FIVE QUICK THOUGHTS
-Talk about a perfect time for Bobby Ryan to get his first of the season.? Ryan was pretty quiet during the season opening road trip but picked the right time to get his first of the year.? Even though the goals weren’t there for Ryan in the first few games, he was strong defensively and still an important player for this team.? With the talent he has, the goals were bound to come.
-When Reto Berra went down with an injury in the first period, this sort of seemed like a game that was gift wrapped for the Senators.? Things certainly didn’t go that way in the first period though as everything the Avalanche shot seemed to find the back of the net.? Pickard made some good stops (including one of the best I’ve ever seen live) but you sort of got the sense that if Ottawa kept putting pucks on net they would be able to get back in the game.? That’s exactly what happened in the third period.
-As long as this team is carrying 23 players, the line up decisions will remain a talking point before every game.? Chris Neil played the least of any forward last night but still found a way to have an impact on the game.? He had 6 hits and scored the empty net goal to put the game away.? I would guess he stays in the line up Saturday night while Erik Condra comes out, most likely in favour of Mike Hoffman.
-Strong effort from Curtis Lazar after watching the game in Florida from the press box.? The team has liked his play through the first few games of the season but wanted to give him a chance “to catch his breath”.? I thought last night was his best game as a pro.? He had great jump in the first period and came damn close to scoring his first goal in the National Hockey League.? Smith was given credit for the goal but with effort like Lazar put in last night, that first goal can’t be far off.
-Great crowd and great atmosphere for the home opener. It was pretty much the worst possible start as the Avs struck early and took the crowd out of the game a little bit.? But after the Legwand goal cut the lead to one, the crowd was great the rest of the way.? The CTC was absolutely rocking in the third period. Was really impressed with the new fan section led by the Red Scarf Union.? They were?loud from start to finish.? Ottawa will play their next three games at home against Columbus, Toronto and New Jersey.