OTTAWA – It may only be two games into the season for the Ottawa Senators, but Kyle Turris is back and raring to go.
Turris scored two goals, while Jim O’Brien and Jakob Silfverberg added two more as Ottawa beat the Florida Panthers 4-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 19,952 Monday night at Scotiabank Place. Turris now has three goals in two games, while Silfverberg’s goal was the first of his NHL career.
"I feel good," Turris said. "I’ve got a lot of jump."
Craig Anderson garnered his first shutout of the season with 31 saves. It was the 20th shutout of his career.
Jose Theodore kept the Panthers in the game for the majority of the night, making 33 saves.
Both teams came into Ottawa on a high note. Florida was buoyed by their 5-1 thrashing of the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night, while the Senators went into Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon and beat the Jets, 4-1.
It was the Senators who jumped out to the early lead in the first period on the power play, after Keaton Ellerby was called for tripping at 4:41. Patrick Wiercioch fed a saucer pass from the high slot to Turris, who one-timed the shot from the half boards, beating Theodore at 10:42. Daniel Alfredsson also picked up an assist, for his first point of the season.
Wiercioch and Turris are close friends going back to their minor hockey days, and Turris admitted that having the assist come from his friend was especially nice.
"It’s pretty special," Turris said. "In minor hockey and in juniors with the Burnaby Express (of the BCHL) – the power plays with [Wiercioch] on the point, kind of getting the flow back from the old days. We laughed about it when we got back into the [locker room]."
Turris struck again in the second period at 12:07 when he skated the puck into the Florida zone, passed it off to Latendresse on the left boards and drove to the net. Latendresse then centered the puck for Turris, who tipped it past Theodore.
Former Senators forward Alexei Kovalev was booed every time he touched the puck. Kovalev, who signed with the Panthers last week, has demonstrated chemistry with rookie Jonathan Huberdeau – the two combined for six points against the Hurricanes. However, Kovalev was largely silent Monday night, registering only a single shot on goal.
Florida’s best chance in the game came late in the second, when Anderson was forced to make a nifty pad save on Tomas Kopecky after Kovalev sent him in all alone with 25 seconds left in the second.
O’Brien made the score 3-0 off a turnover from Dmitry Kulikov late in the third period, while Silfverberg flipped a wrist shot past Theodore with 64 seconds left in the game.
It was a frustrating night for the Panthers, after showing so much promise in their first win of the season. Brian Campbell acknowledged that the team has to turn things around quickly, both for themselves, and their fans.
"Hopefully we can turn this [loss] around and show our fans that we’re ready to work hard and put a good product on the ice," Campbell said. "I thought early in the game, we weren’t going north with the puck, and a lot the times you can’t be too successful if you’re too busy being cute. We’re not that type of team. We need to keep moving forward."
On the other side of the bench, Marc Methot mentioned that the Senators were lagging a bit in the second period, when their captain decided to speak up in the intermission.
"[Alfredsson] said that we were getting complacent – we couldn’t (mess) around," Methot said. "I think we rebounded really well. We definitely addressed it."
One of the biggest stories Monday night took place off the ice. A fan, seated directly behind the Ottawa bench, struck a remarkable resemblance to Paul MacLean. Social media caught fire with news of the "MacLean twins", and the media couldn’t help but ask the coach about his potential relative.
"I didn’t see him," MacLean said, chuckling. "Apparently there’s quite a resemblance. I hope he gets as much help [around town] as I do."
When Sportsnet reporter Ian Mendes mentioned to the coach that he was going to interview the fan, MacLean paused a beat, then deadpanned, "I bet he’s a better interview than me."