Tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins was a fun one. It struck that perfect balance between being a comfortable Sens win - and over one of our most hated rivals, as well! - but also being close enough at times to still be interesting.
Most importantly, we embarrassed the Pittsburgh Penguins, and that feels really good.
Ottawa kicked off the game on a good note, with a nice scoring chance from none other than Tom Pyatt. They kept the momentum going, getting the first 4 shots on net of the game and generally looking like the better team for the first five minutes.
Unfortunately, the legendary Drake Batherson soon went to the penalty box for tripping. Guess he needs to be sent down now.
There were no Nova Scotians on the ice for the next two minutes, as Sidney Crosby was out of the Penguins’ lineup. But of course, because Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh, it didn’t really matter too much. The Pens’ offense was scary good, peppering Anderson with excellent shots for the entirety of a powerplay that, mercifully, did not result in a goal. The Sens killed the penalty surprisingly well, but with their record on the PK and Pittsburgh’s star power, it kind of felt like a lucky break.
Ottawa got their own chance on the powerplay not long after, with the Penguins’ Matt Cullen going to the box for spearing Bobby Ryan in the face. Love those guys.
Let’s just say that the Sens have had better powerplays than that one. The best scoring chance was had by Kris Letang.
The Pens’ powerplay got right back to work when Magnus Paajaarvi got called for a dangerous elbow to the head. Naturally, Letang soon found the back of the net to make the score 1-0. With all due respect to Craig Anderson, it seemed kind of inevitable.
On the bright side, Ottawa bounced right back and got a few nice scoring chances, before Brady Tkachuk eventually evened the score. Ah, the joys of having a young team.
Not to be outdone by his adopted son, Mark Stone soon put the Sens ahead for their first lead of the game, tipping in a shot from our adopted son, Thomas Chabot.
It was 3-1 a few minutes later, when Matt Duchene used his speed to make the Penguins look silly. The Sens went into the intermission with a two goal lead.
Don Cherry said some offensive things during the intermission, and I think we were all glad when the game started up again. The first few minutes of the second period were largely uneventful, but an early Sens powerplay created some excitement. Ottawa got quite a few excellent chances, but somehow the puck stayed out of the net.
The Senators looked very good for the rest of the period, and with the exception of a few short bursts of offensive power, the Penguins definitely did not.
Unfortunately, Borowiecki did what he does best and took a penalty with just under five minutes left. Luckily for the Sens, though, Pittsburgh was having an off night, and also Mark Stone exists. Stone stole the puck and scored an absolutely beautiful shorthanded goal.
To make the night even weirder, Cody Ceci of all people made it 5-1 less than a minute later. Are the Penguins okay?
And more importantly, how many scouts were in attendance today and would they be interested in a defenseman who gets top pairing minutes and definitely does things like that all the time?
The Penguins came out very strong to start the third period, and scored just over two minutes in. They continued to dominate play for the next few minutes, until Cullen made the score 5-3 on a very nice goal. It was like we were watching two completely different teams from the ones that had shown up in the first and second periods.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only person starting to get slightly nervous. Weirder things have happened than the Sens blowing a four goal lead in the third period, and the Penguins looked good.
I, for one, fully blame my colleague for this turn of events. Please go shame Colin for declaring the game won before the end of the second period.
The curse..... it is officially gone— Colin Cudmore (@CudmoreColin) November 18, 2018
(Is the curse broken though? This is the third consecutive win I’ve recapped. This has never happened before. I’m shocked. Am I finally free? I truly never thought this day would come.)
Thankfully, Matt Duchene killed the Pens’ momentum with a goal to make the score 6-3. Drake Batherson also got an assist. It is still, indeed, #BathTime.
Unfortunately, after that goal the wave was started at the CTC, which was a sure sign of impending disaster.
Kessel made the score 6-4 with about 3 minutes left, because of course he did. The game was absolutely terrifying from that point on, as the Penguins showed off their offensive abilities with their net empty.
Mark Stone came within inches of completing the hat trick, but no luck. What is it with the Sens and not being able to complete hat tricks?
While no hats were thrown onto the ice tonight, Ottawa did get the win, extending their winning streak to two games! That might not seem too impressive, but it’s only their second winning streak of the season, so it’s a pretty big deal.
- Mark Stone, man. What a legend
- It continues to be #BathTime. Batherson had two assists and looked good all night
- Bobby Ryan continues to be surprisingly good
- Duchene had a pretty good game
- This isn’t really a notable performance, but Derrick Brassard played his first game against Ottawa since the trade and I miss him
- Brady Tkachuk had a good night too