Sorry for the delay in post-game coverage of the Friday night tilt against the Anaheim Ducks. Although it wasn't a terrible game for the Senators, they weren't able to score until the third period. The Ducks played their frustrating, get-in-the-lanes, shot-blocking and -deflecting game, and you could see a number of Senators--notably Daniel Alfredsson and Antoine Vermette--looked extremely frustrated with their inability to generate offence.
Speaking of Alfredsson and Vermette, they were two of the Senators' best players last night. Even though Dany Heatley was given second-star honours on the TEAM 1200, and scored three assists, he wasn't nearly as effective as he can be--he looked sluggish and disinterested. Jason Spezza, on the other hand, looked extremely into it for the second game in a row. If we could get Spezza and Heatley playing like they can on the same night, rather than apparently taking turns, then we'd be in good shape.
Other Senators' performances of note were Anton Volchenkov, who looked particularly solid and stepped up into a few rushes, and Chris Neil, who FINALLY got into a fight (and held his own against heavyweight George 'Stache' Parros) and popped in a goal for good measure. Although he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, Mike Fisher has a solid game--something will go his way soon enough. Filip Kuba tried the hitting game in the first and second period (he had two hits on the night, Brennan), and it didn't work out so well, so he went back to scoring points and got two assists in the third to continue his point-streak.
Luke Richardson looked bad, but I think it's more a result of Richardson trying to do too much to try and stay in the lineup. If he starts taking it easy and playing basic, positional hockey, his lack of speed won't be exposed as often. If he doesn't realize that, then he won't draw back into the lineup many more times.
Lowlight of the night: Having Jason Smith catch the puck in his chest, drop it, and watching Todd Marchant bat it out of mid-air and soar 45 feet into the net, while Alex Auld wasn't paying attention.
Highlight of the night: Alfredsson sort-of slew-footing Chris Pronger, forcing Prongs to slam into the corner boards in the fetal position. After that hit and previously firing a slapshot at the shins of Scott Niedermayer, you can tell Alfie really hates the Ducks. Like... really.
Onto a quick preview of tonight's game against Toronto: After Craig Hartsburg gave Auld the opportunity to steal a start from Martin Gerber, and Auld didn't quite shine (although the loss wasn't quite his fault), Gerber injured his leg in practice. As a result, Brian Elliott was recalled from Binghamton. Although I'm not certain, I imagine Auld will be starting.
Another roster change comes on defence Richardson is out, and Christoph Schubert will get his shot on defence. Although Schubert has a tendency to get out of position as much as Richardson, he's a lot more mobile, and he's got room to improve.