Much like Monday afternoon in New Jersey, the Ottawa Senators were able to win an ugly one, this time in front of the home town faithful.
Andre Benoit and David Dziurzynski each scored their first goals in the National Hockey League and Craig Anderson was his usual reliable self as the Ottawa Senators kicked off a four game home stand with a big 3-1 win over the New York Islanders.
Despite being outshot 38-26, the Senators came away with two points they had to have. It has become the norm but Craig Anderson was outstanding in this one, making a number of big stops and bailing the team out on a night when they suffered far too many defensive lapses.
It really was an extremely quiet opening twenty minutes for both teams.
The Islanders had a slight edge in play (8-7 on the shot clock) but that was mostly the result of some sloppy play by the Senators. Matt Martin had a terrific chance to score the game's opening goal but chipped the puck way over an almost completely vacant net.
The start of the second wasn't much better for Ottawa as they continued to turn pucks over in all parts of the ice. The Isles had a couple good chances in the first five minutes of the period but Craig Anderson was there to bail his team out and keep the game scoreless.
Despite the sloppy start, Ottawa broke the ice in this one, ending an ugly 0/24 stretch on the power play with a rebound goal by Colin Greening. It was obviously a big goal for Greening who spent a game in the press box this past weekend. Greening was a force all night long. Not long after that Greening marker, Andre Benoit ripped a one time point shot past a screened Dipietro to give the Senators a 2-0 lead.
The goal was Andre Benoit's first in the National Hockey League.
Early in the third period, the Islanders got themselves back in the game as Ottawa was again caught running around in their own end in a sequence that ended with Travis Hamonic squeezing one underneath the arm of Anderson. The Sens were able to tighten up the rest of the way and managed to hold off the Islanders the rest of the way. David Dziurzynski notched his first in the NHL with a couple minutes left to put this one to bed.
With Erik Karlsson out of the line up, the Sens need guys to step up and play more minutes than they're used to. With that in mind, you had to like the play of Marc Methot tonight. Obviously a completely different player but he is really giving the Sens quality minutes (24:02 to lead all Sens skaters) and I thought this was one of his best games in a Senators uniform.
Eric Gryba was also impressive, logging 20:18 of ice time and picking up second star honours in the building.
And as is so often the case, I was impressed by the game of Daniel Alfredsson tonight. He had a ton of jump, picked up an assist and logged 19:05 of ice time. Exactly the kind of effort we've come to expect from the Captain.
Ottawa continues the four game home stand on Thursday night when they host the New York Rangers.