Ottawa - December 21, 2011 - The Ottawa Senators exploded for three goals in the third to break open a close game and beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1. Erik Condra scored his fifth goal of the season off a rebound of a Kyle Turris shot, eight minutes into the third period to give the Senators the lead. The Senators then followed that up with two goals 25 seconds apart late in the game to seal the game for Ottawa.
Tonight, was Kyle Turris’s debut in an Ottawa Senators uniform and he didn’t disappoint. Turris, was picked up in a trade this week from the Phoenix Coyotes for David Rundblad and a second round pick. It was a high price to pay, considering that Rundblad is young player who has the potential to be an excellent player. A puck moving defenseman he still has to work on his defensive game. However, the Senators already have a puck moving defenseman in Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar. Also, with Gonchar and Kuba coming back into the fold from injuries, there was no place for Rundblad to play so he would’ve been the odd man out.
The Senators are looking for a second line centre and they are hoping that Turris can fit that role. Turris is 6’1? and 195 pounds and at 21 is still very young. His career numbers aren’t that great. In 137 games in Phoenix, he had 19 goals and 27 assists with a minus 22 rating. Word was though that he never really got a chance to play with any proven players, playing mostly on the third and fourth lines. In Ottawa, he will get a chance to play with some quality players. Tonight, he was on a line with Nick Foligno who himself is having a good year (34games, 10goals, 10assists) and Erik Condra.
In his first game in a Senators uniform he played well. Turris defensive zone play was excellent, breaking up a couple of Sabres chances down low by covering the slot area. He continually back checked all night long, something coach Paul MacLean has been preaching to his forwards since he started here in Ottawa.
At the offensive end, he caused the turnover at the Buffalo blueline that led to the winning goal. Once he turned the puck over, he powered to the net and not only got an excellent shot off that Ryan Miller saved, but he corralled the rebound and sent the pass over to Erik Condra who scored the winning goal. Turris’s debut was a success.
The Senators power play has been dismal lately. Going into the game the Senators ranked 18th in the NHL with a success rating of 16.6% (20 for 120). To give you an idea of how the Senators power play has stunk lately, the team was ranked 1st at the 5 game mark and 2nd after 10 games. Since then they’ve slowly fallen from the upper echelon to the middle of the pack, which tells you that over the last 20 games they been near the bottom of the league. Tonight, the Senators were 1 for 3 and for the first two power play opportunities they looked lost and had a hard time maintaining pressure in the Sabres end.
On the third power play though, the controlled the puck and Daniel Alfredsson like he has so many times in his career was the difference as he feathered a pass to Erik Karlsson who had pinched on the play and was alone in the slot. Karlsson simply had to put the puck into the open net. It was a great pass by Alfie and a great read by Karlsson.
- The Senators took some bad penalties tonight. Of the four penalties they took three of them were in the offensive zone and were unnecessary. Erik Condra backed into Ryan Miller for a goaltender interference call in the first period. The faithful didn’t like it much but to be honest with you Miller was in the blue paint and Condra, unobstructed did back into him and knock him off-balance. The hooking call on Colin Greening deep in the Buffalo end was pure laziness.
- Craig Anderson was solid tonight, although the one goal he gave up was soft. Anderson wasn’t tested too much tonight, only having to make 22 saves. Of the 22 saves, I can only think of one in the first period that was tough.
- This is the Senators fourth straight solid game. The Sens outshot the Sabres 39-23 tonight and outchanced them 10-2 by my count. Ryan Miller was solid in nets for Buffalo and if it wasn’t for him the score could’ve been more lopsided.
- Next up for the Senators a home date with Florida on Thursday and then they fly to Carolina for a game Friday night before the Christmas break.