Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Senators Shutdown Diving, Petulant Sabres
Now that's how you respond to adversity.
Skating without a slew of important players, including the recently injured Jason Spezza and Nick Foligno, the Senators went out and shutdown the Northeast leading Buffalo Sabres in a tight checking but entertaining game at the rink in Kanata.
With Spezza injured, a lot of people were looking for big games out of Ryan Shannon and Peter Regin and they didn't disappoint. Regin and Shannon were all over the puck and both could have had multiple point nights had it not been for Sabres goalie Ryan Miller who was absolutely incredible at times.
Same goes for Ottawa netminder Brian Elliott who seems to be settling down a little bit now that he has some games under his belt. He didn't have to make a lot of saves, but some of those stops in the 3rd period were game savers.
Probably the most notable player had to be Jarkko Ruutu, who always seems to be at his nastiest against the Buffalo Sabres. Tonight he was so amped up that he was bordering on being uncontrollable. He drove Patrick Kaleta (who just happens to be the biggest rat in the NHL today) into the glass fairly hard in the 2nd period, sending the hated Sabre to the dressing room for the night. It's probably going to be a couple game suspension for Ruutu which is unfortunate because the Senators really need his feistiness right now.
But in Ruutu's defense, NHL refs are looking for any excuse to send this guy to the box and his late 3rd period penalty where he retaliated against Derek Roy was a prime example. Roy initiated the contact by the benches far from the puck and when Ruutu gave him a light shove back, Roy snapped his neck through the air like he had just been walloped. The refs bought it and the Senators had to kill another one off.
Sometimes it's hard to stomach the Sabres. I have a lot of respect for coach Lindy Ruff and the organization as a whole, but they have to be the whiniest team in the NHL. Guys like Adam Mair, Kaleta and Roy turn into a bit of a sideshow every time they play the Senators and they seemed even braver tonight knowing that they didn't have to face Chris Neil.
Regardless, the Sabres are a great rival, definitely surpassing the Leafs games on the nasty scale.
Black Aces Senators 3 Stars
1. Brian Elliott
2. Peter Regin
3. Ryan Shannon