Many fans commented last season that Guy Boucher’s system seemed based on grinding out wins, keeping the score close and playing for overtime or a shootout. That’s been heavily on display to start this season, with the team going to its third-straight shootout. Thankfully, the Senators were able to actually pick up the victory. And to be fair, a 1-0-2 record to start the season isn’t bad considering Erik Karlsson hasn’t been playing.
The first period started off pretty well, with the Sens even getting on the board early thanks to a point shot from Cody Ceci that floated through. Jacob Markstrom likely wishes he could have that one back. Luckily for him, the Canucks would answer back with a point shot of their own from Christopher Tanev (am I the only one who remembers him just being called Chris?) floating through thanks to a Thomas Vanek screen.
Alexandre Burrows had a pretty good return to Vancouver, recording three shots in the first an generally getting up in people’s business. Frustrating was watching Ottawa get a four-minute powerplay thanks to a Derek Dorsett high-stick, and watching the team generate nothing. The Sens now are second in the league with 16 powerplay opportunities so far this season, and have 0 goals to show for it.
The second period actually saw Ottawa start to take over the game, outshooting them 15-8 in the period, but the lone goal would go to Vanek. Once again, a shot from far out snuck through thanks to a screen. It was starting to look like one of those games the Sens lose despite being better.
Thankfully, that wouldn’t happen, with Ryan Dzingel scoring just five minutes into the third period. Bobby Ryan got in on the forecheck to force a turnover. Jean-Gabriel Pageau would hit Ryan with the puck, and Ryan would make a gorgeous pass to Dzingel who buried it. Special credit for the goal goes to Pageau who worked very hard to stop on the edge of the crease and not interfere with Markstrom at all. It was also nice to see what Pageau could do separated from Nate Thompson for a bit. Not a knock on Thompson, just more a comment on Pageau’s oft-untapped offensive abilities.
That did it for scoring in regulation, meaning the teams would head to OT. Overtime would also solve nothing, so once again, the team would head to the shootout. I mean, if shootouts give you a 50% chance of winning, going to the shootout every game would give the Sens about 123 points on the year which would be pretty good. Anyway, Markus Granlund scored on the first shot of the shootout, but then everything would be saved until the sixth shooter, Kyle Turris. This meant extra shooters were needed. The deadlock was finally broken by Mark Stone in Round 5, giving the Sens their first win of the season.
- Bobby Ryan had a great game, playing 17 minutes, and earning the game-tying assist on a great individual effort. He now has three points in three games to start the year, which must be great for his confidence
- Fredrik Claesson played a team-high 26:51 tonight and looked good in it. I’m hoping this means once the D-corps is healthy, he’ll still be getting regular minutes.
- Part of why Freddie played so much is because Thomas Chabot only played 13:41, and Christian Jaros only played 6:22. I get that part of the point of having seven D is so you can shelter them, but it’s still probably better for the team to have Logan Brown playing only seven minutes than a defenceman. Guy Boucher should probably play his rookies slightly more.
- The big reason Freddie played so much though is because Chris Wideman only played 9:40 on the night. He actually had 70% of the 5v5 shot attempts when he was on the ice tonight, but he took two unnecessary penalties. He had two points in the first game of the year, so I doubt he’s permanently in the doghouse, but he also lost Boucher’s trust in the playoffs, so who knows.