Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good Game

Now that was a good game. Good in that there were no outrageously bad errors; good that the Senators kept up a solid effort through 50 minutes of play; good in that Elliot was good when he had to be; good in that Elliot didn't have to be that good too often; good in that most of the action was in the Anaheim end.

Throughout the whole game I felt that the youth movement was really clicking, dominating the play and having fun with the game in a way that the team really hasn't in a long time.

Through the last 10 minutes you could see the young guys tightening up on their sticks a bit, not wanting to make "the error" that would lose the game. Even so, none of the Anaheim rushes really looked dangerous in the way the Ottawa rushes and possessions did.

Elliot bailed Smith out by preventing a break-away goal, but that was really the save of the game that he had to make.

Anaheim looked tired -- in their penalty kill, the four players were not very aggressive -- the four of them just standing around at one point waiting for Ottawa to move the puck. The Senators recognized this opportunity and to my mind get full marks for trying their best to take advantage.

This was a game where I felt that Spezza and possibly Kovalev would have been the difference that turned the close game into a blowout. While neither might have tallied directly, Anaheim would have had to put more defensive coverage on them, opening up more time and space for the rest of the guys.

Even though Hiller was far busier in goal than Elliot was, I didn't think that Hiller was really tested in the way Elliot was that one time. The Senators got the bounces, but just couldn't get the handle on the puck to make it go.

The one big note on the night for me: Michalek appears to have some of his speed back. While some of the youngsters are showing a bit more jump these days, Michalek's effort tonight reminds me of some of his games from last year, where he just seemed to be on fast-forward all night. Great to see. Sure hope it doesn't mean a knee injury is imminent.

But overall, I came away from this game feeling entertained. While a win would have been frosting on the night, lets not forget that the effort and skill put into this game from the Senators show that there is a base of potential in this group yet. Probably not enough to salvage this season (or at least, lets hope not). But there is potential in the future.

That's probably why I keep coming back.