The Sens rolled into Raleigh, North Carolina tonight on something of a hot streak, at least by their standards. Having just recently moved from last in the NHL all the way up to tied for last in the NHL, they were basically unbeatable.
Carolina, of course, has never been a easy opponent. For some reason, the Sens have always struggled in Raleigh, and it didn’t help that their opponent tonight was noted Sens killer and former Ottawa 67 Petr Mrazek, or that the Hurricanes were vying for a shot at the playoffs while the Senators were... not.
Regardless of circumstances, Ottawa did put together a good performance. They may not have dominated the game, but they were good, and their star players had some great moments.
Carolina had possession for the first few minutes of the game, but the Sens seemed to be preventing any really high-danger shots, and even managed to take the puck away a few times. An early penalty to Mark Borowiecki allowed the Sens to try out a penalty kill that actually wasn’t bad at all. They held their opponents to one shot and killed off the penalty pretty effectively. Take that, Chris Wideman!
It didn’t take long for Carolina to go back on the powerplay, when Ryan Dzingel went to the box, but thankfully the Sens killed off this penalty just as effectively as they had the first. The Hurricanes hung out in the Ottawa zone for a little while after the penalty had expired, forcing Anders Nilsson to make a massive save on Trevor Van Riemsdyk, but eventually the Sens broke out of their zone and got a few nice chances. It helped that they managed to get Stone’s line on the ice as soon as they got to the offensive zone.
After a few chances for each team, Magnus Paajarvi scored the first goal of the game, tapping in a loose puck that Zack Smith had sent to the crease. He also fell over while celebrating, which was funny.
REMINDER: Ice remains slippery. pic.twitter.com/n23Zdv6eku— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) January 19, 2019
The Sens finished the period on their first powerplay of the game, and while they looked good enough, they didn’t manage to extend their lead. They went into the second frame ahead 1-0.
The second started out with a bunch of good chances for the Sens, and specifically for the Duchene line. After about seven minutes of solid play, Bobby Ryan scored off a beautiful sequence, and only a few seconds later Mark Stone made it 3-0 right off a faceoff.
Unfortunately, Carolina eventually got one back. It was kind of a fluky goal, as the Ottawa defensemen Borowiecki and DeMelo kind of fumbled the puck and the Canes forwards threw the puck toward the net and it bounced in. Borowiecki went to the dressing room after that and didn’t return for the rest of the game (the Sens eventually announced that he had a lower body injury), and it says so much about the state of this team that I’m genuinely concerned about what his absence will mean for them.
The good news is that the lone Carolina goal did not spark a comeback! In fact, toward the end of the period, Brady Tkachuk, clearly trying to impress both his biological dad, who was in the crowd tonight, and Mark Stone, his adoptive dad, sent the most beautiful pass to Christian Wolanin to set up an equally beautiful goal. The last few minutes of the game were a bit ugly for the Sens, but they held on and kept the score 4-1.
Ottawa had a number of nice chances in the third - Dzingel especially was on fire, with a good play at the start of the period and a breakaway closer to the midway point - but for the most part the Hurricanes carried the play for the last 20 minutes.
Still, all in all it was a good game for the Sens, and the score held. It’s pretty rare for this team to take a lead early on and hold on to it for a full 60 minutes, so it was a nice change of pace.
- Bobby Ryan was ON FIRE tonight. He’s clearly in the midst of one of his hot streaks.
- Nilsson continues to impress, making 33 saves tonight
- Dzingel was fantastic, and I’m surprised he didn’t score
- Wolanin continues to be very underrated