After a miserable 0-2-1 road trip, the Ottawa Senators returned home to host the 16th Annual Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night; as well as fellow basement dweller Detroit Red Wings. Both teams put up a good fight, but the Senators would be the ones to snap their losing streak of 4 games with a convincing 5-2 victory.
Both teams came out of the gate strong, with Detroit getting ahead in shots early by a 6-2 margin before Ottawa began to push back and even things up, outshooting the Wings 12-11 in the 1st. The Senators struck first at the 6:16 mark thanks to Chris Tierney making the most of a nice feed to the front of the net by Bobby Ryan. The rest of the period was fairly even, with both teams getting power-play opportunities; Ottawa couldn’t get anything going on theirs, while somehow looking more dangerous on both of their PK attempts thanks to some great play from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Vladislav Namestnikov, Chris Tierney and Connor Brown. The first period ended with the Senators up 1-0.
The Senators opened the 2nd frame with a comedy of errors in both zones that led to the Red Wings taking the lead. Darren Helm evened things up off of some poor D-zone coverage by Logan Brown’s line along with a failed clearing attempt by Thomas Chabot. That sequence preceded an awful drop pass to nobody by Tyler Ennis which led to another Red Wings offensive zone possession, and Tyler Bertuzzi took advantage of a second defensive miscue. Suddenly, the Senators were down 2-1 and desperate for something to tip the scales back in their favour. Luckily, Thomas Chabot was up to the task. In one fell swoop, he shaved his head, knocked out a couple of his front teeth, swapped jerseys with Mark Borowiecki, joined the rush, received a nice feed from Nick Paul and ripped it past Jonathan Bernier for the game tying goal. I’m pretty sure that’s how it happened, anyway.
The Senators then slowly clawed their way back in to the Corsi battle, and re-took the lead around two minutes after the tying goal thanks to a textbook shorthanded goal from Pageau. He pressured the puck carrier with the intensity he’s well known for, and eventually gained control of the puck before shooting it past Bernier on a 2-on-1. The Senators have now scored three times as many shorthanded goals as they have power play goals. Should I be impressed? Both teams then traded power play attempts, with Ottawa looking much better than before but still unable to score. Just after the 17-minute mark, Anthony Duclair would extend the Sens’ lead off a beauty of a feed by Chabot (this one I’m 100% sure really happened), sending the home team into the 2nd intermission up 4-2, and up in shots 24-23.
The third period was fairly straightforward. Both teams got their chances, and play was even for the majority of the period, until the Red Wings slammed their foot on the gas with seven minutes to go and subjected Ottawa to a shooting gallery, which included multiple 2-on-1s. Anders Nilsson was forced to make some ridiculous stops including a magnificent stick save on Andreas Athanasiou.
Detroit continued to pressure Ottawa, pulling the goalie with under three minutes to go. Anthony Duclair would spoil their attempt, scoring his second of the night into the empty net off of a great individual effort. The game ended 5-2 for the Senators, who were rewarded for their incredible bounce-back effort with a crucial victory (more so for team morale than points in the standings). Nilsson stopped 34 of 36 shots, and the Senators got 38 shots of their own on net.
- It’s nice to see that while numerous hand injuries have taken away Ryan’s shot, his passing is still reminiscent of the player we traded for back in the 2013 offseason.
- Thomas Chabot is dynamic; he chipped in 2 more assists tonight and is so fun to watch; but that doesn’t excuse the errors he committed throughout the game. Aside from the play that led to the first Detroit goal, he also lost the puck to Anthony Mantha in the 1st, who’s ensuing breakaway attempt was stopped by Anders Nilsson. This is inevitable for many defensemen who have the puck on their stick a lot, but Chabot needs to make additional strides to improve his play at both ends of the ice to reach the Norris-caliber player we all see in him.
- This was Nick Paul’s best game of his NHL career. He lined up alongside Pageau and Connor Brown and the three looked dominant; they forced turnovers all night and all three made some nice individual plays and found their way on the scoresheet. Please keep these three together, DJ.
- I’m becoming a huge Connor Brown fan; he’s been one of our best players so far in my opinion. He chipped in his 7th assist of the season tonight but he’s brought so much more to the table than that; he’s excellent along the boards and is an absolute godsend on the PK. He and Pageau were a thorn in the side of the Detroit power play all night.
- Jean-Christophe Beaudin played his first NHL game tonight in front of friends and family from Montreal. He’s not a top prospect by any means but he didn't look out of place on the 4th line; he certainly wasn't the worst performer on that line *cough* Ennis *cough*.
Momentum was a pendulum this game, ending in slight favour of your Ottawa Senators.
Shot quality on the other hand? Not even close. Ottawa had many more chances in tight denoted by the saturation of colour in front of the net. There have been issues this season with the NHL’s tracking of shot locations, but even with that possibility of error this chart is wonderful to look at.
The Senators are at home again Friday at 7:30pm ET, when the New York Islanders come to town.