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Ottawa Senators Fall Short of Comeback, Lose 6-4 to Dallas Stars

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54 shots against!!!

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I’m still mad about LeBreton, guys.

This game just felt weird to cover. You’d think that playing hockey would be the biggest thing to talk about for a hockey team, yet recent developments made this feel like a third or fourth tier topic. Yet here we are, watching the game we love, while the team we love struggled to do anything defensively in their 6-4 loss to the Dallas Stars. Let’s talk about the game.

Ryan Dzingel got things going quickly for Ottawa to put them on the board first. Battling for a position in front, he received a slick pass from Bobby Ryan down low, putting the puck past Anton Khudobin three minutes in. The goal was Dzingel’s 10th of the season, putting his on pace for 38 goals this year. It was also the 99th point of his career, as he’ll likely hit the 100-point milestone very soon.

Jamie Benn got one back for Dallas halfway through the period, as Chabot had shifted a bit too far out to cover the one-timer in the slot. Ottawa’s defence had struggled in basically every single facet this game, giving little to no pressure whenever the Stars would enter the zone. It became obvious early, allowing 19 shots on goal after only the first period.

Ottawa would regain their lead on the power play, with Gavin Bayreuther in the box for tripping. Chabot’s shot from the point was on net, although Khudobin kept it out. Tkachuk’s first rebound attempt didn’t go in either, although his second attempt in close was successful. It’s been a while since the Sens have had such a fantastic net-front presence on the power play, opting to use some odd choices last season such as Dion Phaneuf. The opponent’s crease is Tkachuk’s second home, and his impact is really translating.

The goal was Tkachuk’s seventh of the season, as he’s approaching historic levels of rookie goal scoring.

Dallas’ shots continued to mount, as Craig Anderson wasn’t given a single break. The Stars scored two more in the second period to even the score then take the lead, courtesy of rookie Miro Heiskanen and Taylor Fedun. The latter goal was Fedun’s first as a Star, spending the beginning of the season in the AHL after signing with them this past off-season.

Shots on goal, after 40 minutes, were 43-21 for Dallas. Forty-three shots against!!! Anderson will be having nightmares about this one.

And if the writing wasn’t on the wall already, the Stars continued to pile on the offence, as they started to run away with the goals. Jason Spezza made it 4-2, then Esa Lindell made it 5-2 less than two minutes later. It was tough to watch, as the Sens’ defence gave their fans a few more grey hairs, then had them pulled out in frustration. Nothing was rolling.

Then, for a moment, the #PeskySens returned. Max Lajoie scored on a nifty wrist shot to bring the Sens within two (his sixth of the season), then a few minutes later, Zack Smith scored to make things really interesting. The Sens were still getting outplayed, although the Stars had started to relax a tad, and the players capitalized.

Then in true Sens fashion, not only did the comeback attempt fall short, but it was sealed by a player’s first NHL goal, with Gavin Bayreuther shooting into the empty net. Final score: Ottawa 4, Dallas 6.

Biggest Standouts

  • This was Ben Harpur’s first game back from injury, and it went about as you’d expect. He was tossed right back into the top four, playing 19:13, and didn’t stand a chance covering any of the Stars’ forwards.
  • The fourth line of Paajarvi-Pyatt-McCormick, as excruciating as they’ve been to watch all season, somehow continued to lower the bar. At 5v5, McCormick was on for only one shot attempt for and nine against. Pyatt: one for, twenty against. Paajarvi: zero for, twelve against. Can someone in the advanced stat community tell me if that is good?
  • To make things worse, two Sens players had to leave for the locker room. Bobby Ryan left in the second period with what originally appeared to be something with his hand, although it might’ve just been nature calling. Mark Stone also left after taking a puck to the face, although both returned quickly.
  • Speaking of Ryan, he also had three assists on the night.
  • The Sens allowed a total 54 shots against this game, just short of the franchise record of 57 in 2013. They were on pace for 65 after two periods.
  • The Stars held their Hockey Fights Cancer Night, and in a classy move honoured the late Mike Foley, the Sens’ former equipment manager who passed away due to cancer earlier this month. Like the Sens’ HFC night, it’s always great to see the teams reaching out this way, raising money for cancer research.

Up Next

The road trip moves back East into New York, as the Sens face the Rangers on Monday.