Tonight was a very special night in Colorado, as it marked the return of a much-loved player to the place where he had spent most of his career.
That’s right. Cody Ceci was returning to the Sens’ lineup.
Also, Matt Duchene was back in Colorado for the first time since he was pulled off the bench mid-game.
Ah, simpler times. I can’t believe that was only a year ago.
Colorado got possession early on and didn’t give it up for awhile. They looked a bit disjointed and messy to start the game, but so did the Sens, so it sort of evened out. Defense? What is defense? Hockey is always so more fun without defense.
Even though the Avalanche were clearly the better team during the first few minutes, it was Ryan Dzingel who opened the scoring, with an absolutely beautiful shot from up close. It was a play that combined hockey smarts - he was right in the crease - with fantastic stickwork. Dzingel’s pretty good.
The Sens actually got a few good chances after that, although I should mention that there were the types of chances that come from the other team not really knowing how to defend. You know those cool plays where you’re impressed at first, then you’re kind of confused as to how it even happened, and then you watch the replay and you realize, ah, it’s because the other team is bad.
Anderson made a huge stop near the halfway point, and the teams continued to trade chances, until a very cool thing happened. Cody Ceci’s shot from the point was redirected by none other than Matt Duchene. Needless to say the crowd wasn’t too happy about that one.
The best part was that he scored right after they played a tribute video for him. Ouch.
The Sens looked fairly good for the remainder of the first frame, which was capped off by a huge Anderson save with about ten seconds to go.
Another huge Anderson save happened right at the beginning of the second period, as the Avs came out of the gate with lots of speed. Five minutes in, the shots were 4-0 for Colorado and the Sens looked pretty overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, Ottawa soon lost two forwards to injury. Paajarvi was slammed into the boards and left the ice bleeding profusely from his mouth, and a few minutes later Smith went down and took a skate to the face. Both injuries looked very gruesome and I hope both players have a speedy recovery.
In slightly better news, Alex Formenton almost got his first NHL goal, on a nice rush to the Colorado net. In general, the Sens picked up the pace quite a bit close to the halfway mark, getting a few nice looks at the net.
Of course, the Avalanche soon regained possession and set up what looked like a powerplay in the Sens’ zone. Samuel Girard opened the scoring for Colorado with his first goal of the season.
Only a few seconds later, Matt Duchene responded with his second goal of the night, right off the faceoff. It was a much nicer goal than his first, scored off and actual shot. So much excitement!
Also, the man has excellent timing with his goals.
Colorado continued to walk all over Ottawa after that, putting on a skating and stickhandling clinic that the Sens could actually really use. Things only got worse when Bobby Ryan went to the box for tripping, and the Avs’ powerplay went to work for the first time. Sure enough, Mackinnon soon cut the Sens’ lead in half with a gorgeous one-timer.
The period ended with lots of back and forth between the two teams, and a late powerplay for Colorado, but no additional goals. It was 3-2 Ottawa going into the third.
The Avalanche evened the score only a minute into the final frame, banking the puck off Anderson in a slightly lucky bounce. Dzingel got a nice chance right after that, and Duchene came incredibly close to completing his hat trick only a few seconds later, but Colorado soon regained possession.
There were hardly any whistles at the beginning of the third, which was bad for the Sens because they spent a lot of time trapped in their zone, but good for me because I’m in Atlantic time, it was very late, and I wanted this game to finish early so that I could sleep. Also, the pace of this game was good for keeping me awake, so thanks for that, Sens. Much appreciated.
Unsurprisingly, Gabriel Landeskog soon put the Avalanche up 4-3 with a very pretty goal. I feel like if you keep giving up really pretty goals, it might be a sign that you’re not very good at defense.
Colorado continued to dominate after that, and Nathan Mackinnon soon doubled their lead. A Sens powerplay near the halfway point of the period failed to create a goal, but it did generate a bit of momentum.
Unfortunately, the Avalanche extended their lead again with just under five minutes left in the game. It was the final nail in the Sens’ coffin.
- Anderson had a fantastic game, and made some really good saves
- Duchene was on fire
- Dzingel looked pretty good too