After the thrill of Saturday’s 6-3 win over Toronto, tonight’s game was very different in terms of excitement. Both the Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings were starting their backup goaltenders, and the biggest offensive catalysts of the night featured the likes of Nate Thompson, Tom Pyatt and Adrian Kempe. A game of the like fittingly ended in a shootout, although the Kings came away victorious by a final score of 3-2.
L.A. kicked off the game to a hot start, with Alec Martinez beating Mike Condon 24 seconds in. Adrian Kempe won the faceoff in the offensive zone, and the quick slapshot from Alec Martinez was too quick for Condon to read. The Sens found themselves in the hole early.
Ottawa rebounded with a goal of their own soon after, this one courtesy of Dion Phaneuf. Trotting into the Kings’ zone uninterrupted, Phaneuf wired a slapshot over the shoulder of Darcy Kuemper, tying the game at one apiece. Los Angeles controlled play for the remainder of the period, with twenty three shot attempts at even strength to Ottawa’s seven.
Although the second period was scoreless (with no penalties called either), the score could’ve easily been 4-4 had the puck been less bouncy. Both teams had significant chances with a wide open net, although nobody could convert. Chris DiDomenico in particular came extremely close to potting his first career NHL goal. Ottawa appeared to be gaining momentum, although the teams entered the third period still tied at one.
Both teams played a clean game, accumulating only a combined six penalty minutes over the course of the evening. One of those belonged to Fredrik Claesson, who received two for interference early in the third. The league’s best penalty kill was fantastic, not only by limiting any opportunities for Los Angeles, but by putting the Sens up 2-1 shorthanded. A good defensive read by Nate Thompson sent him and Tom Pyatt the other way against for a two-on-two. Pyatt took the shot, and Thompson squeezed through the rebound for his second goal of the season. The last thing I would’ve expected to say nine games in is that Nate Thompson has as many goals as Mike Hoffman, yet here we are.
Ottawa spent the remaining time tightening the neutral zone and grasping to their lead, and it almost worked. With under two minutes remaining, however, Condon turned the puck over behind the net to Kempe, who made no mistake in tying the game.
3-on-3 OT saw the Sens get the better share of the chances, although both goalies stayed solid to force a shootout. Mike Cammalleri had the only goal after two rounds (Turris and Stone were both stopped), and Kempe, who already had two points, was given the chance to win it. His slick stickhandling was too much for Condon to handle, giving L.A. the comeback victory 3-2.
Tom Pyatt: Not the player you’d typically expect to have a huge game, Pyatt seemed to be everywhere on the ice tonight. He’s been critical in keeping the Sens with the league’s #1 penalty kill, and also contributed offensively, tying for the team lead with five shot attempts.
Nate Thompson: Like Pyatt, Thompson’s been instrumental on the PK, and was also one of only three Senators to finish with a Corsi% above 50%.
Mike Condon: Late giveaway aside, Condon still had to face 43 shots through regulation and OT, stopping all but two. I wouldn’t place too much blame on him for the shootout, as both Cammalleri and Kempe were near flawless in their execution.
Erik Karlsson: No three assists for the captain tonight, but he was still clearly the Sens’ best player. He saved the game with an incredible defensive play in OT, and was setting up plays left and right offensively.
The Philadelphia Flyers (5-4-0) visit Canada’s capital on Thursday at 7:30p.m.