Senators Bolt trap shut
BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
|Senators forward Milan Michalek is checked into the crease by Lightning forward Dominic Moore at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont., Dec. 5, 2011. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)
OTTAWA - The Senators kicked off a month-long house party Monday night.
Starting a stretch that will see them play nine games at Scotiabank Place in December, the Senators swept aside the trappings of the Tampa Bay Lightning to earn a hard-fought 4-2 win.
Captain Daniel Alfredsson (goal and an assist), Zack Smith (two goals) and goalie Craig Anderson (31 saves) were the heroes for the Senators, who just finished playing 9-of-10 on the road.
While Alfredsson set up winger Nick Foligno for the winner at 15:33 of the third, it was Smith’s second of the night that salted it away. Alfredsson also scored his sixth goal of the season, as the Senators improved to 7-4-1 at home.
Foligno said this was the perfect start to what’s going to be a pivotal month.
“I was really proud of us,” said Foligno. “Craig Anderson played great and really kept us in this game. Alfie scored a huge goal and we really got contributions from everybody.
“We had a really good push in the third. The guys knew we needed this win, especially to start this homestand. It’s nice to get that one and, hopefully, we can get more.”
Only Marty St. Louis and Bruno Gervais were able to beat Anderson, who had a strong performance.
It looked like this was going to be a nail-biter, but Smith had them heading for the exits with his eighth of the season at 16:18.
Alfredsson, who celebrates his 39th birthday next week, had the fans chanting his name after he scored his sixth of the season at 8:58 to tie it up 2-2. He took a drop pass from Jason Spezza and fired a bullet by Tampa’s Dwayne Roloson on the stick side.
“It wasn’t one of our best games, but it was nice after a long road trip to come home and win right away,” said Alfredsson. “It’s huge. They’re a stingy team. They’re good defensively and being down a goal partway through the third, it’s nice to win the way we did.”
Anderson even chipped in with his fourth assist of the season, which matched a career-high he had with Colorado.
The win helped defenceman Erik Karlsson avoid the goat horns.
Karlsson was stripped of the puck at the blue line by Steven Stamkos, who sent St. Louis in alone and he beat a helpless Anderson on the stick side at 3:35. It’s the kind of mistake Karlsson can’t afford to make.
Anderson said the Senators showed resilience, especially after Karlsson’s gaffe.
“We never quit. We’ve got a great bunch with a lot of energy and we stay positive,” said Anderson. “We know mistakes are going to happen. They scored off it, but we were right back out there making plays again.”