For the first time since Chris Kunitz scored an absolute heartbreaker of a goal in May, the Ottawa Senators faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins. A win was not going to equal revenge, but you can bet that the Senators were hyped for this one.
The Senators were looking for their second three game win streak of the season, while the Penguins came in winning just three of their previous nine games. Although most people were expecting high-octane offense in this game, it was anything but that.
The most noticeable thing about the first period was how fast the Senators looked. Most of that came from Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene, as it was incredibly fun to watch those two as well as everybody else in the top-six in the early going. The first twenty minutes were scoreless, but it was an encouraging start that would’ve been even better were it not for some great saves by Matt Murray. This is definitely one that Hoffman wants back:
Duchene had half of the Senators shots in the first period by himself with five, and besides one Penguins powerplay, Ottawa controlled the majority of the play:
Missed most of the first, but this looks pretty good to me... pic.twitter.com/FkS5ZX3ylq— Brad T (@Sammich_BLT) November 17, 2017
In the early going of the second period, the Senators did not have the same kind of pizzazz as they did in the previous twenty minutes. Luckily for Ottawa, neither did Pittsburgh really.
The Penguins certainly had more chances in the second period, and besides a breakaway from Carl Hagelin, it was looking like it was going to be 0-0 heading into the third. However, Patric Hornqvist and Jake Guentzel had other ideas.
Craig Anderson had no chance to see Olli Maatta’s wicked shot from the point on a one-timer, plus once Hornqvist made slight contact on the puck, it was an automatic goal. It was the kind of goal that you can’t even assign blame to anyone.
Then with just nine seconds left in the period, an eerily similar goal doubled their lead. Brian Dumoulin’s fluttering shot got through the traffic in front and Guentzel got the final touch on it, making it 2-0 after forty.
Despite essentially nothing happening for either team in the first half of the third, the Senators would eventually awaken.
With 9:31 to go, Jean-Gabriel Pageau got the Senators and the crowd back into the game. Ryan Dzingel’s pass sprung him past the Pittsburgh defense, and Pageau roofed it top corner past Murray on the partial break.
At that point, it looked like a hard push for the last ten minutes was about to happen. And while Ottawa had a few chances here and there, it wasn’t exactly the effort you would hope for. A late powerplay would have been a perfect boost, but the refs were quiet tonight as they called only five all night.
Boucher pulled the goalie with about 1:30 to go, but they couldn’t keep possession long enough in the offensive zone to get anything going. After getting the puck out of their zone, Sidney Crosby assisted on an empty-netter to Riley Sheahan, which put the game to bed with a score of 3-1.
Despite a promising first period, the Senators seemingly ran out of gas. I’ll give them a pass for this game considering it’s their first since returning from Sweden, but Saturday vs. the Coyotes there are no excuses.
His speed is a breath of fresh air, and seeing him play with Dzingel (even for a bit) is a wonderful experience. He finished the night with five shots, and it’s only a matter of time before the points come in bunches for him. He’s come to the Senators as advertised.
Wideman played only 8:16 tonight, and besides getting an assist, he didn’t do much as a winger or as a defenseman. However, it’s notable that he left late in the game after he awkwardly did the splits and Evgeni Malkin fell on him.
It looked like his knee may have twisted the wrong way, so that’s not very good news. Even if the Senators want to end up trading him (which I think is a bad idea), they better hope he’s healthy so that they can actually receive an asset in return for him.
Considering how uneventful this game was, there really isn’t much else to say about specific players for Ottawa.
The next game for the Senators is on Saturday at 2:00 vs. the Arizona Coyotes.