There seemed to be a good vibe around the game tonight, something in the air. Maybe it was the fact that both Duchene and Chabot were coming back? Perhaps it was that glimmer of hope some of us were getting from Dorion meeting with Duchene’s agent? Whatever it was, the players were feeling it too.
With the fathers watching, the Sens started the game on an inspired pace. There was a jump to their game, and the chances were pouring in. Even Cody Ceci seemed to be playing well and pinching in the offensive zone.
A delay of game penalty by Jaros threatened the flow of the game for the Sens, but a successful kill brought everything back to order. With 1:32 minutes left in the period, Ian Cole takes an interference penalty to give the Sens their first power play. Mark Stone had a few questionable passes in that powerplay, but he’s the last player I would be concerned about.
Boedker ends the period with easily the hit of the season on Soderberg in front of the Sens net. More of that, please!
The second period begins with the Sens on the remaining time on the power play. Still tied at 0.
Less than 3 minutes in, Tkachuk finds a speeding Dzingel out of the zone who connects with Tierney who then finds Tkachuk in front of the net and BOOM! Magic. Did I not say in the preview that he was going to score? That proud look on Keith Tkachuk’s face was just priceless.
The magic continues as less than a minute later, Stone and Tkachuk connect for another dirty goal in front of the net. The goal was credited to Tkachuk then to Stone; it was briefly given to Ceci then back to Stone. Either way, it was 2-0 Sens, and we all got us the celebration of the season from Brady Tkachuk.
- Credit to @nhlsensandstuff for the gif link!
Moving on, the Sens continued to press and take full control of the game. One player who stood out was Thomas Chabot. Coming off an injury, he was dazzling. After breaking a play in his own zone to catch up on the offensive play. After receiving the perfect pass from Duchene, he finds Dzingel near the net who gets the perfect tap in goal. It is now 3-0 Sens!10 minutes in, the Sens are outshooting the Avs 20-10! That has got to be promising.
The momentum made a complete shift halfway through the period, and the Avs were starting to regain some ground. As the Sens went into panic mode, the shots and chances were piling up for the Avs. With less than 2 minutes left, Nikita Zadorov made the Sens pay for sitting back. An insane slapshot from the point makes it 3-1 with the period ending 21-20 Sens.
Nilsson appreciation is due at this point.
The Sens started the third on the power play after Varlamov took a slashing penalty at the end of the second period. The only threat on that power play was some miscommunication almost resulting in a shorthanded goal against.
The first 5 minutes of the period didn’t look promising for the Sens as the Avs seemed to be taking control of the game. Surprisingly, the Sens fought back, and as the period was nearing the halfway mark, their play picked up significantly.
It’s always fun when things go the Sens’ way. Birthday boy makes it 4-1 after connecting with Zack Smith. Beau Duchene is proud of his papa!
With less than 10 minutes to go, the Avs looked like they were back in the game again. After they scored 4-2, the refs reviewed the goal and determined the net was off the posts before the puck crossed the line. While I’m glad the call went our way, I’m not sure Nilsson pushing the net off the post was fair to disallow the goal. I am not complaining; we’ve had our fair share of bad luck.
Things got a lot more interesting towards the end of the third. With less than 5 minutes to go, Smith takes a questionable penalty that saw him go in a fit against the refs. It didn’t take long for MacKinnon to capitalize and cut the lead in half.
Things went from bad to worse for the Sens as Jaros took another delay of game penalty. With the Avs net empty, the Sens found themselves down, two men. Boucher, being the great coach that he is, decided Ceci, Smith, and Borowiecki is the perfect solution at this point. Brace yourselves for a disaster.The Sens survive the kill but were still fighting the enormous pressure by the Avs.
Just as I was thinking Boucher needs to run practice drills on scoring empty netters, Duchene delivers the birthday dagger to deal the game.
While they gave us a scare, it was an excellent and entertaining game by the Sens. Maybe the playoffs are out of reach, but it doesn’t hurt to enjoy watching games again.
The Avs ended up outshooting the Sens 32-31, but that included back to back power plays towards the end. The only downfall of the game is Bobby Ryan’s point streak ends at 7 games tonight.
- Anders Nilsson: another solid game for the new backup. He continues to give the Sens a chance to make mistakes and recover.
- Brady Tkachuk: he’s finally broken the scoreless streak but more importantly, another impressive game from him. Physically, he’s a force, and offensively he’s a constant threat.
- Matt Duchene: 2 goals, always trying to make an impact and please sign an extension.
- Thomas Chabot: everyone needs a period of adjustment when they come back from an injury. Not Chabot, he’s not like everyone else. He didn’t miss a beat tonight and was impressive from start to end.
The Sens head off with their fathers to Carolina to begin a back to back road trip against the Hurricanes and Blues.