With star players Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson sidelined with injuries, things have been a bit rough lately for the Ottawa Senators. After a 5-1-1 start in January the team has leveled off a bit, losing six of their last nine games heading into Tuesday’s match-up with the New York Islanders. Thanks to some surprising secondary scoring, including first NHL goals for two young players, the Senators were able to get past the Islanders for a much-needed win.
Craig Anderson was back in top form in net for the Senators, turning aside 37 shots in the win. Third-year winger Colin Greening scored his second goal of the season on a second period power play to give the Senators an early lead and just minutes later, rookie defenseman Andre Benoit got his first NHL goal past Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro.
The game was the 21st of Benoit’s career, and he now has four points for the season as one of the team’s defensemen who will see more minutes in Karlsson’s absence. Fellow rookie David Dziurzynski also got his first NHL goal in the third period with an assist coming from fellow rookie Eric Gryba. Both Dziurzynski and Gryba were playing in only their NHL game, so getting any production from them is a huge boost to an ailing Senators team.
In 44 games with the AHL Binghamton Senators this season, Dziurzynski had three goals and 14 assists. Gryba had five goals and 11 points for Binghamton in 38 games, while Benoit had nine goals and 25 points in 34 games. If the Senators are going to stay competitive with their star players out of the lineup, continued production from these young players will be a big key to their success.