FIVE QUICK THOUGHTS
-Can’t lose ’em all, as they say. Well, the Anaheim Ducks might be able to lose ’em all. Stay tuned.? The Ottawa Senators snapped their ugly eight game losing streak with a hard-fought 2-1 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks last night in a game that was probably watched by only a dedicated few.? When former-Senator Jakob Silfverberg opened the scoring about half way through the opening frame, there was an undeniable “here we go again” feeling. Give the Sens credit though.? They really didn’t seem phased by that early goal and they stuck with it. Bobby Ryan tied things up at 9:23 of the 3rd and Colin White put the game away in overtime. A win! An actual Senators win!
-Speaking of here we go again, that was definitely the feeling most fans had when Anders Nilsson let in that first period goal. He hasn’t looked overly comfortable during his brief time in Ottawa and there’s no doubt that was a goal he’d like back.? When that one beat him early, it seemed like another one of those nights.? But like the rest of the team, Nilsson stuck with it. And actually, he looked damn good through the second and third period.? That right pad stop he made late in the final frame is the reason we aren’t talking about another Sens loss this morning.? That one has to feel good for Nilsson.? His first win since way back on October 16th.
-Imagine this one feels pretty good for Bobby Ryan too. Back in his ol’ stomping grounds, Ryan scored a big third period goal and pulled the Senators even in a game where it looked like they might come up just short.? And based on his celebration after the goal, a big goal against his old team had a little extra significance.? There was some speculation Ryan might miss this game after taking a shot to the hand on Sunday afternoon against Carolina but he said it’s just pain this time. No actual damage to the hand.? Good news because Ryan is playing some of his best hockey of the year.? With last night’s goal, he now has points (2 G/4 A) in five straight games.
-Amazing how quickly Jean-Gabriel Pageau has settled in after missing the first few months of the season.? He is back in the line up a couple months earlier than expected but looks like he hasn’t missed a beat.? Scored a goal in his first game back and last night was up over 17 minutes.? While Pageau has never really been known for his offence, his return is a huge boost on the defensive side of the puck and in the faceoff circle.? He took a team-high 18 faceoffs last night, winning 78% of them.
-It’s pretty clear that poor Rudolfs Balcers hasn’t quite earned the trust of Head Coach Guy Boucher just yet.? Despite starting the game lined up beside Chris Tierney, which seems like a second to third line role, Balcers finished the game with just 6:45 of ice time, including just 55 seconds in the third period.? This is one of the things that drives people nuts about Boucher and it’s a legitimate criticism. Especially in a rebuilding year.? While I am generally okay with the idea of a young guy being eased into the line up (limited minutes, offensive zone starts, softer match-ups) it really isn’t fair to assess a player’s performance based on such a limited opportunity.? Same thing with Nick Paul. At some point, these babies need some steak.