The Friday the 13th curse didn’t stop the Ottawa Senators tonight, as although at times their play looked scary in their own end, the goal scoring fired up to pull away with a 6-0 win. The Sens are now 2-0 on their western coast road trip, and look to take the sweep tomorrow against Edmonton.
Before the game started, Guy Boucher decided to throw a bit of a curveball:
Matching up against Jagr, Versteeg and Bennett, the middling combo didn’t last long on the ice as Nate Thompson took a penalty eight seconds in for holding Sam Bennett’s stick. The 4v5 was killed off with ease, although it was an odd decision when many better players were available. The first period overall seemed very sloppy, going down 13-1 in shot attempts before the 10 minute mark had passed.
Playing his third game of the season for the Flames was Curtis Lazar, who was making his debut against his former team. Lazar was unspectacular on the night, as he was one of two Flames players without a shot attempt all night. Mark Borowiecki threw a big hit on him in the first, with Michael Ferland dropping the gloves to the defence of the youngster.
Remember that opening lineup? The initial mockery was answered, as a passing play from Thompson to Pyatt to Ceci earned the Sens the first goal of the night. Ceci raced pass a lost Calgary defender to make the pinch and tie his goal total from last season. He’s a fast player, although we rarely get to see him use it with his disproportionate amount of time in the defensive zone. However, when he gets going, he can be dangerous.
The special teams was a big story heading into tonight’s game. Ottawa’s power play had yet to score on 16 attempts, and the structure made it look like they wouldn’t get one soon. Interestingly enough, the Sens weren’t the only team in this boat, as prior the game, the Kings, Ducks and Islanders had also yet to score on 15+ tries.
The penalty kill, however, had the Sens on top of the league as they remained the only team untouched at a perfect 9-for-9. The perfection remained, as that number improved to 12-for-12.
Although the power play looked uninspiring (Backlund’s double minor produced few good opportunities), the code was finally cracked, and just barely. Derick Brassard took a shot from the top of the circle beating Mike Smith, giving the Sens a 2-0 lead. The penalty to Dougie Hamilton was from 16:43 to 18:43 - the goal was scored at 18:43. The NHL has changed their decision a few times as to whether it counted as a PPG, although regardless is was a result of the power play’s system.
The third period is where Ottawa really took control. The power play struck for a second time, with Mike Hoffman lazering a slap shot from his signature spot. It didn’t take too long for the Sens to find the back of the net again. Mark Stone dangled through everyone at the blue line, and fed a pass to Mark Borowiecki who sent it towards the net. Stone picked up the rebound to increase Ottawa’s lead to four.
The offensive pressure continued to pour on. Ryan Dzingel scored his second of the season after netting the game tying goal on Tuesday. Calgary’s defensive corps completely broke apart, leaving Dzingel wide open in the slot. Thomas Chabot’s primary assist gave him his first NHL point of what will surely be many.
The 5-0 goal prompted the Flames to switch out Mike Smith for Eddie Lack, who wasn’t much better. On yet another power play, Chris Wideman skated to the top of the circle and fired the puck under the blocker of Lack. The Sens had obviously found the hole in Calgary’s PK system, and rode it out right to the end to earn their first regulation win of the season.
Cody Ceci: You could look at Ceci’s games through two different lenses and get two completely different results. There was the offensive side, where he was making nice plays to put himself on the scoresheet twice. We also saw more of the same Ceci that we’re used to, the one who gets consistently stuck in the defensive zone. He was on the ice for nearly half of Calgary’s 5v5 shot attempts, far more than anyone else on the Sens. I’m divided on his performance tonight, although I think it’s definitely better than we’re used to. If Guy Boucher could stop burying him with defensive zone starts, I think it could go a long way.
Mike Hoffman: Hoffman was all over the ice tonight, notching his first goal of the season while leading all players with seven shots on goal. We also saw his defensive side tonight, making a couple fantastic backchecks.
Craig Anderson: How can a team win 6-0 and have no mention of the goaltender? Although the Flames managed only 25 shots on goal, and with a significant amount coming from low danger areas, Anderson was still perfect in his fourth consecutive start. He’ll take a break tomorrow as Mike Condon will get the call.
The Power Play: The Sens must’ve read Callum’s post from earlier today, as there seemed to be more movement than usual. A lot of the success can attributed to poor performances by the Flames’ defence and goalies, although it’s still an improvement.
Crazy stat that doesn’t really mean anything but I still have to share it: The Calgary Flames had almost as many of their shots blocked by the Sens (24) as they did on goal (25). This is the closest difference in any game so far this season.
The road trip wraps up tomorrow, as the Sens face the Draisaitl-less Oilers at 10:00 p.m. Then you can get back to your normal sleep schedule.