Thursday, February 12, 2009
How many good things are going to come out of Binghamton this season? Cory Clouston appears to be making a significant difference in the approach this team takes to their games. Brian Elliott is playing unbelievably well. Brendan Bell is quarterbacking the powerplay like no one else has this season. Ryan Shannon, along with Nick Foligno, is making a second line into an actual second line. Brian Lee is solid defensively, and can move the puck up better than any other defenceman. Is this what a farm team is supposed to offer?
Starting in nets, this game could (and likely would) have been completely different without Elliott. He played out of his mind hockey, stopping 34 of 36 shots including plenty of good opportunities. Ottawa was massively outshot (36 to 23) on the night, but Elliott was up to task. One of the two goals he allowed was off an unfortunate rebound, but his defencemen gave him no help on the play. And Mike Richards scored on a breakaway; anyone could let that guy's shot in.
Of course, Bingo callups didn't do everything for the team. The CASH Line played a large part in the win, as well. Although I didn't get to see the whole thing, Dany Heatley responded to criticism with two goals on four shots and three hits, if you'll believe it. He was named first star as a result. Jason Spezza had a goal and an assist, and Daniel Alfredsson also had one assist.
Secondary scoring kicked in with the rest, with Foligno scoring what turned out to be the game-winner (and what looked like the easiest goal in the world) and Antoine Vermette actually scored, his third in six games, on a solid solo effort cutting to the net (Vermette added an assist, to boot).
So, incredibly, the Senators have now won three in a row (first time this season), and are 3-1-1 under Clouston. Elliott is (knock on wood) undefeated on the road. Still 14 points back of a playoff spot, but it's nice to see some good effort on the ice.