On a night where the NHL announced the league would switch to a new four conference format, the Sens welcomed their expansion cousins and new conference rival with a comeback win at Scotiabank Place.
Tonight's 4-2 win pulls the Sens back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture with a 13-11-3 record.
With the Tampa Bay Lightning leading 2-1 in the third, the stage was set for yet another furious third period charge from the Ottawa Senators. This time it was the Captain, Daniel Alfredsson that ripped one past Dwayne Roloson to tie the game at 2-2.
Great to see Alfie get back on the scoreboard in this one. He has struggled a little bit since coming back from a concussion earlier this season but looked like his usual self tonight. I have to take partial credit for Alfie's outing as for the first time this season, I dusted off the old #11 jersey and wore it to the game.
Clearly the Captain was inspired.
Later in the third, a line of Alfie, Jesse Winchester and Nick Foligno teamed up for what wound up being the game winning goal. The quick hands of Foligno beat Roloson to the post and tucked in a goal that put the Sens up 3-2. Zack Smith scored a beauty, his second of the night, that put the Bolts away for good.
For the second straight outing, the Sens got extremely solid goaltending from Criag Anderson. Andy stopped 31 of 33 Tampa Bay shots and was named the game's first star. It was actually a heads up play that earned Anderson an assist and led to the game tying goal from Alfredsson.
MacLean paired Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen again tonight and the two looked extremely comfortable together. The highlights will show you a miscue that led to the Martin St. Louis goal but I thought Karlsson was solid in his 26:22 of ice time. Along with Cowen (24:35), they played the majority of the night against the Bolts top line of St. Louis, Stamkos and Downie and looked quite comfortable doing so.
The Sens continue the run on home ice on Wednesday night when they welcome Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capital to town.
All the buzz in NHL circles is about the new alignment that was approved by the NHL Board of Governors. The Ottawa Senators will stay with the same Northeast teams but will be joined by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. Each team plays each team outside their conference twice per year, once at home and on the road. Then within the conference, teams would play each other six times which includes three home, three away. Here is how the the new alignment shakes out.