How quickly doth the seas of the NHL season change. Seems like only yesterday that the Buffalo Sabres were the apple of the NHL’s eye, a young juggernaut, a youngernaut if you will, boldly steaming ahead into a bright future, full of hope and exuberance. Now the only thing steaming is the dumps they’ve taken in their last 6 games, even managing to lose 4-1 to the Coyotes at home last week. Blessed be the struggling team that’s coming into Ottawa on the second half of a back-to-back just when the Senators need two points the most (just kidding, they always need two points). The Sens have a great opportunity here to prove that just because they’re missing a top centre and their entire 1st D pairing, doesn’t mean that they’re the team in the most trouble in the Atlantic Division.
“Both teams are trying to get off the schneid, here.” intones Garry Galley as the puck is dropped. If there’s one thing I hate being on, it’s the schneid. Whenever I’m on one, I try to get off as soon as possible.
Jacob Larsson takes a 4 minute high-sticking penalty less than three minutes into the game, but the best early chance comes from Mathieu Joseph shorthanded, who gets a step on Dahlin and Olafsson and draws a holding penalty. I’m no Kerry Fraser, and if I was I’d be even more biased against the Leafs than the real Kerry Fraser, but I think if you’re not going to call a penalty shot here, just get rid of the rule entirely. What are we even doing here, otherwise? How is this not a “clear path to the net” or whatever?
Joseph gets a second, clean chance after Gambrell finds him with a pass as the penalty expires to Larsson expires. A couple of seconds later, Brady Tkachuk draws a high stick from Girgensens, sending Ottawa to the powerplay.
Ottawa crowd gives Craig Anderson a standing ovation at the first TV timeout, which is eventually cut short by the linesman giving a short, “Ok we’re dropping the puck now” whistle. Nice to see the Ottawa crowd correctly showing their love for the best goalie in team history.
In symmetry with the Buffalo powerplay, the best chances on Ottawa’s powerplay come from the penalty killing team, at least until Claude Giroux fires a puck just wide from a dangerous area as the PP expires. So far it’s pretty easy to see why both teams are struggling lately, as Ottawa in particular appears to be fighting both the puck and themselves.
Austin Watson and the 4th line chip in with a greasy little opening goal forcing a turnover, and winning a loose puck following a poor shot block by Jeff Skinner. It’s 1-0 Sens and that’s the sort of delightful “found money” goal from an unexpected source that can really help teams find wins in games they might not deserve to win.
Brassard sends Buffalo back to the powerplay. Game is feeling very disjointed so far since more than half of it has been played at 5v4, 4v5, or 4v4. Best chance comes from Tage Thompson who skates through Sanderson and gets a good shot away which Forsberg turns away from in tight. Good save from Forsberg, and the exact sort of save that they’ve been lacking during this latest cold stretch. In a different world, that’s a goal and then everyone starts tweeting about “lack of structure”. Instead, the puck stays out and everything is good and normal.
The freshly minted line of DeBrincat-Brassard-Joseph gets a nifty 3-on-2 chance, which DeBrincat narrowly manages to not score on. 4 seconds later, Joseph takes a high sticking penalty. Considering how much time Buffalo has spent at 5v4 in this period, it’s pretty impressive that Ottawa’s leading on the shot clock 13-9 right now. PK and zone entry defense really getting the job done for the Sens so far, although I think a better way going forward would be to simply not take so many penalties.
Tim Stützle does some classic penalty killing by getting the puck deep and then taking an interference penalty on Peyton Krebs, who is reaching for the puck.
Timmy can’t be blamed here. It’s Hockey Fights Cancer night and Krebs is cancer in German so what else was he supposed to do?
Buffalo will still start the 2nd period on a 5-on-3.
Ottawa kills off the penalties to start the 2nd, then following 4 minutes of fairly innocuous 5v5 play, Erik Brannstrom takes, if you can believe this, a high-sticking penalty and heads to the box. Why does DJ Smith keep making his players take high sticking penalties? #FireDJSmith
At long last, Buffalo scores on one of their seemingly infinite powerplays, with Tage Thompson ripping an Ovechkin-like one-timer into the top corner.
Is this an actual joke? Another high-sticking penalty is taken by Ottawa, this time with Tyler Motte going to the box. I was just thinking “Man, feels like I’ve barely seen Batherson tonight.”, but honestly I’m not sure how much of Batherson I should be seeing considering there’s only been like 10 minutes of 5v5 play so far.
On the penalty kill, Jake Sanderson sacrifices his body to put himself between the puck and the net on the powerplay and is rewarded by getting bombarded by sticks and Austin Watson’s knee. Somehow in all this confusion, Buffalo takes a penalty sending us to 4-on-4 play.
Brannstrom, Giroux, and DeBrincat combine during the 4v4 play, only for DeBrincat to ring the puck off the post. The spotlight comes on and follows DeBrincat for a bit, as if to highlight whose fault it was that there wasn’t a goal.
Brady Tkachuk restores Ottawa’s 1-goal lead, technically on the powerplay as Motte’s penalty had just expired. Sanderson fires a puck from the point wide of the net, and as it comes off the boards, Tkachuk bats it in on his backhand. Honestly, it kind of looked like Sanderson meant to do that. That’s hockey, baby! DeBrincat can’t finish a beautiful tic-tac-toe chance, so instead we end up with Sanderson and Tkachuk playing pinball wizard. The beautiful game.
Craig Anderson comes into the game, after the Buffalo starter, Eric Comrie, leaves following an injury caused by Rasmus Dahlin checking Mathieu Joseph into his head. I’m a pretty big “protect goalies” guy, and I don’t like it when forwards just skate directly into goalies and act like they had no choice, but this was legitimately mostly Dahlin’s fault, I think. Joseph was going to miss Comrie if Dahlin wasn’t there.
Ottawa finally gets a real powerplay of their own, this time against a cold Craig Anderson. Ottawa gets two good chances, one with DeBrincat failing to control a cross-ice pass looking at a completely empty net, and one where Giroux finds Pinto with a cross-ice pass, who then tries one more pass rather than trying to improve on his team-leading 30% shooting percentage.
Forsberg bails out the Sens with a huge stop on Mittelstadt after the Buffalo penalty expires. In our last podcast, I said that Ottawa’s goaltending “hadn’t stolen a game” yet. Well this might be the game they finally steal. Lotta stuff is going to start looking better for Ottawa if they keep getting timely saves on the 3-5 defensive breakdowns they seem to have every game.
With a minute left in the period, Ottawa heads to the powerplay. Unfortunately they can’t manage any sort of pressure or possession before the period ends.
Turns out putting a huge 18 minute break in the middle of your powerplay isn’t a good way to create momentum.
Batherson and Pinto finally show that they are, in fact, in this game with Batherson springing Pinto in on Anderson alone, and then drawing a tripping penalty after Pinto misses the short side.
Ottawa puts together their best powerplay of the game so far, forcing Anderson into several improbable saves on Brassard.
With 10 minutes left in this one, Ottawa’s doing a good job of committing to defense while still looking for an insurance goal. Buffalo’s most dangerous looking shifts have come against Ottawa’s 4th line, and that’s pretty normal and expected at this point. The 4th line has already scored a goal this game though, so you can’t get mad.
Alex DeBrincat finally scores on one of his million scoring chances per game, as Joseph makes the extra pass on a scramble play in front of the Buffalo net, finding DeBrincat who has a wide open net. It’s 3-1 Sens, the Sens can practically taste the 2 points.
I saw a lot of complaining about the line combinations on Twitter yesterday, and that’s kind of par for the course. Twitter was basically invented for complaining about line combinations. However, I can’t say I’ve actually hated DeBrincat-Brassard-Joseph. Joseph proved last season that he can play up the lineup, as he looked electric with Stützle and Tkachuk late last year before he was injured, and he hasn’t looked out of place with DeBrincat at all so far. That said, I would like the line of Motte-Pinto-Batherson to come see me after class…
Claude Giroux takes a penalty late in the game, just to make so you can’t quite relax even though the Sens have a 2 goal lead.
The Sens kill off the late penalty, and then Tim Stützle ices the game with an empty netter, after Holden air mails a shot into Buffalo zone, and then Stützle beats everyone to the puck and puts it home after the bounce off the end-boards.
Let the soothing balm of an actual win ease your troubled minds, Sens fans.
Given the number of penalties Ottawa took in this one, this could have been an ugly game. Instead, it was an ugly game that Ottawa won through good penalty killing, timely goaltending, and a couple of goals so greasy, they should be served as sides at Waffle House. This is what it looks like when the team gets a few breaks for a change. Operation Get To A .500 Record is officially back on.
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.
Is Game 12 too early for a “must win”? Well, when you’ve only won 4 games so far, and you’re a team with playoff aspirations, it might not be! I thought the Senators were a stone lock to blow out Philly last Saturday, and they responded by scoring a goal early, and then not scoring again for the rest of the game. It’s time for the Sens to just dominate some poor schmucks, and Vancouver is definitely a bunch of schmucks. Ok, let’s see what happened.
Alex DeBrincat puts Ottawa up 1-0 early. Well it was Batherson it who scored, but all the hard work was done by DeBrincat by beating out an icing call, and finding Batherson with a nifty pass from behind the blue line.
Giroux breaks in on a 2-1, looks off Stützle and then fires the puck on net, forcing “Martin” to make a blocker save.
DeBrincat has two five-star, Oscar winning, critically acclaimed, scoring chances in the space of about 6 seconds, tipping the puck wide after Ottawa forces a turnover in the offensive
Batherson gets sprung on a long pass, and also fires it into Martin’s glove. That looks like it would have been a good opportunity to try the ol’ Jason Spezza fake clapper, shoot it short side deke, but there hasnt’ been much to second-guess in Batherson’s goalscoring lately, so I’ll let it go.
Ottawa gets an early PP. Neither PP unit has looked at all good lately, which is unfortunate because they started the year looking good. My guess is that teams have scouted the three plays they like to run and they need to find some new wrinkles.
Ryan Reynolds just got a standing ovation from the Ottawa crowd. Definitely the most heralded appearance in a Senators luxury box since Brady signed his new contract.
Personally, I refuse to “stan” any millionaire/billionaire owner or potential owner. The most I’ll do is not complain about them as long as they sign the cheques, stay out of the way, don’t complain in the media, and inculcate a culture conducive to tolerance and diversity in both the staff and the fans. If Ryan Reynolds helps with that, bring him on. If he doesn’t, well, I’ll have no choice but to write more blogs. YOUR MOVE, RYAN.
Ok, I’ve let this go for a while, but Brady Tkachuk is taking too many penalties. In fact, he’s taking more penalties per ice time than any other player on the Senators. He just took another one which he absolutely did not need to take, needlessly giving Vancouver a chance to get back in a game that’s been nothing but Ottawa dictating play so far.
The two best chances of the powerplay came on odd-man rushes by the Senators, so that’s a good way of killing penalties.
It’s announced that Chris Neil’s number is going to be retired. Ryan Reynolds stands and applauds. We live in strange times.
DeBrincat is playing possessed in this first period. He’s constantly first on the forecheck because he’s sliding behind the Vancouver D looking for a long outlet pass.
Even the 4th line generated a decent looking chance by throwing it at the pads and hoping it would bounce off Kastelic into the net. It almost worked, too. Shots are 15-5 for the Sens with 2 minutes left in the period.
Canucks score a tying goal with 52.5 seconds left in the 1st on a flagrantly horseshit play where Ethan Bear floats a puck in from the puck, it bounces off a confused Talbot, and Boris Horvat is unopposed to score on the rebound. Why can’t this sort of shit happen to Alex DeBrincat for a change?
Hamonic restores Ottawa’s lead by taking a pass from Stützle and simply blasting a slapshot past Martin. Why can’t this sort of shit happen to Alex DeBrincat for a change?
Sens finish a period they dominated with a 2-1 lead. The only nits you could reasonably pick is to ask why it’s only 2-1 instead of 3-1 or 4-1 or 5-1.
Sens pick up right where they left off early in the 2nd. Batherson gets two golden chances in a row, one on a tip off a pass from Pinto, and one where he could quite control a beautiful pass from DeBrincat. In a different universe, Batherson and Debrincat could have two goals each so far. And Batherson’s already scored!
Batherson-Brassard-DeBrincat is a new line, and it honestly looks fine. Brassard’s offensive instincts are obviously still intact, the only question is whether he consistently has the pace to get the puck
Sens generate another golden opportunity with Brannstrom leading a 4-on-2. Starting to feel like I’m going to have to think of new ways to say “Sens get a great look, but fail to score.” because there’s really very little else to say about this game. The shots are 23-9!
Kastelic’s even coming into the zone with enough speed to try a wrap-around. It doesn’t work, because of course it doesn’t, but still, this game has reached Kastelic wrap-around attempt levels of domination.
Sens possibly becoming guilty of turning into Arsenal and trying to walk it in. Not sure Batherson needed to go for the drop pass here. Looks to me like he’s got a pretty clear path to the net.
I’m 4th line agnostic. I like it when they do good things, and I don’t like it when they do bad things, and I gotta say: they’ve been buzzsaws so far tonight. Kelly makes a steal in the offensive zone and then draws a penalty in front of the Vancouver net. Great sequence for him.
The first PP unit being sent on this time is Pinto-Brassard-DeBrincat-Brannstrom-Giroux. Is this too much deck shuffling from DJ Smith now? Honestly they don’t look any worse than any other powerplay unit I’ve seen this season.
Shots are 30-10. THIRTY TO TEN! THERE’S 8 MINUTES LEFT IN THE SECOND! The Sens used to be the team getting blown out on the shot clock like this, now they’re doing this to other teams!
Stützle might be Ottawa’s best option on any powerplay unit right now just because he seems to be able to gain the zone with control so much easier than anyone else.
Ok, Martin just saved a shot from Brady Tkachuk in this position and now I know you’re fucking with me.
Of course the next thing that happens after this play is Mikheyev turnstiles Hamonic, goes to the net, and then scores like it’s not even hard. DOESN’T HE REALIZE THAT SCORING A GOAL IS THE HARDEST THING IN THE WORLD?
Austin Watson and Luke Schenn have a fight for unknown reasons. Ryan Reynolds nods his approval.
Tkachuk gets sprung in alone on Martin, gets the shot off, and pops Martin’s mask off in the process, immediately ending the play with the Sens in possession and the Canucks in disarray. What more is there to say at this point?
Zaitsev takes a holding penalty rather than get completely owned at his own blue line. Maybe that was a “good” penalty to take, but he only had to take it because he’s Zaitsev.
The second Canucks powerplay looks significantly more dangerous than their first, but Talbot makes three good saves to keep the game tied at 2 after 40 minutes
Jamie McLellan ominously opens the 3rd period by talking about how Vancouver’s goaltending has kept this one in them, and Horvat rewards his prescience by scoring right in front of the net after Connor Garland sons Hamonic behind the Ottawa net. Two pretty grim plays by Hamonic have led to two goals against in the last 10 minutes.
Definitely extremely infuriating that Ottawa is losing this game considering the extent to which they’ve carried the play in the game to this point.
Imagining someone turning the game off and going to bed after Batherson somehow manages not to score from here. Ok I say, “someone” but really I’m imaging doing that myself, because, well, just look:
Tkachuk takes ANOTHER terrible penalty. He doesn’t seem to think he should have been sent to the box simply because he’s a big, strong, growing boy, and while I’m sympathetic to this view, I think it’s time for him to stop taking so many penalties.
Talbot once again does a good job of being Ottawa’s best penalty killer, and then lets in the first shot he sees after the penalty expires. Boeser tips a point shot past Talbot to give the Canucks a 4-2 lead with a little under 12 minutes left in the game.
I was impressed with the way Ottawa kept their foot on the gas against Vegas after going down 5-1, but coming back after suddenly going down 4-2 in a game they should have done and dusted by now will be a much taller task. DJ Smith has a “Here we go again!” look on the bench. No one else on the bench looks much happier either.
Vanier gets a shoutout on TSN thanks to the presence of Ryan Reynolds. This guy is a tourism BOON!
Giroux draws a penalty with 7:26 in the 3rd. I’ve really liked him with Stützle. I’ve liked Stützle with everyone, really.
Batherson somehow fails to score again, this time sliding the puck harmlessly across the goalmouth. STORY OF THE GAME. HAVE I MENTIONED THIS ENOUGH YET?
Stützle plays a little give and go with DeBrincat, and goes roof on the powerplay to cut the lead to 1 with 6 minutes left. Great play by a great player.
Aaaaaaaaaaand just when it seems like there might be hope, Chabot and Brannstrom play hot potato with the puck in their own zone and give the puck away. Talbot lets the puck slip through him and it’s another 2 goal lead with 5 minutes left. Just not great stuff from either of those guys, if we’re being honest, but especially Brannstrom.
Ottawa’s gifted another powerplay with Vancouver taking a delay of game penalty. With 10 seconds left in the penalty and the goalie pulled, Giroux finds the far corner with a fluttering puck. So after a long period of dormancy from the PP, Ottawa’s scored twice on the powerplay in what’s going to be a losing effort. I hope the powerplay being good transfers to the next game at least.
GUY WHO HAS ONLY SEEN DANIEL ALFREDSSON BE A VETERAN PRESENCE: getting a lot of daniel alfredsson vibes from claude giroux
Ottawa pulls Talbot to put out an extra attacker, but Vancouver scores after Ottawa can’t find a sustained period of offensive zone possession and the game ends 6-4 to Vancouver. There’s also some sort of fight at the end of the game.
The Sens got sens’d harder than any other team in history has ever been sens’d. If they play this game 10 times, Ottawa wins 8 of them. I’m sure of it. I still don’t think it’s time to panic, but it’s definitely time to win a fucking game. In fact, it’s probably time to win like six games just to get back to into the playoff race. This team can do it if they keep dominating games like this, though.
Hello, and welcome back to The Ottawa Senators. Since we last spoke on these hallowed pages, the Sens have lost a terrible afternoon game to the Florida Panthers (This is normal), and also lost to Tampa Bay in a game where they were on the PK for roughly 15 minutes, but still managed to lead twice in the third period before giving up 3 goals in the third and going home empty handed. Sens fans have reacted to these games with all the calm, rationality, and equanimity for which they are justly famed, which is to say none of those things whatsoever.
Eichel goes around Brannstrom and puts a backhander on the net, and instead of clearing the loose puck, Chabot throws a hand-grenade in front of his own net which winds up on Mark Stone’s stick and it’s 1-0 for Vegas before TSN is even done showing the starting lineups. You’d get benched in house league Pee-Wee for this sort of play, but I’m assuming Chabot knows that and we don’t need to worry about seeing that sort of thing any more. Still, it’s an early mistake that the Senators can’t really afford to make as they’re trying to snap this losing streak.
DJ Smith has moved Tim Stützle between Giroux and DeBrincat, and this is a move I fully approve of, because Brassard with Claude the Bod and DeBrinky had been a defensive tire fire, and Pinto on the 2nd line has been almost as bad but without the offensive chemistry. Apparently we’ve only got one good centre left, might as well try it.
Giroux ties the game on a fielding practice grounder from the neutral zone that takes a weird hop past the Vegas goaltender “Logan Thompson”. Mike Johnson thinks Giroux might have knuckled it in like this on purpose, and who could disagree with him? Are you going to sit here and tell me Claude Giroux can’t do anything he wants? I don’t think so.
Ottawa’s two best chances have come from Dylan Gambrell so far, which isn’t really how I would have drawn it up before the game, but I guess you can’t always control which of your players the other team is going to give the puck away to.
Stützle breaks in on a 2.5-on-1.5, gets the clearest path to the net you can, and fires it off Thompson’s arm. I feel bad for Timmy here, you could tell he wants to pass it, and the Vegas d-man is just daring him to shoot it, so he does, but he’s still thinking about it a bit too much. There’s no doubt Stützle’s started the season much slower than you’d want him to, but he’s also easily *easily* the best forward on the Senators
Kastelic takes a holding penalty in his own zone, and 50 seconds later, Karlsson slips Sanderson at the line, feeds it to Riley Smith who beats Hamonic to the net by about two weeks and puts the puck past Forsberg. Seems like Ottawa gives up at least one goal on the PK per game, and this game is no exception. Although I just looked it up, and Ottawa’s not even in the top 10 of the league in terms of who has allowed the most goals on the PK so far. They are 8th in the league in terms of penalties taken, however, so maybe that’s a thing we could look into doing less of.
Other than the fact that two pretty obvious defensive gaffes have led to two goals against, Ottawa’s actually played a pretty good period so far. Going to the PP now with Chabot, Stützle, DeBrincat, Tkachuk, and Batherson after Vegas takes a too-many-men penalty.
The best chance of the PP comes when Brannstrom, Sanderson, and Brassard combine to send a puck off Pinto’s skate and directly into the goalpost.
Ottawa’s rush defense has looked pretty shaky at times, here. Vegas has had several good looking chances after finding passes through Ottawa sticks.
Sanderson has the puck jump over his stick at the Ottawa blue-line, then he loses a 50-50 battle to Eichel, then Vegas plays tic-tac-toe to make it 3-1 with 32 seconds left in the 1st. I understand the human impulse to ascribe causation and meaning to everything that happens in a hockey game, because it can’t all be randomness and nihilism, but sorry, I think the Sens got done in by randomness and nihilism this period. Three incredibly obvious mistakes from Chabot and Sanderson twice are the only reason Vegas has scored 3 goals here. That said: I still hate it!
Kastelic heads down to the dressing room and Batherson takes a weak high-sticking penalty to start the 2nd period. On the ensuing PK, Tyler Motte breaks up a cross-seam pass and tips the puck perfectly past Forsberg. At first I think this means that it’s just not Ottawa’s night, but then DJ Smith challenges the call at the line and is rewarded by having the goal overturned.
After killing off the rest of the penalty, Tkachuk draws a high-sticking call of his own and the Sens go to the powerplay.
A mere 15 seconds into the powerplay, Stützle breaks his own ankles trying to dangle on the right circle, gives up the puck to a 2-on-1, and Chandler Stephenson finishes the play to make it 4-1 for Vegas. Ok, NOW i think it’s just not Ottawa’s night.
Let’s check in on Thomas Chabot:
Having gone down 4-1, I have to say that I’m impressed by the way Ottawa hasn’t completely thrown in the towel yet. They’re still looking feisty out there, like they secretly believe they might still win this.
Literally as I was typing this, DeBrincat fanned on the puck in front of his own net, giving it away to Carrier, who goes five-hole on Forsberg. Jesus Christ, it’s like one step forward, two steps back with these guys.
Forsberg gets pulled, which means the first action Cam Talbot is going to see as an Ottawa Senator is in relief for a guy who has given up 5 goals on 19 shots in 30 minutes. At least the circumstances should help take the pressure off. It’s not exactly a home opener against Toronto in terms of early season stakes.
The Sens go back to the powerplay, and Stützle’s back out there, which is nice to see. Although at this point if we were benching folks for making mistakes with the puck at inopportune times, you’d have to bench half the team.
Ottawa’s second PP unit has Brannstrom and Sanderson on it now, along with Tkachuk, Pinto, and Giroux. It remains nice that Ottawa has two PP units which are, on paper, equally good. As the penalty expires, Sanderson finds Giroux with a cross-ice pass, and Claude the Bod scores his second of the game. Giroux looked like a young Mike Hoffman in his prime on that shot, except that he plays defense and is, I assume, also a good person.
DeBrincat gets a great chance off a bank pass from Sanderson which comes off the end-boards and goes right to DeBrincat, but DeBrincat can’t find the back of the net, a common theme for him this season.
Tkachuk gets sprung on a 2-on-1, and he doesn’t hesitate to shoot it through Thompson. As the puck is rolling towards the net, Stützle appears on the doorstep to send the puck the remaining 3 inches into the net. Stützle is fired up, and you can tell it’s a a big weight off him to finally put den Keks in den Korb.
The period ends with Ottawa down 5-3, but once again, I can’t help but be encouraged by the fact that the Sens are still playing with a lot of energy and self-belief.
Gord Miller opens the 3rd period by saying that despite the score, Ottawa has actually looked good for long stretches in this game, which is something I agree with.
Hey check it out, it’s stats from my 2nd favourite hockey website for my second favourite forward!
As if on cue, Stützle makes a steal, plays a give-and-go with Tkachuk and scores a big goal to cut the Vegas lead to 1. Lotta game left in this one too…
Look I’m not going to pretend like I don’t check my phone first thing in the morning to see what the score in the Sens game was, but the feeling that the Sens had an opportunity to “It was 5-1” the Golden Knights here is still palpable. Even the crowd is back alive!
Ottawa generates some good looking chances, but their momentum is brought to an end by Tkachuk taking a penalty. I’m not ready to panic about Ottawa yet, despite this lengthy losing streak they find themselves on, but one thing they can absolutely to do help themselves is take fewer penalties.
Hey Nikita Zaitsev is in this game. You can tell he’s had a pretty good game so far, because I hadn’t noticed him at all until he closed his hand on the puck on the penalty kill. I kind of admire the stones required to just slide the puck to the goalie with your hand in full view of like 12 people including the ref, but also, come the fuck on dude.
Cam Talbot announces himself to Ottawa by making several stellar saves on the PK. The Ottawa crowd roars its approval, and once Tkachuk and Zaitsev come out of the box, Stützle goes for his hat-trick goal following a Vegas turnover in the neutral zone, but just whistles the puck high.
Stützle is approaching the Spezza Zone where the talent level is so obvious that anything other than a 6 point night makes it seem like he could be doing more. He just scored 2 goals in less than 5 minutes of game time and it’s like, “hmm, where’s the tying goal though?”
The Sens continue to come on strong as the game winds down, forcing Thompson to make several big saves. In an unprecedented display of personal growth the Sens even manage not to give up a goal with the net empty, but 5-4 is how this one ends. Also NHL dot tv ended my game replay with 11 seconds left in the game, so I’m just going to have to assume that nothing interesting happened at the buzzer.
It would have been extremely easy for the Sens to go quietly into the night after going down 5-1 in the 2nd on the back of some horrendous mistakes with the puck, but to their credit, they kept coming and almost salvaged at least a point. Sure they don’t show you moral victories in the standings, but I think it’s an argument in favour of DJ Smith that he can keep the team playing hard even in the middle of daunting circumstances.
Ian Mendes is a certified Ottawa legend, and, based on my personal experience, an all-around mensch and good dude. That said, when I read the above tweet yesterday, I knew there was only one way last night’s game against the Minnesota Wild could possibly go. Let’s get to the carnage.
DJ Smith starts his 4th line to celebrate Mark Kastelic’s new contract, and Auston Watson gets everyone going with a fight right off the opening faceoff. After expressing my appreciation for this 4th line in my last recap, I’m immediately feeling apprehensive about them going forward. I love a good hard-nosed lunch-pail group of blue-collar guys going out there and grinding out some greasy goals and generally being a pain in the ass, but when DJ Smith starts to say stuff like “They’re the identity of how we want to play.” and throwing them out there to start games, it starts to give the whole thing a “Coach’s son is getting all the powerplay time” feel that I don’t like. For me, the identity of how the Senators want to play is Shane Pinto scoring in 5 straight games, but maybe I’m just built different.
Debrincat turns and fires a lose puck in the high slot and we hear the beautiful consecutive sounds of a ping, the crowd, and the horn. Good start!
Auston Watson heads out of the box and into the dressing room since he’s injured himself from fighting for no reason off the opening faceoff.
Matt Dumba hits Stützle up high and Brady Tkachuk drops the gloves with Dumba um seinen deutschen Bruder zu verteidigen. Mr. Brightside plays.
Zub takes a penalty in his own zone by being stronger than Marcus Foligno. Time to see if we’re getting Ottawa’s Good PK or Ottawa’s Bad PK tonight.
It’s the bad PK. Minnesota ties it at 1 off a longish snipe from Zuccarello.
Ottawa gets gifted a powerplay, and DJ Smith sends out the Debrincat-Sanderson-Brassard-Pinto-Giroux unit to get things going.
Ottawa’s best chance on the powerplay comes when DeBrincat takes a nifty chance pass from Tkachuck, but can only fire a backhand into the side of the net from a sharp angle. Certainly not the worst scoreless powerplay I’ve ever seen.
With about 4:30 left, Stützle tips a Hamonic point shot right on, and is unlucky to have Fleury stop it entirely by accident.
The 4th line does some “identity of how we want to play” shit by getting absolutely pumped by Minnesota’s 1st line for several cycles. Zub did not help matters by losing his stick halfway through his shift.
Kaprisov tips in a long point shot on what is frankly a ridiculous looking play. I’m not sure what else Brannstrom is supposed to do here short of stabbing the guy. 2-1 Minnesota
As the period is ending, DeBrincat takes a great pass from Brassard, walks around Fleury, and fires it directly into the empty net Fleury’s glove. Derick Brassard’s face says it all.
Apparently Zaitsev is back in the lineup tonight, by the way. Brannstrom is the defenseman being tasked with sharing Zaitsev’s terrible on-ice results in the first period. Here’s a quick look at how that’s going:
The Tkachuk-Stützle-Batherson line loses a scramble draw in their own zone, and when none of the three Ottawa forwards can come up with the puck, Hartman has nothing but time and space to go high blocker on Forsberg, making it 3-1 for the Wild.
I’m not convinced that the ice has been as tilted as the 24-11 shot clock suggests, but also it’s not like Minnesota hasn’t been the better team, especially defensively. It doesn’t help that Fleury’s made big stops on Ottawa’s best chances so far.
Ottawa finally puts a few good shifts together, but any momentum is quickly ended by Brassard taking a delay of game penalty for no reason.
The Wild do whatever they want, except score, during their PP with 6 shot attempts.
Ottawa has completely failed to right the ship following the powerplay, and now it’s DeBrincat-Giroux-Pinto-Brannstrom-Chabot group exhibiting the 4th line’s identity by getting worked in their own zone. Chabot puts in a 2:19 shift. Shots are 18-3 this this point in the 2nd period.
Giroux, bless him, manages to draw a penalty in the last 2 minutes of the 2nd period. I guess if Ottawa’s going to find a push to try to come back in this one, this would be a good place to start.
Gotta give it up to the Sens for that PP, they generated lots of chaos and chances and just couldn’t get it past Fleury somehow.
Not much to say about this period. The Sens got worked. That’s it.
If you wanted to find some small nugget of a moral victory to hang your hat on, I guess it would be that Minnesota has blocked 21 shots to Ottawa’s 9 through the first two periods, making the shot clock look more lopsided than maybe it should be. That said, I’ve been watching this game, and the only team that’s put together extended stretches of dominance has been the Wild.
Calen Addison takes an undisciplined interference penalty in the offensive zone, and then Ottawa immediately draws a hooking penalty from Hartman, meaning Ottawa’s going to get 1:40 of 5-on-3 action.
DeBrincat fools every single member of the Wild by passing to Chabot instead of firing the puck directly into Fleury for the 8th time this game, and Chabot easily scores into the open net. Ottawa now has at least one more minute of PP time and 15 minutes left in the game to find a tying goal.
Game is getting chippy as Tkachuk does some classic “accidentally” falling into someone, bringing up some 4-on-4 play. The Wild get two fantastic chances right in front of Ottawa’s net which, which are saved by Forsberg, and then Batherson picks up a puck in the high slot and fires it off the outside of the post. You’re not going to see many better chances to tie the game than that.
Chabot lays but a single glove on Rossi in a show of brotherly affection, and is sent off for holding or something. This game is so weird. It’s had no flow to it whatsoever, and Minnesota has done a better job of taking advantage of it.
Ottawa kills off the penalty, keeping their hopes alive, but time is running out. I’m unsure how to grade the PK performance tonight. Minnesota’s had a lot of shots, but not too many “high danger” shots. I dunno, at a certain point allowing one goal on the PK per game is still too many goals. Let’s just say that this isn’t the best part of Ottawa’s game right now.
With 2:36 to go, Brady Tkachuk draws a high stick right in front of the Wild net. The Sens win the draw, and Forsberg immediately goes to the bench giving Ottawa a 6-on-4. I actually kind of hate 6-on-4s because the defending team gets to try to shoot at the empty net without having to worry about icing the puck. Turns out the thing I actually had to worry about was Thomas Chabot failing to control a bouncing puck at the blue line, springing Gaudreau in on the empty net all alone, and icing the game for Minnesota.
To be clear, I fully agree with pulling Forsberg on the PP with two minutes left. You really going to wait for the penalty to expire before bringing on an extra skater? Come on, now.
Ottawa goes gently into that good night, and the game ends in a 4-2 loss.
Pretty terrible game as a spectator experience, but at least the Senators also lost. Full credit to Minnesota for making the game as ugly as possible and then beating Ottawa with experience.
Folks, it’s a Monday night game and everything’s all fucked up. Derick Brassard is back in the lineup, I’m watching the game nearly 24 hours later, Dallas has a hockey team apparently, basically nothing is as it should be. Ok let’s watch some hockey and feel normal about it.
Watching the game the following evening instead of first thing the next morning means I get to enjoy a beer as part of my viewing experience, and let me just say: if you haven’t tried “having a beer” while watching a hockey game, I recommend it. It’s pretty good!
Tonight’s starting goalie is “Magnus Hellberg”, who Ottawa picked up on waivers from Seattle when C*m Talbot went down with an unplanned injury. Not sure Seattle is the team I’d want to be picking up goaltenders from these days, but let’s just see what happens…
The Sens defense is “battling” so far, which is what the home broadcast says when the home team is getting absolutely murked, but the announcers are trying to stay polite about it.
Sens dodge going down 0-1 early through an inconclusive video review of a wrap-around attempt that looked like, at the very least, it should have been a goal. Sens on the PK, now. The PK has been pretty rough lately, so going a game or two without allowing any goals while shorthanded would be nice.
Well the good news is the Sens didn’t allow a goal on the PK, but the bad news is that Brannstrom got cooked like a Christmas turkey on a one-on-one defensive play by someone called “Kiviranta” and now it’s 1-0 for the Stars. Chabot didn’t cover himself in glory either, but Brannstrom was definitely the main guy who was embarrassed there. If I know DJ Smith, and I think I do, this will mean that Brannstrom won’t be seen for the rest of the game now.
Almost 8 minutes into the game, Ottawa finally gets their first shot on net via Mark Kastelic. I’m not convinced this a real problem, but Ottawa doesn’t really come out of the gates trying to blow people off the ice this year.
Ottawa’s powerplay gets a chance to go to work, and we get our first look at Brassard on the powerplay in place of the injured Josh Norris.
Brassard wearing number 61 is a bit like your dad left and then your mom’s new boyfriend starts wearing his clothes. Brassard isn’t the Step-Stone, he’s the Stone who stepped up.
Ottawa’s powerplay looked fine, but they didn’t score by the way. I was too busy thinking about the number 61 for normal reasons to notice anything else about it.
Apparently Ottawa is facing Dallas’s backup goalie tonight? That’s fine, we’ll take that disrespect in stride. It’s all good. We don’t mind a free two points. It’s banter!
Tkachuk does a bit of shithousery in the offensive zone and gets penalized for it, and Ottawa’s going to finish off the period on the PK. Joseph gets a pretty good shorthanded chance, and Ottawa actually kills off the rest of the penalty pretty effectively. As the official Guy Who Is Doing A Bit About Pretending To Care About the PK, But Actually Does Kinda Care About The PK, I declare this: adequate.
That period was the Monday night game against a Western Conference team of periods.
Ottawa’s first line of Tkachuk-Stützle-Batherson puts together some good offensive pressure to open the 2nd. One thing I like about Ottawa’s “skill” guys is that they play a very direct game. I like this sort of fast, unsophisticated hockey where the team wants to get high quality chances as soon as possible, and they don’t really care who’s shooting it or how. Even Stützle, who I think is occasionally accused of being all curry no wurst, is considerably more shoot/pass oriented than someone like Auston Matthews who likes to skate and never wants to give up the puck unless he’s going to shoot it from one of those spots he likes to shoot it from.
Ottawa has put a few good shifts together here, but Hamonic is going off for a bit of a dodgy interference call now to put an end to that. Time for The Penalty Kill Knower to log on yet again…
Another solid kill from Ottawa, as they denied Dallas opportunities to set-up in the offensive zone with possession. Ottawa has allowed only 1 shot on three penalty kills, meaning I am going to upgrade this performance from “adequate” to “acceptable.”
Pinto has appeared on the second line with DeBrincat and Giroux. Just something to keep an eye on for the rest of the game. Also Sanderson just drew a penalty so Ottawa’s gonna get a chance to tie it up on the PP.
DeBrincat takes a feed from Batherson and blasts one-timer it into Wedgewood’s pads. This man just cannot buy one so far this year. This was also Ottawa’s best chance on the powerplay.
Not to get to “Ottawa Valley” with it here, but I gotta once again say that this 4th line really stirs my soul a bit when they start banging and crashing in the offensive zone. It’s caveman shit to be sure, but I still like having one line that follows that old Midget hockey philosophy of “Shoot, pass, kick ’em in the ass. Skate around the rink and kick ’em in the dink.”
DeBrincat draws a tripping penalty and Ottawa’s going back to the PP. Blessed be the off-season acquisition who is still drawing penalties and chipping in with assists when he hasn’t got the bat going.
Stützle has a beautiful chance denied by a sprawling Wedgewood. Are…we getting Sens’d right now? This is what it looks like when someone gets Sens’d, no?
So the Sens are losing and they’ve failed to convert several five-star chances on the powerplay, but other than that they are playing a pretty great period, all things considered. Just relentless killbot stuff. Short shifts, rolling 4 lines, they just keep coming at you until you can’t hold them back any more. It’s pretty great!
Ottawa is going to finish the 2nd with another powerplay. I guess it’s easy to look like the better team when you’re constantly playing with an extra skater.
Chabot ties the game with 36 seconds left in the second with a sneaky one-timer from the point which is tipped in by Batherson in front. Considering the chances Ottawa’s had in this period, it’s crazy that THAT’s the one that tied the game. Also Batherson being so incredibly red hot keeps stressing me out until I remember that he’s already signed to a long-term bargain deal.
Hellberg opens the period by giving up a big rebound to Robertson and then making an equally big save to clean up his own mess. I like a goalie who takes responsibility for their own mistakes!
Dallas has come out with a strong push to start the 3rd, and like in the first, Ottawa hasn’t had any shots on net in the first 5 minutes. Then Brady Tkachuk takes a pass from Stützle as he crosses the blue line, and he shoots Ottawa’s first shot of the period five-hole on Wedgewood and gives Ottawa the lead. Incredible garbage energy from the garbage son captain.
Feels like I haven’t seen Brassard in a while. He’s been there, I’m just saying it feels like I haven’t seen him in a while. Mind you, it’s not like Josh Norris had been Mr. Visibility on the Giroux line early in the season.
Everyone’s looking for EU residency, these days…
Shane Pinto scores in his fifth straight game, by simply forcing a turnover and shooting the puck into the exact place where the post meets the cross bar at 300 meters per second. Is it time for this guy to slow the fuck down now? This is a guy we actually need to give a new contract to! Maybe it’s time to start getting DeBrincat involved, you know? Spread the goals and the contract dollars around a bit!
Brassard gives Ottawa a 4-1 lead by keeping the puck on a 3-on-1 and shooting the puck into the exact place Pinto just did. Turns out this whole time Wedgewood’s weakness was perfect wrist shots into the top corner. He better hope the rest of the league doesn’t figure this one out.
Ottawa’s taken their foot off the gas a bit here to finish the game, but I guess that’s normal when you’re up 3 with six minutes left.
Dallas pulls the goalie with 3:40 left in the game, which is good because it will help protect Ottawa’s precious 5v5 xG%.
Let’s check in with the Dallas support staff!
Damn, I was just trying to think of a simile to describe what the Sens were putting this game to bed like when Dallas scored to make it 4-2. Again, this does not count against Ottawa’s 5v5 stats, so there’s no reason to panic.
The game ends, but not before Ottawa ices the puck approximately 600 times and DeBrincat has a shot at the empty net blocked as time expires. Light work!
Outside of the mystifyingly slow start to the 1st and 3rd, this was an excellent, full-team performance against a legitimately strong team. I’ve been reluctant to ask this so early in the season, but…are the Sens good???
After a wild and crazy home opener, it’s time to settle into the reality of the NHL season: Thursday night games against teams like the Washington Capitals stomping on a human face forever.
In Memoriam: Eugene Melnyk
Eugene Melnyk (May 27, 1959 – March 28, 2022) was a Canadian businessman, philanthropist, and owner, governor, and chairman of the National Hockey League (NHL)’s Ottawa Senators and the AHL’s Belleville Senators. He was the founder, chairman, and CEO of Biovail Corporation, once Canada’s largest publicly traded pharmaceutical company with more than C$1 billion in annual revenue. He sold almost all of his holdings in the company by 2010. Canadian Business magazine ranked Melnyk 79th on its 2017 list of Canada’s 100 wealthiest people, with a net worth of $1.21 billion. He was one of the richest residents of Barbados.
The TSN broadcast starts by pointing out that Ottawa doesn’t have any back-to-backs until December, so they’ll probably be riding Anton Forsberg hard for several months, which checks out. Tough times to be a part of Magnus Hellberg Hive.
Ottawa catching Washington when they’ve already suffered several important injuries is pretty nice. Not to put too fine a point on this, but games at home against injury-riddled teams are the sorts of games you really need to win if you have playoff ambitions.
Through the first TV timeout, very little of note has happened. Washington is here to play A Good Road Period and Ottawa is letting them. Josh Norris hit the post once, I think? I actually kind of like these sorts of games. They’re the hockey equivalent of a night at home where you and your partner are just at home on the couch together and nothing happens, and that’s kind of nice because life is about being as much as it’s about doing.
Something finally happened, but unfortunately it was a Jake Sanderson tripping penalty.
Something else just happened, and it was Hamonic firing the puck over the glass giving the Capitals a 5-on-3 for 1:12. It looks like the Sens are going to kill off the 5-on-3, but TJ Oshie finds a hole in the Senators defensive coverage (because there’s only 3 dudes on the ice) and snipes it glove side with 7 seconds left in Sanderson’s penalty.
Anthony Mantha rips a wide-open one-timer during Washington’s second powerplay, and now I wish this game had spent more time being tied and the Sens spent less time doing penalties.
Penalty Kill Korner: The Senators have allowed goals on 3 of their last 4 penalty kills. Might be time to check the oil on the ol’ PK systems…
The Ovechkin line just speedbagged Ottawa’s 4th line for a full 90 seconds, and then they got a second kick at the can because Parker Kelly could only ice the puck to relieve the pressure. By my count, Washington had no less than 4 five-star scoring chances in those 2 minutes. I understand that 4th lines are 4th lines for a reason, and I’m trying to keep my expectations low for those guys, but it seems like they get hemmed in their own zone against the other team’s top line at least once a game. The Sens have got to stop letting the opposition get that matchup so easily, if only for my own sanity.
Tkachuk got one of Ottawa’s best chances of the period on a sneaky tip in front of the net. Brady has come out of the gate miles better than last season. Beginning to think that maybe training camp and not having a long contract holdout is actually important to how well you start the year.
Ovechkin went at Brannstrom one-on-one and Branny defended him nicely. Area White Man Does His Job, Receives Praise.
Despite being down two goals, the Sens are still playing with a sort of methodical energy which I will laud as “Sticking with it and not panicking” if they come back in this game, but will decry as “a complete lack of urgency” if they don’t.
Sanderson takes a hit up high and starts leaking extremely badly. Hamonic comes in to defend his D partner and goes off for roughing along with another Capitals player who happened to be around. Despite my general dislike of performative fighting, I can’t say I really mind this. When you’ve got a rookie bleeding out of his face, it’s good for someone to act like they don’t like it.
DeBrincat draws a tripping penalty from Oshie, and Ottawa gets their first chance on the powerplay. Neat choice from Ottawa, as they go with a four forward (Tkachuk, Norris, DeBrincat, and Batherson) setup on the 4-on-3 powerplay. As the coincidental minors end, Batherson takes a cross-ice pass from Tkachuk and goes far side corner from an extremely sharp angle. It’s a big win for Powerplay Classic, and I’m sure Powerplay Zero (Giroux, DeBrincat, et al.) are fuming.
Oshie sends the Senators back to the powerplay, and Powerplay Classic strikes again with Batherson chipping in a rebound from right in front of the net. Really hoping I don’t look back at these goals one day as being scored by someone who should be in jail.
Norris thinks he makes it 3-2 for the Sens, but the goal is waived off for a high stick almost immediately. High-sticking seems like the one call NHL refs consistently make correctly, and the no-goal call is confirmed following a brief video review. Tough break for Norris who can’t catch anything but the post so far this season.
After playing A Perfect Road Period to start the game, Washington is coming undone here. Conor Sheary takes a terrible penalty seven miles away from the play and Powerplay Classic goes back to work. Brady Tkachuk throws Powerplay Zero a lifeline by taking an undisciplined slashing call, bringing the powerplay to an unceremonious end.
Chabot winds up and goes coast-to-coast from behind his own net and finds Norris right in front with a beautiful pass. Norris rips it off the post, because that’s all he can do these days We would have seen that rush on highlight reels for weeks if Norris could have found the net there. Chabot looking like a young Karlsson in his prime, there.
Ottawa manages to kill off a full two-minute penalty, punctuated by Zub taking a Ovechkin slapper right to the hand. This Russian-on-Russian violence is typical of a Putin apologist like Ovechkin.
The game is starting to open up here at the end of the 2nd, as Washington has a 4-on-2 and Ottawa has a 3-on-1 on consecutive rushes. Then Parker Kelly lays out John Carlson with a big hit, and then there’s a fight and it looks like Washington is slowly coming to the inexorable conclusion that they are Getting Sens’d.
Ovie takes an undisciplined high sticking penalty at the end of the 2nd (is there any other kind of high sticking penalty?), and Ottawa’s going to start the 3rd on the PP. To close out the 2nd, DJ Smith gives us a brief glimpse of Powerplay Cherry which has Giroux and Debrincat out with Tkachuk, Batherson, and Chabot.
The Sens start the 3rd with Powerplay Zero on the ice: Tkachuk, Giroux, Pinto, DeBrincat, and Sanderson. Seems like Tkachuk is pulling double-duty on both powerplay units now that Motte on the PP has been correctly identified as the psychedelic coke-dream it always was. Powerplay Zero acquits themselves adequately, but the score remains tied. The best chance comes from Powerplay Classic, as Tkachuk hits the post on a one-timer. Is it just me or are the Sens hitting like 4 posts a game this season? Maybe that’s the normal number of posts per game. I have no idea. I’ve been watching Chris Tierney for fucking YEARS, dude.
Giroux finds DeBrincat at the backdoor with a beautiful pass, but DeBrincat can’t elevate it over the pad of Kuemper. DeBrincat has a bad case of The Norrises, as he has yet to score the season despite getting what seems like one great chance a period.
The third line does a bit of dump and chase, and then a textbook forecheck by Joseph and Motte leads to a Pinto goal from the exact middle of the slot, and it’s 3-2 Sens. Secondary scoring is the thing that makes the Sens a real hockey team now. In years past, a quiet night from the 1st or second line would be a one-way ticket to a frustrating loss. A third line that can chip in with a timely goal every few games is going to be one of the main things keeping the Senators in the playoff hunt this year.
Jesus Christ, Anton Forsberg: these are some of my favourite historical miracle workers.
Here’s a new thing this season: having taken a one-goal lead in the 3rd period, the Senators are keeping their foot on the gas! With 7 minutes to go in the game, shots in the 3rd period are 14-3 in favour of Ottawa. Combined shots in the 2nd and 3rd are 31-8 for Ottawa. It’s like the team all has money on Ottawa -1.5. Also I’m not trying to be mean here, but I can’t help but notice that this extended period of extremely strong play from the Senators also corresponds with a time in which the 4th line has not touched the ice.
DeBrincat takes another pass from Giroux and again he can’t find the back of the net. DeBrincat is approaching “needs to bank one in off his own ass” levels of snake-bitten-ness.
There’s a minute left, and it’s a one-goal game, but Washington has barely had the puck. What a dominating performance from Ottawa to close out this game.
With the net empty, Washington gets one good shot from the point which Forsberg saves, and then Motte chips the puck out, chases it down, and seals the game with an empty-netter. What a team effort!
DeBrincat scores into the empty net with 7 seconds left just to shut me up. Pretty good bit. Josh Norris when? Sens win 5-2.
Washington looked like they didn’t want to win this one, and Ottawa obliged them.
Waking up this morning, I had the vague feeling that I missed a great party that everyone else except me was at. Ok, let’s check my phone and see if I can piece together what happened from the drunk texts I’ve received.
Letting the crowd announce “Zuuuuuub!” themselves was great.
Sens Theme Song is playing throughout this, and guess what: it still rips. Reject Timmy Trumpets, Embrace Tradition!
Based on the crowd reactions, it seems that Giroux was a bigger off-season introduction than DeBrincat.
Honestly, nice team introductions. Just the right amount of pomp and circumstance while still running through the team fast enough to keep things moving along, like a non-denominational wedding officiated by a friend of the bride and groom.
The crowd pop for Beautiful Day/Alfie was palpable. Check out the smirk on this guy’s face. He knows he’s still got it.
I would do anything if Daniel Alfredsson asked me to.
Claude Giroux scores 1:04 in to the game by sliding it through Swayman’s five-hole. Can’t say it’s the best goal I’ve ever seen, but it’s clear no one in Ottawa cares.
Getting a team on the 2nd night of a back-to-back for the home opener is extremely good scheduling by Frank Senators. We should do that shit every year.
Tkachuk gets a cross-ice pass from Stützle and goes shelf to make it 2-0 Senators in the first five minutes. Tkachuk is gonna have to jam some pucks into the goalie’s shinpads soon to throw people off the trail of his laser wrister.
Norris just ripped it off the post on the powerplay. Norris is a guy who has had a slow start to the season (going two games in a row without a goal is simply unacceptable in this season of heightened expectations), so it was nice to be reminded of why the Senators “overpaid” for him in the off-season.
Classic “your goaltender is your best penalty killer” penalty kill for the Senators. Thinking about becoming a big Penalty Kill Guy this year. No one cares about the penalty kill so I think I can get a lot of mileage out of saying shit like, “Sens need to force more dump-ins at the line” and “You need to take away that cross ice pass if you’re Hamonic.” and nodding sagely.
Batherson makes it 3-0 after picking up a deflected puck next to a completely open net. Unfortunately the goal is called back due to goalie interference, as if part of a metaphor for how we are still awaiting the results of a league investigation to determine whether we can cheer for Batherson.
Batherson scores again off a beautiful feed from Tkachuk behind the net. No more metaphors, just silent contemplation of our own complicity in hockey’s destructive culture which will excuse any amount of abhorrent or criminal behaviour as long as the person doing it has a sick clapper.
Bergeron puts Boston on the board off an extremely broken play where Forsberg dropped his stick. If I was a goalie, I would simply hold onto my stick, but maybe I’m just built different.
Stützle’s vision and passing is maybe the best I’ve ever seen on the Sens. All he sees is the code of The Matrix. Check out this pass to Chabot, who is at the top of the screen:
Zub takes a late penalty, which means the Senators will start the 2nd period shorthanded. I’m almost certain that won’t be important, though.
Boston scores on the powerplay 28 seconds into the 2nd period. Hamonic had one good opportunity to clear a rebound, but the puck bounced over his stick and Krejci picked it up and went shelf. I’m gonna go ahead and put that one down as “shit happens”.
Here’s some other shit that just happened:
I’m not exactly Mr. Defensive Systems up in here, but I don’t think DJ Smith wants to allow wide open uncontested wristers from the middle of the ice. If we’re still seeing these types of defensive disasters in November or later, folks are going to start asking questions like, “What the fuck is this?” and “Are are you kidding me?” and “Does anyone have Barry Trotz’s phone number?”.
This game was 3-0 Sens at one point, and now it’s 3-3. Crowd sounds like they just found out that the Canadian Tire Centre is out of beer and spring rolls.
As if sensing the energy of a thousand Kanata dads practicing their post-game call into the Team1200, Parker Kelly drops the gloves for The Chris Neil Memorial Fight To Get The People Goin’. The crowd doesn’t exactly roar its approval so much as politely applaud the effort.
Let’s talk about Josh Norris for a bit. He’s currently on a line with Giroux and DeBrincat, and while Giroux and DeBrincat have found more instant chemistry than the cold open for an episode of Breaking Bad, Norris has been more invisible than the fans of Skylar White during an episode of Breaking Bad. I don’t think it’s time to panic yet, and I can’t even think of a useful line shuffle at this point, but it’s clear that Norris needs figure out how his linemates operate and get in sync.
The CTC finally witnesses the firepower of the fully armed and operational 3rd line, as Joseph and Pinto find themselves on a 2-on-1, and Pinto takes the pass from Joseph and buries the one-timer.
I’m very undecided on the long-term viability of this 4th line, but I do appreciate that they play as if they realize that it’s ok to try to score when they’re on the ice.
Stützle gets absolutely crushed from behind, and then gets up off the mat, and buries a pass from Batherson with a slick forehand-backhand move. Stützle’s father goes wild with excitement.
Kastelic restores Ottawa’s 3 goal lead as some hard work from Joseph forces a turnover to Watson behind the Boston net and Watson finds Kastelic right in front of the net. I can’t remember the last time I saw a 4th line goal. It’s starting to feel a bit like 2007 in here!
Boston cuts the lead to 2 off a big, uncontrolled rebound from Forsberg. Boston hasn’t exactly been carrying the play in this game, but they’ve certainly done a good job of taking advantage of Ottawa’s frequent defensive chaos.
Pastrnak scores to make it 5-6 with 14 seconds left in the 2nd period. The puck deflects off DeBrincat’s stick and goes perfectly into the top corner. I’m going to generously call this a “Shit happens at 4-on-4” goal instead of a “Why does Pastrnak have so much time and space?” goal, but the Sens defensive play is officially On Notice after giving up 4 goals in one period.
Here’s a guy who is having a pretty good night: Erik Brannstrom! He looks incredible with the puck. He always has his head up, looks confident, and skating looks like it’s gone to another level. I don’t know what this guy did in the off-season to put it all together, but it gives me hope that maybe someone like Tyler Boucher isn’t a lost cause yet.
After two periods that were perhaps a little *too* exciting, it looks like both coaches have told their teams to cut that shit out and go back to playing hockey you can set your watch to.
Some 4-on-4 hockey breaks out again to inject some more chaos into this game that has already seen 11 goals, and Tkachuk finds himself on a breakaway and hits the post. Another one that will go down as “missed the net” in the scoresheet.
Speaking of chaos, Zub takes a pass from Batherson, turns Connor Clifton into his step-nephew in front of the net, and then goes glove side on Ullmark. We go now to the CTC’s live reaction:
We need to re-sign Zub off the combined strength of that goal and crowd reaction alone. He’s too important to the culture now.
For the second game in a row, the Sens take a penalty late in the 3rd period with Giroux going off. Luckily the Sens kill it off with Forsberg making two saves, but I can’t say I love this trend of undisciplined penalties late in games.
It looks like Boston is going to get two minutes of 6-on-5 time against a tired group of Ottawa skaters, but Bergeron bails Ottawa out by taking an interference penalty for no reason, and the Sens kill the game off with a powerplay where they barely even try to do anything interesting. Crowd goes wild, Sens win 7-5, see you in the parking lot.
That was arguably the most untidy game Ottawa has played so far this season, but they got two points so I’m hoping we can all chill out about it.
As a Sens fan currently residing an ocean away from the hallowed largest parking lot in Eastern Ontario, keeping up with the Sens has been a struggle for the last year. Last season, I watched a few periods of whatever games I could, and they were always terrible because the team sucked, so it didn’t feel like I was missing much by being in bed at the hours of 1 AM to 4 AM. However, since the Senators are *takes out permanent marker and circles this word several times* ALLEGEDLY supposed to be good this year, to quote the philosopher Steven Tyler, I don’t want to miss a thing. To prove my dedication to the cause of Watching The Games, I have dropped the legally mandated 99 euros on an international NHL dot TV subscription so I can Watch The Games the morning after they air. The only problem with this otherwise perfect system is that I don’t have somewhere to write my every stupid thought about the game I’m watching. Twitter would usually function as my Mind Toilet here, but the game is over, everyone else is in bed, and the last thing I want to do is ruin everyone’s morning timeline with a 20-tweet thread of shit like “Wow Kyle Okposo really is the Sabres captain, huh? Is this how people feel when they play us?”. That’s Simmer’s job.
Which is why I’m introducing a new post format I’m calling The Watch of Shame, which is just where I’m gonna write all the stuff I would have tweeted if I’d been watching the game live. It’s like a recap, but without anything resembling structure, insight, or effort. Remember, I’m doing this for me, not you, so if it sucks or you don’t like it, no refunds. Ok, that’s enough. Let’s think some thoughts about last night’s game!
Ottawa’s 3rd line of Motte-Pinto-Joseph is the most frisky-looking five minutes in. Everyone else just putting in Preseason With Extra Steps shifts.
Giroux tried to hit DeBrinky with cross-ice pass during an early powerplay and the Sabres sniffed it out immediately. It’s possible they ran that play too well in the pre-season.
Jake Sando just made a between the legs pass under pressure in his own zone, and guess what, it was the perfect play! 10 minutes into his NHL career and he’s already showing more sauce than Cody Ceci has in his entire life.
Tkachuk just scored on a beautiful tee-up from Batherson. I love that people think Tkachuk can’t shoot. Keep giving him all that space, boys!
DeBrinky could have easily made it 2-0, but Craig Anderson came way out of the net to rush him and cut down the angle. Gotta give it up to Craig for still getting it done in the Big Show at 41. This guy is still pretty good when he’s on 127 days rest.
DeBrinky and Giroux can’t quite connect on a 2-on-1 pass. That’s the second time this period these guys have had a chance denied by a well-timed stick.
“Tyler Motte has been as advertised!” says the TSN play-by-play guy whose voice I don’t recognize. How was Tyler Motte advertised? A 3rd-line forward who doesn’t suck ass? Connor Brown without the swag? Anyway, agreed, he’s been as advertised.
The Sabres have really been going at Chabot when they’re coming into the zone with the puck this period, and unfortunately it pays off at the very end of the period as they draw a tripping penalty.
The best chances of the first minute of this Sabres powerplay have come from Ottawa, but Motte couldn’t score on a breakaway, and Sanderson couldn’t get a shot off on a 2-on-1 after DeBrinky’s pass was broken up AGAIN. *extremely pretending he doesn’t know the final score voice* OH I WONDER IF WE’LL REGRET NOT SCORING ON ALL THESE CHANCES.
Shots are 17-11 for the Sens right now, and that does seem right in terms of who has been carrying the play. I do wonder about some of the Sens’ D-zone play, though. Sens go from 0 to 5-alarm fire as soon as the structure breaks down even a little bit. Hopefully that’s something that just gets better as the season goes on.
Peterka scores after he and Cozens work the give-and-go against Sanderson on a 3-on-2. First time all game Sanderson’s looked out of place. Also I really need Ridly Greig to become the Brendan Gallagher we all know he can become, because I still kinda wish we’d drafted Peterka with that pick. DEUTSCHE SPIELER ÜBER ALLES.
Speaking of Deutsche Spieler, Andy just shut the door on a Stützle breakaway chance. Good for Craig. Again I am extremely Not Mad about this!
Man, Holden and Brannstrom just had a R O U G H shift and the puck ended up in the net behind Forsberg. Holden looked bad on the zone entries and Brannstrom looked rough by his own net. Tough to blame Forsberg on either of these goals against
At least the PK has been looking good? Don’t love that I’ve had so many two opportunities to watch it this period, though.
Ok Sens clearly should have scored on the powerplay here, except Stützle fed it across to Norris at approximately Mach 7 and Norris whiffed on it. Levels of Not Mad increasing!
Tkachuk just whiffed on a one-timer in the exact middle of the slot on the 2-man advantage. I’ve never been so Not Mad in my life.
Stützle can’t convert on yet another breakaway. IS IT JUST ME OR SHOULD IT BE LIKE 5-1 FOR THE SENS RIGHT NOW?
Chabot going off for tripping again at the end of the 2nd. This is something to keep an eye on going forward, because the Sabres simply cannot wait to skate at Chabot and it’s paying off for them.
Forsberg has made some good glove saves in this PK. Really been enjoying having a goalie who uses his glove this game.
Sens starting this one on the powerplay. No good chances.
The boards are showing adds for Blue Moon. Does that mean that Labatt’s legendary trademark on beers with the word “Blue” in the name has finally expired? Not sure if you knew this, but in the rest of the world, Belgian Moon is called “Blue Moon” and the reason for that is because Labatt wouldn’t let any other “Blue” beer get sold. If you’re buying Blue Moon in beer stores now, let me know.
Other than the moments he’s looked bad, Brannstrom has actually looked pretty good, which I guess is just AKA “the experience of watching Erik Brannstrom”.
Tkachuk is shooting from absolutely everywhere tonight. Wonder if he made a bet with Timmy that he’ll have more goals this season.
Ok, when Craig Anderson is even gloving down the pucks that get tipped in front of the net, you know it’s just not your night.
Sens kill off their 4th penalty of the game. Can’t say the PK has been a complete vault this game, but 6.5 xG/60 from this game is definitely respectable PK defense.
Stützle denied by Anderson for the 3rd time in the game, this time with a wild poke check. Anderson’s got me yelling, “He’s just spinning the ball on his finger!” like Krusty watching the Washington Generals at this point.
Hard to believe this is still a one goal game. The Sens have failed to convert so many chances that it feels like they’re down by like 4 goals right now.
DeBrincat and Giroux have been pretty quiet this game from the 2nd period on, I gotta say. Giroux was in all alone against Anderson at the end of a shift with 3 minutes left and just fired it into the blocker, as if to prove my point.
Chabot giveaway at his own blue line with the net empty puts an exclamation point on a bit of a shaky game from him.
Just noticed that Victor Olafsson’s goal song is Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!. Good thing I love that song because I just got to hear it twice in 15 seconds.
That wasn’t the worst Sens game I’ve ever watched. Nothing but love and respect to Craig Anderson. Let’s try scoring some goddamn goals against the Leafs on Saturday.