Although the score on Saturday night looks worse, the Senators played as though they at least kept that game close. Tonight, outside of the third period, when the team was already down by two goals, the Canes looked like a far better team. Thus, it’s no surprise to see another loss in the books — this time, by a score of 4 to 1.
It was a pretty uneventful first period. Valentin Zykov, a player who we’ll mention later, looked dangerous for Carolina, generating a 2-on-1 that he misfired on and followed it up with a shot at the top of the slot that’s smothered by Anderson. Derek Ryan and Jeff Skinner also generated two of the better chances for the Canes, but Anderson looked up to the task early on, and finished the night with a marginally-better .900 save percentage.
Warren Foegele, a player we talked about in the preview, was flying all night, finished with two points, and started the game off with his first NHL goal. The 6-foot-2 forward outmuscled Ben Harpur along the boards, drove the puck to the net, and squeaked a shot by Anderson late in the first period. Looking at the tape below, it’s these kind of plays that make Harpur remind me of Jared Cowen and Patrick Wiercioch in the worst way possible: players who have size, but can’t seem to use it effectively. Of course, Harpur was recently signed to a two-year, one-way deal; he’s still young, but has a ton to work on in the offseason if he wants to be an NHL regular. It was the third straight game where rookie defenceman Christian Wolanin outplayed him.
Somehow, according to our Colin Cudmore, the Sens have now given up a league-leading nine (!) “first” NHL goals since the start of 2016-17.
The second period started with an early push for the Senators. With Justin Williams off for hooking, Christian Wolanin introduced himself to the game by finding Ryan Dzingel for a prime opportunity at the end of the powerplay. Then, soon after, the Senators generate a 3-on-1 that Mike Hoffman nearly finishes if not for a two-pad stack by Cam Ward. After withstanding a push from Zykov, Teravainen, Aho trio that were >85% CF% (!!!!!) on the night, the Senators tie the game ~10-minutes in. Matt Duchene does some good work at the point and finds Ryan near the goal-mouth. Bobby receives the puck, spins, and then shoots it past Ward for his 10th of the season.
After this goal, it was all Carolina. Sebastian Aho starts it by drawing a slashing penalty on Mark Borowiecki has the former received the puck up high in the offensive zone and tried to walk the blueline. Although the Sens killed the ensuing powerplay (and were two-for-two on the night), they carried the momentum with them. Foegele, again, gets the puck in a dangerous area and releases it quickly towards goal. Zykov, waiting in the area to clean up the garbage, does just that and pokes it by Anderson to give the Canes a 2-1 lead.
Less than two minutes later, Borowiecki fights a bouncing puck in the defensive zone and it ends up on the stick of Jordan Staal. The Canes captain finds Brock McGinn in the slot and he wires it past Anderson for his 15th of the year and a 3-1 lead.
Hadyn Fleury, a player still waiting for his first NHL goal, nearly had it later in the period, but was stopped on a nice save by Anderson. When Fleury and Roland McKeown, Carolina’s young third pair, were on the ice, Carolina generated more than 80% of the shot attempts at 5-on-5; the duo ended the night +2 and +3 respectively.
The third period was the most even in terms of play, with Guy Boucher giving more minutes to young players like Wolanin — who finished the night with ~18 minutes, third most among Sens blueliners.
Ottawa drew another powerplay, this time a high stick from Derek Ryan on Alex Burrows after Chabot threw the puck in front, but were unable to score. Their best chances came from Mike Hoffman, who had two one-timer opportunities set up by Thomas Chabot. Sebastian Aho ended the game with an empty netter, his 27th of the season, to give the Canes a 4-1 victory.
First Game Corner
Ben Sexton, son of former Senators GM Randy, didn’t have the same kind of game as Foegele, but played a solid 12-minutes of hockey tonight with Filip Chlapik and Max McCormick and was actually one of just two Ottawa Senators to finish above water in terms of shot share (the other being Fredrik Claesson). He didn’t have a shot on goal, but had a couple of noticeable passes that can be seen in the compiled highlight pack below:
Game Flow via Natural Stat Trick
Heat Map via Natural Stat Trick