The Pittsburgh Penguins made things look fairly easy against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, taking a 1-0 series lead thanks to a 4-1 win. Sens head coach Paul MacLean told the Ottawa Citizen that it might be good to get the team’s worst game out of the way early.
“If we had any kind of stage fright or youthful jitters, that should be behind us and now it’s up to us to make it a series,” MacLean said.
Speaking of youthful jitters, Erik Karlsson was his usually frank self about the game and a turnover in specific.
“We want to come out of our end with the puck, but you know, sometimes [expletive] happens,” Karlsson said.
“They played a little bit better than we did today. We’ve got to come out better next game and be more prepared. They scored an early goal and that set us back a bit.”
It’s too easy to blame one player in a pretty lopsided game, yet some might point to Craig Anderson. The Sens’ No. 1 goalie took some responsibility for the defeat.
“It wasn’t good enough, we have to be better and that starts with myself, giving my team a chance to win,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to lead by example, go out there and do the job … you can always be better. At the end of the day, I didn’t stop ‘em.”
Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.
The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.
Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.
Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.
Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.
During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.
It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.
As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.
Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.