The result was basically decided before the first drop of the puck.
Normally, when I write that in a recap it means the Sens lost, as they tend to do whenever I write the recap. It’s quite distressing, honestly, both because I have to pay close attention to a terrible game and because I have to live with the guilt of knowing that I, and only I, am the cause of their terrible play.
But no. My recapping yet another win was not the only miracle to occur tonight.
Tonight, for the first time since joining the Ottawa Senators, Tom Pyatt was a healthy scratch.
We’d been begging Boucher to do it. He almost did it for the Pittsburgh game, and then backed out at the last minute. We weren’t sure it would ever happen. We had resigned ourselves to this reality.
And then. Finally. It happened. And lo and behold, without their anchor the Sens rose to the occasion and delivered a very good game by their standards.
Now just imagine what they could do without Cody Ceci.
The Sens started out with some offensive firepower, keeping the puck in the opposing zone for an extended period of time for the first time in what felt like forever. Coincidence? I think not.
The first few minutes of the game were some of the best Ottawa had played all season,
Unfortunately, the Sens took the first penalty of the game when Burgdoerfer was called for tripping. Thankfully, the Red Wings soon neutralized it and, at 4-on-4, Ryan Dzingel took advantage of a broken stick by Dylan Larkin to put the Sens up by one.
The Sens ended up with a powerplay after that, and a beautiful move by Bobby Ryan set up an easy tap-in for Mark Stone. Just like that, it was 2-0 Ottawa, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the Sens totally deserved it.
Unfortunately, that goal was soon overturned as it was unclear if the puck had actually gone in the net. No goal after all. 1-0 Ottawa.
We probably should have known based on the lack of celebration from Mark Stone. He clearly didn’t think he had scored.
Mark Stone “I don’t think it went in” pic.twitter.com/bNtFBwO2xI— Sens Guy (@SensNews67) December 15, 2018
The Sens continued to control the play for the next few minutes until, completely out of nowhere, Chabot put his team up 2-0 once again. He jumped off the bench and appeared at the blueline just in time for an epic one-timer right over Jimmy Howard’s shoulder.
It was almost a perfect period of hockey (or perfect by Ottawa standards), until a defensive breakdown led to Detroit’s first goal of the game. The Sens went into the intermission ahead 2-1.
The second period didn’t start out quite as well as the first for the Sens. There was quite a lot of back-and-forth in the first few minutes, but the Red Wings controlled the play for the most part. It was depressingly familiar to Sens fans who had enjoyed the brief respite from our regularly scheduled suffering but hadn’t really expected it to last a full 60 minutes.
Ottawa was awarded their second powerplay of the game right at the halfway mark and didn’t exactly take advantage. They spent most of it in the offensive zone but didn’t land many particularly good shots and got into a bit of trouble in their own zone at one point. As soon as Dylan Larkin got out of the box, his teammates gave him a breakaway and he promptly evened the score.
So much for looking good in the first period.
As expected, Detroit proceeded to dominate for most of the frame, though Anderson stood tall. The Sens also spent a tiny bit of time in the offensive zone at the very end of the period, but they didn’t take back the lead. It was 2-2 after 40.
The Sens started the third on the penalty kill, and despite a few scary moments managed to kill it off. They looked much better after that, and it looked like maybe, just maybe, they would revert back to their first period selves.
After a few minutes of solid play, Colin White found the back of the net with a lot of help from Mark Stone, who celebrated this one with his usual enthusiasm.
Also, this happened a few minutes later and I just wanted to share because I thought it was funny:
Andy clearing the front of the net pic.twitter.com/J8fHJzhAo1— Capital Gains (@Capital_Gains65) December 15, 2018
Now, it would have been very Sens of them to sit back and collapse around their net in a desperate attempt to hold on to the one goal lead only to let their opponents come back in the last few minutes, and the Sens did try, but thankfully they were unsuccessful in their very commendable effort to blow the lead.
Chris Tierney eventually clinched the win with an empty netter in the dying seconds of the game.
It’s rare that the Sens actually play well enough to deserve a win, so I’m glad they came out of this game with two points.
- Thomas Chabot had a fantastic game, after falling into a bit of a slump by his standards.
- Chris Tierney’s first goal of the game was also his first in 11 games, and he got two of them!
- Bobby Ryan was impressive in his first game back.
- Do I need to tell you that Mark Stone was good tonight? Of course I don’t. But I’m going to say it anyways.