Well, well, well.... The hard work pays off for Mach 9, Milan Michalek. After buzzing and threatening all season, he breaks out for a hat trick including 2 shorthanded goals. I wonder when the last time Heatley scored 2 shorties in one game? Just sayin'.
Also scoring for the Sens were: Picard, Foligno, Kovalev and Ruutu. Meanwhile, Alfredsson and Ruutu had 3 point nights.
The Sens were completely dominated by the Bolts during the first 3 minutes of the game until Alexei Kovalev got the good guys on the board and it was all Sens from there.
Leclaire was solid when called upon stopping 16 of the 17 shots he faced. The Bolts also had one disallowed by the much maligned "kicking motion" rule. Guess who the Ottawa defenceman was who was burned on both plays? Rookie Erik Karlsson. I like the guy's skills, I really do but he really looks lost out there. He needs seasoning in the minors to learn the North American game. He really does. I feel bad for the kid. He was cock of the walk when he arrived in town and now is constantly hanging his head. His minutes are decreasing and he needs to be "the guy" somewhere. I remember saying when he was drafted that he was 2-3 years away and I stick by that. He'll be a good one, but just not now.
Speaking of rookies, Matt Carkner continues to impress. He played a solid game and logged some big minutes. Coach Cory really seems to be spreading the minutes around, however. Top ice getter was Alex Picard at 24:24, but after that, all the other defencemen seem to be around 20:00 with the exception of Karlsson at 16:00 or so. On the forward side, Michalek led the way with 18:00, while everyone else was logging 14:00-16:00 with the exceptions of Donovan, Neil and Foligno who were closer to the 10:00-11:00 range mostly due to the fact that they do not kill penalties. Pretty balances attack, I must say.
Highlight of the game? Carkner absolutely pounding Steve "the rat" Downie. Nice to see. In other pugilistic news, Neil got the better of Wilson while Phillips took a rare major penalty in fighting Konopka. While lagging behind in both size and experience, hats off to Chris for holding is won against Tampa's "Big Z"
Another highlight? A-Train Volchenkov continuing his stellar play and absolute demolition of NHL rookies by hammering Victor "Sylvie Bernier" Hedman into the boards. Welcome to the NHL, Sylvie. Keep your head up, ya big wuss.
Is it too early to say that Michalek is the best Sen ever to don the number 9?
I'd like to point out as well, Jason "Giggles" Spezza is really starting to pick up his physical game. I had to double check the number on the back of the jersey when he flattened the Tampa defenceman on the forecheck. Keep it up, Giggles. Your "personal stats" may suffer, but your team will be better for it. His play in all 3 zones is the best of his career. He is becoming a "complete" player and is starting to look more and more like someone named Stevie Y every day.
Next up... who cares... I'm going to bask in this one for a couple days.