It was a much more positive game tonight for the Ottawa Senators. Better efforts at the offensive and defensive ends of the rink couple with very disciplined play set the tone for a 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
It'll come as a big shock to many — or not — that Craig Anderson and Erik Karlsson set the tone for the Sens tonight. Anderson stood tall in the back, turning aside 42 shots from the Sabres en route to his second shutout of the year. Karlsson drove play forward once again and scored the game winning goal — a shorthanded one at that — in 27 minutes of ice time. Erik Condra provided the dagger with strong play around Buffalo's crease.
Mucking it up in those parts of the rink had been the theme of practice all week for Head Coach Paul MacLean. As a team that doesn't have a plethora of puck carriers and flair up front, they're going to have to manufacture their offence by scoring on second and third opportunities. The message was definitely received — though there is certainly room to improve in that facet of the game — as both the Karlsson and Condra goals came with red shirts in tight against Ryan Miller.
The power play put a bit of a damper on the evening as it went 0-for-8 but, as Coach MacLean pointed out, the team generated plenty of opportunity with the man advantage, the puck simply didn't find the back of the net. So long as the process is there, the unit should click soon.
Here's a Twitter rundown of MacLean's comments:
For those of you who are more audio inclined, you can listen to Coach MacLean's full post-game press conference here on this page.