It may have been a problem for the tank effort, but it sure was fun watching the Senators play well and earn a victory. It was a fun game against the Vegas Golden Knights, and somehow Alexandre Burrows, newly back from suspension, netted the winner in a back-and-forth 5-4 win. I’ve also worked as hard as possible to avoid making any gambling references in this recap.
Yet again, the Senators allowed the first goal of the game. Yet again, it was in the first minute of the game. Cody Ceci and Ben Harpur were on the ice for a bad giveaway, and they got absolutely walked by the William Karlsson — Jonathan Marchesseault — Reilly Smith line. Smith found himself in all alone and flipped in an unpressured backhand. Surprisingly though, the Sens fought back and tied it up just 90 seconds later. Bobby Ryan intercepted a clearing attempt and passed it to Mark Stone in front, who made a spin move to turn Marc-Andre Fleury inside out and then popped the puck into the empty net. It meant Stone extended his point streak to seven games, and also hit 20 goals for the fourth time in four full seasons in the NHL.
Ottawa got two powerplays in a row after that, and for the first minute of the first one they actually held onto the puck in the offensive zone. It was some rare offensive powerplay pressure for the Sens. Thankfully the rest of the PP time was spent in the Sens’ zone, so that took away my fears that the Sens were actually getting good on the powerplay.
Ottawa actually controlled most of the period. After scoring on their first shot of the game, Vegas went more than 15 minutes before getting their next shot on goal! In particular, Thomas Chabot had a great chance to score after some great passing in tight, but Fleury managed to get the pad down to stone him.
Late in the period, Ottawa gave up its first powerplay, and Vegas scored on a weird shot from the point that hit something or someone somewhere on the way, and was eventually credited to Colin Miller. Craig Anderson had no chance on the play, and was very unlucky to finish the period with a .333 save percentage. It’s hard when your team only allows three shots and all of them are great opportunities. Ottawa outshot them 8-3 and was pretty unlucky to enter the second down 2-1.
The Sens picked up where they left off in the first, dominating the play. They were rewarded with the tying goal, with Mark Stone returning the favour to Bobby Ryan, hitting him with a 150-foot stretch pass to send him in on a breakaway. Ryan picked five-hole, and it was starting to remind me of the energetic Bobby we saw in Game 1 of the playoffs last spring. Right after the goal, Marchesseault found himself on a breakaway of his own, but Andy robbed him with the glove.
Ottawa went on the powerplay, and continued their earlier pressure, ending with Matt Duchene making a Hoffman-like move in the slot before sneaking it past Fleury. It was a beautifully deceptive shot. Just four minutes after that, Erik Karlsson made a pass from below the faceoff dot to Jean-Gabriel Pageau who ripped home a one-timer over Fleury’s shoulder. Not long after that, Andy made another great glove save to rob Marchesseault who turned over the puck at the blue line. It must’ve felt to Vegas like everything was going the Sens’ way. Another turnover late led to Erik Haula and Tomas Tatar getting in on a 2-on-1. Trailing behind the play, Duchene got tangled with Tatar and tripped him into the net behind Haula’s shot, giving the Knights a late powerplay. Anderson continued his strong play though, sending the Sens into the second intermission with a two-goal lead. The shots in the second period were 18-17 for the Knights, showing what a high-octane period it was compared to the first.
The third period opened with William Karlsson getting a great chance in tight, and bringing the game back within one. Then with Ottawa gifted a powerplay, they’d done too well so far this game, so Ryan Carpenter got in shorthanded and scored to tie it up. Thomas Chabot was a little weak on the backcheck, and seemed to be kicking himself afterwards on the bench. I also didn’t know Carpenter played for Vegas, and I thought his first name was Kyle. Anyway.
Just a minute later, Ottawa poured on the pressure, Erik Karlsson intercepted a clearing attempt, fired it on net, and Alex Burrows tipped it in. Fleury was understandably frustrated on the goal, And somehow that did it for the game. Vegas got some good chances, they pulled the goalie for the final 2.5 minutes, but Anderson stood tall and earned his team a big victory.
- My favourite moment in the game was when Tomas Tatar knocked down a Karlsson exit pass, and in the second it took the crowd to cheer for a 2-on-1, Karlsson stole the puck back
- Fleury also at some point nearly went full Hasek-on-Gaborik, sliding out to take the puck away. Smith nearly jumped over him, but still caught his pad and fell over in the air.
- Somehow Erik Haula didn’t score on a chance when Andy was down on his stomach, he put the puck five-hole on Anderson, it bounced off his leg, hit the post, and then Anderson held it between his legs
- Karlsson and Ryan each had 3 points. Stone only had 2, but he looked great, especially since they had to keep wrapping his hand on the bench. Pageau definitely had some jump, playing with offensive players for the first time in months.
- Vegas’s top line seemed to be the only one that showed up tonight, but they are really good. Ottawa couldn’t handle them at all.