The Ottawa Senators got a balanced team effort Wednesday night, as they defeated the Montreal Canadiens by a 5-1 score. After finding out Thursday that star forward Jason Spezza will need back surgery and will miss significant time, the strong team win the night before took on added importance.
Craig Anderson continued his stellar play in net, turning aside 31 shots for his fifth win of the season. Jim O’Brien scored his third goal of the season in a penalty-filled first period before the offense really kicked things up in the second frame. A healthy Daniel Alfredsson got his first goal of the season on the power play, then youngster Mika Zibanejad got his first NHL goal minutes later, also on the power play. A goal from Chris Phillips, his second of the season, gave the Sens a 4-1 advantage heading into the third. Longtime Senators tough guy Chris Neil got his second goal of the season in the third period, and the defense held strong to preserve the win. Montreal managed just one power play goal in six opportunities, and seeing scoring from their stars and role players alike may already have fans in Ottawa dreaming about the postseason.
Ottawa’s defense had a goal and three assists on the evening, as Phillips, Erik Karlsson, Erik Condra and Patrick Wiercioch all contributing offensively. As Sergei Gonchar continues to miss time with a foot injury, the youngsters will be counted on even more in the near future. The Senators may have five wins on the season, but this one may be the most important yet, as it showed what a balanced effort can do against a division rival.