The amount of fight in this team has become such a joy to watch. Coming off a fantastic win against the LA Kings, the Sens did a good job maintaining the momentum. The game ended with a 4-1 score, with Tkachuk having his first career game winning goal and Zack Smith sealing the deal with the a goal in a net that was empty for a large portion of the third period.
Keshia Chante was present tonight to sing the national anthems prior to the game wearing a Ray Emery jersey. During the first period, the Sens did a great job honouring the late Emery in the presence of one of his closest friends, Jason Spezza, with a touching tribute. Spezza was obviously emotional about the video and you could tell the fans in the stands were touched as well. A nice touch by the Senators to time it with Spezza’s return and more importantly to invite Emery’s former fiance to do the anthems.
The Sens are still without Cody Ceci, Ryan Dzingel and Alex Formenton but that seemed to only make them better. After giving up the first goal on a perfect pass from Spezza on the power play but didn’t breakdown for the remainder of the period and continued the push. Shots were 14-9 in favour of the Stars but the Sens still looked solid and very much in the game after a slow start to the period.
The Sens managed to keep the game in check until they started the take over with a late goal in the second period by no other than new phenom Max Lajoie assisted by Bobby Ryan and a much determined Matt Duchene. The penalty kill did a good job making sure the Sens had a chance to stay in (and eventually control) the game with Craig Anderson once again proving to be the best penalty killer on the team.
Going into the third tied, DeMelo continues to impress with a pass that went straight to the hot hand of young Brady Tkachuk who had the perfect tip in the net for his third goal of the season. Almost half way through the third, Matt Duchene who has been pushing hard all game found Mikkel Boedker with a sweet, sweet pass that extended the lead to 3-1 and gave the new acquisition his first Ottawa Senators goal.
In an odd move, the Stars elected to pull Ben Bishop to the bench for an extra attacker with 7:40 minutes left. I am not sure I would ever want to take that risk but then again, they have a lot of star power they can trust in so good on Head Coach Jim Montgomery for the move . Craig Anderson has been a hero and wanted to go for a goal tonight but sadly for us all he wasn’t able to chip it far in his attempt. In all fairness, the Sens were on their toes and shots were 8-0 Stars after that Boedker goal so maybe the idea isn’t too wild considering how close they were to scoring. The Stars did not score on their initial empty net adventure but had Bishop back on the bench with over 3 minutes left but that only ended in a Zack Smith dagger that finalized a gutsy and smart win for the Senators. It still amazes me that Boucher thinks a pairing of Boro and Harpur is a good idea to protect a lead late in the game; while they got away with it this time because this team is just putting a collective effort to cover everyone off I just don’t see the logic.
- Craig Anderson was the first star of the game and for good reason. He stopped 37 out of 38 shots and gave the Sens confidence throughout the game but especially during the penalty kills and the wave of shots during the Stars extended empty net periods. When Anderson is on, this team just feeds off him and so far he has been focused in his efforts to give the team a chance to win every night. Beast mode, baby!
- Max Lajoie continues to impress both defensively and offensively. He is playing with confidence and really taking advantage of all the opportunities he’s getting. It’s still amazing hat Lajoie now has 4 goals in 5 games when his junior career high is 8 goals!
- Matt Duchene is still looking for his first goal of the season but he is just playing some great hockey in the process. The pass to Boedker tonight was just pure magic and his composure to stay with the puck to pass it Lajoie for the tying goal was just a one of the many great skills he’s been making the past few games. The goal will come, Hali don’t you worry and just sign an extension now.
- Brady Tkachuk gave us a bit of a scare when he came off the ice but the machine shook it off and was back on the ice for another strong performance continuing to impress with his net presence. His goal stood to be the game winning goal but let’s be real, the Tkachuk highlight of the night was his post Smith goal celebration. Seriously, this kid is just so much fun.
- Mikkel Boedker has been frustrating to watch early on but I will give him credit for his goal tonight and hope this opens the gates for him.
- Mark Borowiecki doesn’t impress me often but I have to give him a shoutout for his hit on Jamie Benn that had him shaking his head till the very last second of the game.
Coming Up Next
The Senators get a lengthy break before continuing their home stretch against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.