Who would’ve expected ten goals from two of the league’s most stingy defensive teams? Shaky goaltending and high offense from both ends is what made this a 6-4 game, in favour of the Ottawa Senators. Mike Condon made his 10th straight start, and Carter Hutton made his third straight as Jake Allen has been struggling in the past month.
The first period started off with a fisticuff, as Chris Neil and Ryan Reaves would drop the gloves only two minutes into the game. Neil had to take some big punches from Reaves, who was gritty the whole night throwing the body.
Less than a minutes after the fight, the Sens scored the game’s opening goal for their 18th time of the season, after Jean-Gabriel Pageau potted the rebound off a Pyatt shot. The play was made possible by Erik Karlsson, who made a nifty steal to keep the puck inside the Blues’ zone. The Sens have now won 77.78% of games they’ve scored first in, tops in the NHL.
Later in the period, Kyle Turris took a hooking penalty, sending St. Louis to the power play. The Sens would almost fend off the Blues, except Paul Stastny would tip a Jay Bouwmeester shot just past a screened Condon, only seconds after the penalty expired. The Sens would get a power play chance later in the period, and although they had some good chances, the first period ended 1-1. The Sens led 8-7 in shots.
The first half of the second period belonged to the St. Louis, as the Sens would go minutes at a time without getting a shot attempt. The Blues would cycle the puck over and over, recovering after every chance. The Sens were fortunate to get out of that stretch unscathed.
Ottawa regained the lead 13:26 into the second, as Mike Hoffman potted his 9th power play goal of the season. Dion Phaneuf took a shot from the left point, which took a lucky deflection off Robert Bortuzzo right onto Hoffman’s stick. He made no mistake with the chance after missing a few great opportunities earlier. This now puts Hoffman tied for second place in the league for power play goals, already tying his total from last season.
The Sens’ power play was a bit odd tonight, as it looked dangerous at times, and sloppy during others. I think this had a lot to do with the difference between the two power play units, as unit one was moving the puck quickly and getting shots off, whereas the second unit was losing the puck a lot more, and didn’t have the same speed of movement that the first unit had.
Just over a minute later, Ryan Dzingel made a sprint towards the net, and Bobby Ryan found the smallest of gaps between Hutton’s pad and the left post. The puck slid over the goal line, and all of a sudden, the Sens had a two goal lead.
The Blues wouldn’t go out without a fight, though, as Kevin Shattenkirk ripped a wobbling shot from the point that fooled Mike Condon. It was a bit of a weak goal for the Sens’ netminder, who had it slip under his blocker without a screen. The goal came with less than a minute left in period two.
Brassard and Steen took matching slashing penalties with 30 seconds left, starting period three at 4-on-4 with the Sens up 3-2.
Here’s a fun stat: 44 seconds into the third period, with the play at 4-on-4, number 44 (Pageau) took a slashing penalty against Colton Parayko (who doesn’t wear 44, unfortunately). Seconds after the play switched to 5-on-4, pending UFA Kevin Shattenkirk sent a nice pass over to the recently-exited Alex Steen, who shot the puck past Condon to tie the game.
It only took one minute for Ottawa to get their lead back, as Mark Stone would get the puck in the St. Louis zone off a gaffe from Jaden Schwartz. He’d beat Carter Hutton with a clean wrist shot, with nobody picking up an assist.
St. Louis would continue to put shots towards the net, although the Sens’ defense was tight enough to keep them towards the outside. Marc Methot made a nice block off the edge of his skate, one of many blocks in this game. Both sides combined for a total 27 shot blocks, including five for Erik Karlsson.
With both goalies already smothered from allowing plenty of goals, the offence continued to pile up. Mike Hoffman got his second goal to make the game 5-3 with six minutes left, and Mark Stone also got his second on an empty netter for the Sens’ sixth goal of the game. Patrik Berglund would put one past Condon in the final minute, although it all for nothing as Ottawa held on for the victory. 6-4 was the final score.
Sens Hero: The Hoffman-Pageau-Pyatt line
The “third” line actually had the most TOI at 5v5 for Ottawa, and were responsible for two of the Sens’ goals. They combined for six points, and showed great chemistry on the nice passing play that led to Hoffman’s second goal.
Honourable Mention: Mark Stone
Mark Stone is amazing. This just has to be said every time.
Sens Zero: The Lazar-Kelly-Neil line
They may have only spent seven minutes together, but it was a terrible seven minutes as the Blues’ depth walked all over them. Neil finished with a 5v5 CF% of 30.77%, whereas Lazar and Kelly both finished below 20%.
Honourable Mention: Mike Condon
After only allowing more than two goals once in his first four games of 2016, Condon has now allowed four goals in two straight games. Maybe the fatigue of playing so many games is beginning to get to him.
Blues Zero: Carter Hutton
The Sens seem to be facing a fair amount of backups recently. Maybe it has to do with Condon getting starts? Either way, the Blues’ goalie allowed five goals on 23 shots for a .783 SV%. On a night that was low in shots on goal for both teams, Hutton couldn’t hold it together.