It’s not often that the Ottawa Senators get to humiliate their two biggest rivals in the same night. Not only did the plucky underdogs, united only by their lack of signing bonuses, manage to upset the Montreal Canadiens in overtime by a 2-1 score, but they now also have more wins than the Cup-contending Toronto Maple Leafs. With one game in hand. Yeah, I’ll take this over improving our draft position any day.
Tonight’s game featured a pre-game ceremony honouring former Canadien and recent Hall of Fame inductee Guy Carbonneau. Ron Hainsey took the ceremonial face-off on behalf of the Sens, a pretty nice moment for him as he was drafted by the Habs way back in 2000(!) while Carbonneau was still on the team.
Montreal, looking to bounce back from a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, dominated the play in the 1st period, masterfully killing off a double-minor high-sticking penalty, and outshooting Ottawa 12-3. During the frame, Vladislav Namestnikov took a huge hit from Cale Fleury and was slow to get up. He left the game and did not return. In the final minute of the period, Nikita Zaitsev was given a questionably soft call for cross-checking, which would extend into the 2nd period.
The 2nd period would show more promise from the Senators, but not before the Habs would strike on the power-play from the 1st; Nick Suzuki got to a loose puck amidst chaos in front of Craig Anderson and shot it into the wide-open cage to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.
The Sens continued to have trouble executing in the neutral and offensive zones, save for a few great individual plays by Anthony Duclair. Things were looking nearly hopeless, until some old-fashioned hard work by Colin White and Tyler Ennis led to this:
Jean-Gabriel Pageau has been on this month. He gets a piece of this shot by Tyler Ennis. pic.twitter.com/wGJzK81n38— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 21, 2019
I’m not going to lie, this is starting to get a tad annoying. They’re only going to score so many goals, and God forbid Pageau hogs every single one of them. Either way, it’s 1-1.
Both teams would go on to trade chances, and neither came particularly close to scoring, until a Tyler Ennis breakaway attempt in the final minute that was stopped by Carey Price. Montreal was the better team in both periods, but the 2nd was more competitive, the shots being 14-11 for the home team in the frame.
The Sens came out in the 3rd period determined to keep the score at least tied, and they did a great job defensively for the most part; they prevented the Habs from getting a single shot on goal from the 13:19 mark to the 2:40 mark. The Sens would go on to survive a late push in the dying minutes of regulation, earning a point in a game in which they were vastly outshot, 35-23.
Overtime wouldn't last long. Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault worked together for a dangerous give-and-go in the opening seconds, but Craig Anderson would stop their attempt. On the next Senators’ possession, Brady Tkachuk and Chris Tierney would execute a two-man play of their own. Tkachuk sent the puck to Tierney as the former charged at full speed towards the net. Tierney drew in Jeff Petty and sent Tkachuk, now ahead of Tomas Tatar, on the breakaway. Tkachuk would make no mistake on the backhand as he put the puck past Carey Price to give the Senators their sixth win in their last eight games.
Sure, they were dominated in terms of shot metrics but fighting for two points against a rival team that is built to win hockey games, is pretty damn impressive for this group. Anderson stopped 35 of 36 shots for one of his best performances in a long time, and the Senators put 24 of their own shots on Carey Price.
- Can you imagine what could have been if the Habs had Gallagher, Domi and Brady Tkachuk? I’m pretty sure 30 other teams would just give up on hockey altogether.
- Anthony Duclair was the most dangerous player on the ice for the Senators, forcing turnovers and using his ridiculous speed to generate scoring chances when the rest of the team was stifled for the most part.
- Tyler Ennis was also very noticeable, drawing an assist on Pageau’s goal. He’s now up to a solid 10 points in 22 games.
- Usually an undisciplined squad (84 minor penalties prior to tonight’s game), the Senators only took one penalty the whole game. They did allow a goal on the ensuing kill, but hopefully they can continue to keep the penalties down going forward.
- Perhaps the extra 5v5 ice time was a factor towards Filip Chlapik playing 12:17 this game. He's getting closer and closer to locking down a permanent NHL spot.
- The Senators return home on Friday, Nov. 22nd for their third game against the New York Rangers this season (7:30 PM EST).