Ok, apparently the season is officially over, but there’s still 70 games left, and I’ve still got my NHL dot TV account, so the momentum of the runaway freight train of these recaps isn’t going to be be diminished any time soon. After failing to win a game against a bunch of teams that aren’t even that good, the Sens now have to try to to turn things around the team that’s playing the best in the entire league right now. These aren’t your dad’s New Jersey Devils. No, these guys are making Newark synonymous with fast-paced, high-scoring, skilled hockey which is enough to bring a tear to the eye to even the most defensive-minded ok just kidding I don’t give a shit. The Sens need what European football observers would call “a result” here, and it barely even matters who it’s against at this point.
- Nikita Zaitsev got waived (WE DID IT!) and now Jacob Bernard-Docker is drawing into the lineup for the first time. It’s unclear if DJ Smith actually thinks this is a good idea or if he’s just mashing buttons like an 8-year-old trying to play Street Fighter. Either way, we wish nothing but the best of luck to Jacob Rescue Dog Pants Man. If you play well enough, your reward will be not being replaced as soon as Artyom Zub is healthy again. (GET WELL SOON, ZUB).
- Sens get an early powerplay on which they somehow manage to generate several good chances without actually getting a shot-on-net. You think the boys might be gripping the sticks a bit too tight now?
- The 4th line gets stuck in the worst possible situation for this 4th line: stuck in their own zone against the other team’s top line. Tatar takes a pass in the high slot, shoots it, and the puck bounces off Parker Kelly and past a helpless Forsberg.
- I’m not saying that DJ Smith should be jovial on the bench these days, but lately his general demeanor behind the bench has been that of a Kanata Dad whose new puppy keeps taking dumps on his new Continental Flooring hardwood floors. Kinda matches the mood of everyone else these days, come to think of it, so he gets a pass on this.
- The No-Dak Bro Pack is in the house:
- Ottawa gets a second powerplay opportunity, with the 3rd line drawing a call. It looks like it’s going to be another disappointing one until The Claudefather provides a moment of inspiration, firing a slap pass onto Pinto’s stick, who redirects the puck into the net. We go live now to the No-Dak Bro Pack:
- The Sens follow up the powerplay goal with a bang-and-crash shift from the 4th line in the offensive zone which ends up with Travis Hamonic walking into a slapshot and blasting it through [Goalie’s Name] giving Ottawa a surprising 2-1 lead. NOTE TO SELF, LOOK UP GOALIE AND INSERT HERE BEFORE PUBLISHING
- Tim Stützle gets called for interference, but I can’t say that it’s an entirely convincing call. It’s more like one of the Devils fell down and Stützle was the closest Senator at the time.
- The Sens manage to kill off the penalty but not without 4 or 5 sketchy moments following failures to clear the puck. I think this is secretly what the “lack of structure” I keep reading about actually is. The Sens actually look pretty organized 95% of the time, until something weird happens, or the puck ends up somewhere unexpected, or someone fails to make a clearing pass, and then they can’t get the play back under control.
- Nico Hishier beats Forsberg cleanly on a wrist shot off the rush with just under 2 minutes left in the 1st. That’s the exact sort of goal that Ottawa can’t seem to get at all this season, and also the sort of save they can’t seem to get either.
- Ottawa starts the 2nd by basically never touching the puck and New Jersey scores after Brannstrom makes a meal of a puck retrieval. Pretty sub-optimal that from this position, the puck ends up in Ottawa’s net 9 seconds later.
- Mark it down: at 15:42 of the 2nd period, Ottawa got a game-saving save from a goalie. TSN also gives Hamonic credit, but around here we only give defensemen credit for preventing shots, not blocking shots.
- Also the Sens still haven’t touched the puck once this period. Shots are 23-9 for New Jersey.
- It’s incredible how bad the last few years have been. The Sens are going to have to lose 7 more games IN A ROW just to be as bad as they were last year. Also not for nothing, but 4 games under .500 isn’t even that many games under .500.
- Ottawa gets the first amount of offensive possession you could reasonably describe as “pressure” roughly 10 minutes into the period. Sens playing a good road period, only without the stingy defense.
- Chabot tries to make something happen by driving hard to the net with the puck, but unfortunately the only thing he makes happen is a goaltender interference penalty. Unfortunately [GOALIE’S NAME] is injured on the play, and he comes out to be replaced by [NEW GOALIE’S NAME].
- The Sens kill off the powerplay, with Forsberg making several saves. Forsberg’s definitely been the best Senators player this period, which unfortunately is related to the fact that the rest of the team has given him so much to do.
- The period ends with New Jersey ahead 3-2 on the scoreboard, and ahead 30-15 on the shot clock. Tennis score ass shot clock.
- Didn’t have much to say about that period, because it’s hard to say much when all 18 skaters all look equally outplayed. New Jersey is good, I don’t know what else to say about it.
- Just when it seems like the 3rd is going to look exactly like the 2nd, Pinto walks in from the neutral zone, and rips a wrister past [NEW GOALIE’S NAME]. It’s Pinto’s second of the game, and the No-Dak Bro Pack is loving it.
- Sens get a good chance to improbably take the lead with a powerplay. Well, I say “good chance”, but it ends up being roughly 90 seconds of the Sens failing to establish possession in the Devils’ zone, with both PP units being equally guilty.
- Now that they’ve failed to look good with an extra player on the ice, Ottawa’s actually put together a few decent looking shifts in a row. I don’t want to say something trite and reductive like “They’re working harder”, but also it kinda looks like they’re just working harder? When you’re playing a good team, at a certain point you’ve got to win some one-on-one puck battles to create your own possession instead of just waiting for the puck to come to you.
- With about 7 minutes to go, JBD tries a high risk pass up the middle of the ice and it results in an interception and sustained Devils pressure. This is the sort of thing I mean that Ottawa’s “structure” only looks bad after a mistake. Everyone thinks the puck’s headed out of the zone, and then when it doesn’t go out of the zone, the whole team is out of position.
- The Sens are hanging on for dear life just trying to get to OT, which they eventually do, but not without Forsberg having to make some more big saves.
- The Sens lose the opening draw, which during 3-on-3 OT can easily mean that you will lose the game without touching the puck. Sure enough, Nico Hischier rings a shot off the post 30 seconds into extra time.
- Tkachuk and Stützle combine for a game-winning chance, but Tkachuk can’t quite slide it home on the backhand. However, they do draw a penalty, sending the Sens to the powerplay and giving them a great chance to steal the 2 points right from under New Jersey’s nose.
- Sens win the draw and run a play for a DeBrincat one-timer from the right slot, but he blasts it wide. A few moments later, Stützle has another one-timer saved.
- Ottawa generates another glorious chance after one of the three NJ players loses their stick, but Tkachuk somehow fails to score from here and now I am going to become The Joker.
- For the rest of the PP, the Sens once again fail to score but do succeed to make a goalie I’ve never heard of look like Dominic Fucking Hasek. Pinto gets a chance to win it with a hat-trick goal, but misses high glove side.
- With 40 seconds left, Chabot takes an interference penalty on Hughes. I….do not love this call. I guess the ref would say Chabot just has to let Hughes take the puck and go to the net unopposed? I don’t know any more, man.
- Sens lose the draw, the Devils get one good shot and Dougie Hamilton wins it with a laser one-timer. Absolutely crazy-making end to the game. I feel like I’m high on the worst weed of my life.
The Sens remain critically deficient in Vitamin W, but at least they got a point in a game they deserved to win, but also simultaneously deserved to lose. Only this team could make you relived they got a point, and then 4 minutes later make you absolutely furious that they only got a point. I don’t know, my brain is scrambled from how stupid everything about that OT was. Sens play Philly again next. Let’s absolutely paste these clowns like we should have last time.
Here It Is, Your Moment of Salieri