Coming into training camp, there was some question as to which players would make the team in bottom-six roles. Tom Pyatt, Matt Puempel, Nick Paul, Ryan Dzingel, Max McCormick, and Phil Varone all had their sites set on a couple of openings. Now, there’s essentially no question. Dzingel continued his incredible start, scoring both of the goals that Ryan Miller allowed en route to a 3-0 shutout of the Vancouver Canucks.
The first goal was just the result of some nice effort by Dzingel. He picked up the puck in the neutral zone, dropped it to Derick Brassard, and then got to the net to put home an easy rebound. His speed and his ability to drive the net showed on the play. Ottawa outshot the Canucks 11-7 in the first.
The second period didn’t feature any scoring, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Vancouver outshot the Sens 12-7 in the period, and only some timely saves by Craig Anderson held them off the scoresheet. I thought in particular the Sedins showed that even at age 36, they are dangerous players on the cycle.
Full credit to Guy Boucher’s system in the third period. With the game on the line, the Sens held the Canucks to just three shots on goal. Vancouver may not be the league’s best team, but it’s still an impressive feat to hold off a team fighting for the win like that. Dzingel got his second of the game off a beautiful, beautiful feed by Bobby Ryan. Miller had no chance, and Dzingel cemented his place as first star of the game.
With Vancouver’s goalie pulled, the reunited trio of Mark Stone - Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau got the call, and they rewarded their coach’s promise by continually forcing turnovers and shooting at the empty net until finally Pageau’s shot went in. The Sens would then keep the Canucks out of the zone for the final couple minutes to preserve Andy’s shutout.
Sens Hero: Ryan Dzingel
Two goals. What more can you say?
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
Great game by a goalie who desperately needed one. The Sens didn’t need his absolute best tonight, but he gave it to them anyway.
Honourable Mention: Bobby Ryan
Seriously, check out that backhand dish:
Worth a comment: Line juggling
Boucher took a bit of an unorthodox approach to his lines tonight, essentially spreading scoring across three lines and then having an obvious fourth line. It mostly worked, with both Dzingel-Brassard-Ryan and Smith-Pageau-Stone having solid games. Hoffman-Turris-Pyatt probably didn’t go as well as he’d hoped, but overall this game ended up being a success.
Game Oddity: Penalties
Each team took a penalty in the first. Then there were no more. I don’t remember the last time I saw such a low-penalty game (outside of playoff Game 7s)
Special shoutout: The guy wearing a Mike Peluso jersey while celebrating the win
Game Flow (via Natural Stat Trick):
Shot Chart (via ESPN):
If they ever become available