Here was Ottawa’s defensive corps at the start of the game:
Wolanin - Borowiecki
Claesson - Harpur
The lack of top-end skill and experience, combined with both Erik Karlsson and Mark Stone out of the lineup — the circumstances to be facing Connor McDavid couldn’t have been any more dangerous. The Oilers superstar had his way with the Ottawa Senators in this game, with his four points surging Edmonton ahead for the 6-2 win. With the loss, Ottawa is now officially out of the playoff race.
Edmonton’s dominance showed early, pouring eighteen shots on goal by the first intermission. They scored first as well, as Darnell Nurse took a blast from the point, and found its way to the back of the net after hitting a few bodies and sticks. Drake Caggiula was left with the tap-in behind Craig Anderson, putting Ottawa down 1-0.
The Oilers would go up 2-0 in the second period, with McDavid showing tremendous chemistry with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Nuge’s pass from the boards found #97 streaking down the middle, throwing Thomas Chabot off his guard and firing a shot past Anderson.
Then the third period rolled around, and maybe the nets got suddenly larger, but everything started to go in.
Sens fans at the CTC were briefly given a moment of hope, with Matt Duchene scoring a slick power play goal in the first five minutes. It was one of those goals where he had the puck in the middle with limited passing options, so he instead just found another level and willed himself towards the net. Edmonton’s defence was defenceless, as Ottawa cut the Oilers’ lead in half.
But all hope would be stripped away, as before Duchene’s name was even announced in the arena, Edmonton had already scored a couple more. The first came again from the duo of RNH-McDavid, as only eight seconds after puck drop, they managed to get by Ottawa’s defenders and find a lane for the one-timer. Nugent-Hopkins scored his 21st of the season, although it wouldn’t end there.
It only took 38 more seconds after the next puck drop, but McDavid picked up another point, this time assisting on Ty Rattie. Going up against the newly-signed Christian Wolanin, who was playing his NHL debut, McDavid had no trouble in squeezing around him and finding a lane. The game was out of reach for Ottawa, as they found themselves down by three.
And if that wasn’t enough already, Edmonton then made it 5-1 on the power play — Drake Caggiula again. That’s all you really need to know at this point.
Ottawa scored next, in what ended up being a double-milestone goal. With Bobby Ryan carrying the puck along the boards, he fed it to Marian Gaborik who was wide open in the middle and took a shot. Filip Chlapik got his stick on it, deflecting the puck past Cam Talbot for his 1st career NHL goal. It’s one of many that will surely come in his NHL career, as his future in the league looks bright. Bobby Ryan’s assist was also the 500th point of his career.
McDavid scored again, because why not. For what it’s worth, he played 14:19 at 5v5 — 12:31 of that was with Cody Ceci on the ice. It was quite the one-sided matchup.
The Senators were dismantled, as they’ve now allowed thirteen goals in the two games since Karlsson has been out of the lineup. He can take as much time as he wants to come back, but these past couple games have only further shown how crucial he is to the Senators.
- Craig Anderson faced 38 shots and the defensive coverage wasn’t of much help, but there were a couple goals that Edmonton scored that you would’ve normally expected a starting goalie to stop.
- Guy Boucher went off the map with his Ceci deployment tonight, playing him for 32:49. It was the second most he’s played in a single regular season game, being put on the ice for 32:54 against the Lightning in December earlier this season (although that also included five minutes of overtime).
- For a player making his professional debut, Christian Wolanin looked solid. He wasn’t afraid to make a rush up the ice or even pinch in the offensive zone, although I was most surprised by how well he did creating turnovers in the defensive zone. It’s just one game however, and based on his play in college, I’d expect his contributions to be more weighted offensively going forward.
- And finally, I’ve mentioned him enough in this recap already, but Connor McDavid was on a different level than everyone else. He’s now only one point behind Nikita Kucherov in the race for the Art Ross.
The Sens are back on home ice this Saturday, hosting the Carolina Hurricanes at 7:00 p.m.