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Senators Overcome Sluggish Start to Trounce Rangers 6-2

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It took a while for them to show up, but when they did...

Ottawa Senators v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

I was curious as to how the Ottawa Senators would follow up their admirable performance against Boston on Saturday; would they continue to show promise against the New York Rangers, our second of three opponents on this current road trip? Needless to say, they were completely outclassed. For like ten minutes, anyway. The Rags were not ready for the other fifty...

The Rangers came flying out of the gate in the 1st period, swarming the Senators end and peppering them with numerous shot attempts. They would draw the first penalty of the game on a routine offensive zone possession, as Jean-Gabriel Pageau was called for holding. The Blueshirts looked dangerous on the ensuing power play, but the Senators’ penalty killers were up to the task, blocking several attempts and only allowing one shot on Anders Nilsson. Shout-out to Jacob Trouba as well for hitting the exact same spot on two consecutive shot attempts, the spot of course being several feet to the right of the net.

Alas, things were still looking grim. Ottawa couldn’t manage any sustained zone time for the majority of the period, as the Rangers went up 11-1 in shots on goal, and got the opening goal in the process, courtesy of a very patient Kaapo Kakko in front of the net. Desperate to turn the tide in his team’s favour, Mark Borowiecki dropped the gloves with Brendan Lemieux. It wasn’t much of a fight but it seemed to be the spark Ottawa needed to not only claw back into the game, but take complete control of it. Jean-Gabriel Pageau started things off by tying the game off of some complete chaos in front of the net caused by Anthony Duclair and some questionable rebound control by Alexander Georgiev. The Sens continued their assault by drawing multiple power-play attempts. On the ensuing 5-on-3, Tyler Ennis took advantage of a fortuitous bounce right to his stick, and gave the visitors a 2-1 lead. Despite playing eerily similarly to their dreadful performance in Dallas in the first half of the period, they went into the intermission leading in shots, 14-11.

The Senators would continue their furious assault in the 2nd period. They found themselves on another power play early in the frame, which didn’t produce much at all, until right after it expired. Before I could ask myself what Mikkel Boedker was doing on the power play, he made a nice pass to Brady Tkachuk right in his office, who in turn made an even nicer pass to Ron Hainsey for the - wait, RON HAINSEY??? Yeah, Ron Freaking Hainsey in front of the net, putting that puck from Tkachuk past Georgiev to make it 3-1 Ottawa. It gets even better, folks. After a flurry of Senators chances off the rush, the Rags had some extended pressure in the Sens’ end courtesy of a turnover by Nikita Zaitsev, when a point shot was blocked by Pageau. He promptly dashed up the ice on a breakaway and ripped his second of the game glove side on Georgiev to make it 4-1. Just over three minutes later, Tkachuk added another marker by uh...well you see, he...you know what, here you go:

With the score 5-1 Ottawa, this was the moment the Rangers felt it necessary to put their foot on the gas.Artemi Panarin quickly made it 5-2 on a textbook power play goal, and the Rangers would continue to push, evening up the shots on goal; 24-23 in favour of Ottawa at the end of the 2nd period.

The Rags came out in the 3rd knowing that the possibility of a comeback was still in the cards. They pressured Ottawa hard, eventually moving the shot attempts in their favour by the end of the game. The Senators refused to give them any hope, instead adding another power play goal courtesy of Vladislav Namestnikov. Both teams continued to trade chances, all the way until the final whistle. The game ended with a final tally of 6-2 for the visitors. What began as a nightmare of a game quickly turned into another exciting victory. Anders Nilsson was sharp, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced, while the Senators put 30 of their own on net.

Some Thoughts:

  • Jean-Gabriel Pageau, scorer of two goals tonight, should be re-signed at all costs. He is an invaluable two-way player, a leader for our promising group of young players, and a fan favourite here in the nation’s capital. He’s finding his way onto the scoresheet more often as well, now that he’s got slightly better linemates than Tom Pyatt.
  • Brady Tkachuk had a slow start to the year with 3 points in 10 games, but with big nights against the Sharks and Rangers he’s now up to 8 in 13. Careful Brady, Filip Zadina’s only 3 points behind you! Oh wait, wrong league, sorry guys.
  • Given the contract status of our goaltenders, Nilsson is the leading candidate to be the number one guy for the 2020-21 season, when the Sens expect to begin contending for a playoff spot. We all know he’s capable of providing the goaltending necessary for the team to win games, but can he do so with the consistency expected of a bonafide NHL starter? My fingers are crossed.
  • Congrats to Ron Hainsey on scoring his second first goal as an Ottawa Senator! He’s been a calming presence on the back end and I’d imagine he is also acting as an invaluable mentor to Erik Brannstrom.
  • J.C. Beaudin continued the theme of firsts, with his first NHL fight, against Tony DeAngelo.

Game Flow:

Heatmap:

Up Next:

The road trip concludes tomorrow at 7:00 PM EST against the New York Islanders, who are casually riding a nine-game winning streak.