistry going with Zibanejad and Turris in what amounted to the team’s first line. Alfie logged 19:01 in ice time and was a force every time he was on the ice. His first period goal was his second of the season.
And lastly, Erik freaking Karlsson.
Praise for Karlsson is pretty standard around the league right now but last night in particular, I found myself really appreciating how lucky we are to have him on this team. Karlsson opened the scoring with his 4th of the season, effortlessly walking the line on the power play, head up, and finding an opening through traffic. All night long, Karlsson was a one man break out, picking apart the Sabres forecheck either with his foot speed or a perfectly placed outlet pass. This guy is in complete control of the pace of the game every time he is on the ice. It really is something to watch.
Now obviously there are concerns about overusing him early in the season (he played 31:26 last night) but you can see why MacLean has trouble not sending him over the boards. He never seems tired and always has that extra boost when he needs it.
Long term that ice time will need to be addressed but last night, as a paying fan, I couldn’t get enough.
The Senators are back on the ice for practice at noon today. Should have updates on the injured Sens- Gonchar, Latendresse and Lundin- at that time.
Back with more in a bit.