The Ottawa Senators prepare for the rest of 2013 without arguably the best defenseman in all of hockey, Erik Karlsson.
It’s safe to say that their first game without him was not pretty.
Ottawa fell to another Canadian team, the Toronto Maple Leafs by a final score of 3-0 on Saturday night. They could have avoided being shutout, but captain Daniel Alfredsson hit the post on a power play opportunity with only a few minutes left to play. It seems like nothing can go right for the Senators these days.
However, despite being blanked on Saturday night, head coach Paul MacLean was pleased with his team’s efforts.
“We just didn’t have any puck luck and they did,” MacLean said. “It’s not like they scored any pretty, highlight-reel goals.
“We’re pretty pleased in how we played, just disappointed in not scoring and getting anything out of the game. But if we continue to play with the determination we did tonight, we feel we’re going to get some opportunities to get some goals.”
The Senators out-shot Toronto 34-29. 19 of those 34 shots came during a dominating second period.
Of course, Karlsson was not just a defensive presence, but provided an offensive touch that we don’t normally see from blue-liners. Last season, Karlsson won the Norris Trophy, posting a ridiculous 78 points. 14 games into the 2013 campaign, he was off to another fast start, tallying 10 points.
I’m sure it’ll be a long season for the Sens, having already lost Jason Spezza for most of the season and now Karlsson. However, Ottawa can’t make any excuses because opposing teams won’t go light on them just because they are injury-ridden. Guys will have to step up and play a much bigger role.
In other news, congrats to Maple Leafs’ goaltender Ben Scrivens, who notched his first career shutout. He has been playing very well in place of the injured James Reimer.