After the bye week, the Senators were coming into Minnesota having lost their first two games in what is essentially the second half of the year. With Mark Stone out of the lineup, expectations were even lower than they normally have been the past few months.
On a stormy night in Minneapolis, this game was anything but wild.
The game started as bad as possible, as Zach Parise opened the scoring just 45 seconds in. Erik Karlsson failed to pick him up on the backside of the net, and Mike Condon had no chance on the play:
Zach Parise sneaks in behind the Sens' defence to burry his second goal of the season. pic.twitter.com/fqJrbkZvCT— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 23, 2018
The rest of the period was better, with Condon making some nice saves, and there were a few tame chances at both ends of the ice. The Senators took another too many men penalty near the end of the period, but an effective penalty kill made that moot point.
In the second period, it was more of the same in a slow-moving game, but a Chris DiDomenico pass and a Matt Duchene breakaway seemed to wake up the Senators. DiDomenico’s pass sprung Duchene all the way up the ice, and his five-hole goal tied it at one.
It was Duchene’s fourth goal in seven games, and DiDomenico’s seventh point in 14 games overall:
And after that, Ottawa realized that they were in this game. The next few shifts were all in Minnesota’s zone, which forced Ryan Suter to take boarding penalty a few minutes later on Colin White.
Ottawa continued to get a few more chances, but to no avail. In fact, the Wild were close to scoring on a short-handed 2-on-0, but Matt Cullen didn’t get the best of shots off. While the Senators had some promising shifts in the middle part of the period, the Wild then came right back trying to re-take the lead.
Somehow the score was still 1-1 after two periods thanks to Condon who made a few more pretty saves on what could have easily been goals. Even to end the period, Jason Zucker had a partial breakaway, but luckily Karlsson got there in time to knock the puck off his stick as time expired.
After two, the 5v5 shot attempts were 44-33 for Minnesota.
Five minutes into the final frame though, Zucker would make up for his missed attempt at the end of the second period. Thomas Chabot failed to get the puck up the boards in the defensive zone, and couldn’t pick it up behind the net either. With Derick Brassard covering the front of the net, Zucker sneakily came in behind him and tapped home a perfect pass from Mikael Granlund:
It’s not the kind of shift you’d like to see from Chabot, but then again, even Karlsson makes mistakes like that every game.
Soon after, a Senators powerplay would yield four shots on net, but not their second goal of the game. Not capitalizing would prove costly, as a dangerous hit by Fredrik Claesson gave Minnesota their third powerplay of the game. It wasn’t exactly the smartest play by him, as it could’ve been either interference or boarding.
On the powerplay, the Wild added to their lead with just under 10 minutes left, which pretty much put the game to bed. Granlund had another nice play as he made Karlsson, Gabriel Dumont, and Mark Borowiecki look like pylons as he blew past everyone on the goal.
The rest of the game featured not much of an onslaught of chances from Ottawa, which is pretty disappointing considering teams with a two-goal lead late in the game are always going to sit back.
The final score would end up being 3-1 for Minnesota, with a few missed checks ultimately to blame for the loss. It wasn’t their worst game by any means, but they got out-chanced again, didn’t capitalize on the chances they did have, and they let Condon out to dry.
- Colin White was flying out there tonight. He made some nice passes in the offensive zone, and he was close to scoring his first career NHL goal. He’s only averaging just over 10 minutes of TOI per game, although he did get 15:35 tonight.
- Absolutely nobody is surprised that the Stone-less Senators scored only one goal.
- I’m not sure why DiDomenico isn’t consistently in the lineup while players like Gabriel Dumont and Alex Burrows are. In fact, as our friend Colin points out, he’s already tied with Burrows in points. He’s far from perfect, but he can contribute offensively at least.
- Condon was very good tonight despite giving up three goals. I don’t think any goalie could’ve stopped any of those chances.
- Matt Duchene continues his solid play. He’s looking more comfortable every game.
- Karlsson has had a lot more rough games than usual this year. He got dummied on the Granlund goal, and I really hope those mistakes have something to do with his last injury.
Ottawa has a quick turn-around as they play in St. Louis tomorrow night at 8pm EST.