Once Rogers remembered to broadcast the game, I was able to watch my first Sens game of the new season. Did I miss anything during the delay? Yes, in fact, an early goal by Jean-Gabriel Pageau. However, this goal was not a typical display of Pageau's skill, but rather the result of a Mark Stone bank pass which deflected off Pageau and into the net. The Blackhawks were able to tie things up before the end of the period, as Chicago prospect Adam Henry launched a puck at Ottawa's goal. The shot deflected off Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, a college free agent from Bowling Green State, and off defenseman Ben Harpur's face and in. Harpur left to get treatment (stitches) and returned in the second period. Towards the end of the period, Sens forward Danny Hobbs positively drilled a Hawks defender, forcing him to turn the puck over to Hobbs and resulted in the Blackhawk sitting dazed on the bench. The first period ended tied at one.
Both teams continued the parade to the penalty box in the second period. Not a rough or dirty game, both sides lacked discipline and took the kind of sloppy penalties you take when playing with a new group of teammates. Even the fight between peanut butter genius Darren Kramer and Johnny McGuire was more about fulfilling roles than any actual ill will between the two. As the middle frame wore on the Sens took control of the game, aided by several Hawks penalties. Midway through the period Andre Petersson, a late addition to camp looking to impress, saucered a nice pass to Pageau on the break during a Sens power play. Pageau, who is too good for this level of competition, tapped the puck past the Chicago goalie for his second of the game. The period ended with the Sens dominating play and ahead on the scoreboard, 2-1.
The strong play continued to start the third period; Petersson continued to play well, converting on a nice pass from Ludwig Karlsson on the power play to put the Sens ahead, 3-1. However, Chicago pushed back in the third period. A blown play at the Blackhawks blueline by Ben Harpur allowed an odd-man rush and Chicago's second goal, a shorthanded marker. Harpur tried to pinch, got tangled with a Hawks forward, turned over the puck, and was unable to recover. Chicago's 6'6" goalie Brandon Whitney came up big in the third, stopping both Pageau and Petersson on breakaways. Ottawa's lack of discipline allowed Chicago to dictate the last ten minutes of the period. What should have been a clear victory at the start of the third ended tied as Ottawa's defense in the final minute allowed the Hawks to equalize. Successive icing calls on the Sens resulted in collective scrambling by Ottawa and a Chicago goal with 20 seconds left to play.
Overtime solved nothing, but generated more Pageau-related highlights, as the speedy centre danced around the Chicago defenders, only to put the puck off the crossbar. The Blackhawks converted just once in the shootout, but goals from Petersson and Curtis Lazar secured victory for the Sens.
Sens Hero: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Um, he is too good for this level. Dominant at both ends of the ice and in all situations - even-strength, power play, and penalty kill. He should definitely start the season in Ottawa. He is playing like he never wants to play with prospects or minor leaguers ever again. The legend grows.
Sens Hero: Andre Petersson
Building off his two assist performance from Thursday, Petersson had a strong game. He got better as the game wore on, contributing a goal, an assist, and a shootout marker. After an injury-plagued 2012-13 seemed to spell the end of his time as a prospect in the Sens' system, Petersson has suddenly become relevant once more.
Honourable Mention: Cody Ceci
The pairing of Ceci and Chris Wideman looked strong all afternoon. Ceci in particular looked dominant quarterbacking the power play, especially in the second period. Ceci also had some slick plays in his own end, taking the puck away from Hawks attackers on a few occasions. If the Sens and the Cowen camp have not resolved their difference by the end of training camp, I wouldn't be surprised if Ceci gets at least a 9 game try out with the big team to start the season.
Honourable Mention: The Pageau line (Pageau, Mark Stone, Vincent Dunn)
This line was the best line on the ice. Stone and Dunn looked good at times, but how much was due to the play of Pageau?
Dishonourable Mention: François Brassard
Brassard, a goaltending prospect from the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, entered play midway through the game. While he didn't look bad, he didn't look great either. He looked uncomfortable out of his net and playing the puck and was beaten glove-side on Chicago's shorthanded goal. To be fair, he faced more pressure than Andrew Hammond, who started the game, and the Sens were often on the penalty kill with Brassard between the pipes.