The last Sens game of 2019, an interesting and confusing year for the Sens filled with heartbreak and so much hope. The Pittsburgh Penguins are always a tough opponent but the Senators have shown a lot of promise lately and nothing shocks me from the Sens.
As with every game against the Penguins, Sens fans needed to be reminded of that infamous Chris Kunitz goal that completely destroyed this franchise. Moving on.
The Penguins were quick to put their mark on the game with Evgeni Malkin delivering the perfect shot into the net less than a minute into the game. While the shot was great, Hogberg should have at least been a bit more awake on it.
The Penguins made sure to keep him awake for the entire period though as they were dominating in shots throughout. After Thomas Chabot missed his man on the boards, Nick Paul fails to intercept a pass that went straight to Dominik Simon and into the net to make it 2-0. To make matters worse, the Sens weren’t only in a 2-goal deficit but Brady Tkachuk ended up hurting himself trying to check Jake Guentzel. He left to the dressing room at the end of the first in obvious pain. The period ended with shots favouring the Penguins 15-4.
Brady Tkachuk is fine, everyone breathe!
The second period was starting to show some promise when the fourth line made the best of their shift and Nick Paul made up for his first period mistake. Nice of Jaros to really shine out on that pretty pass.
Nick Paul started the game on the second line ... put back on the fourth line here now, but coming through with a goal like that is important.— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) December 31, 2019
Also that pass by Jaros was *chefs kiss* pic.twitter.com/TEcVBOWkYY
The cut lead didn’t last long when Malkin scored his second of the game to make it 3-1 with 14 minutes left in the period. Connor Brown made a great play to drive the net to the fortunes of Nick Paul who scored his second of the game. While the Penguins were looking to be the stronger team, the Sens were starting to catch up to them. The Paul joy wouldn’t last long as Patric Hornqvist scored to make it 4-2 less than two minutes later. The period ended with the Sens out-shooting the Pens 14-10 but as usual 0 for 2 on the power play so far in the game.
The focus in the third was a comeback by the Sens or at least ensuring that they kept pushing. The Sens did continue to be somewhat on pace with the Pens but the next goal ended up being a series of unfortunate events and potentially disastrous results. With 13 minutes left in the period Malkin takes a pass on the rush and makes a flawless pass to Jake Guentzel for a goal that would be his 200th point. Two problems with this goal: what was Hogberg doing sliding out of the net with no recovery and Guentzel ended up getting tangled with Chabot and falling awkwardly into the boards. He left immediately to the dressing room with what looked like either an elbow or wrist injury. He has been one of the top players for the Penguins and recently named to the All Star games so hopefully the injury is not as bad as it looks for his sake.
Brady Tkachuk may have not scored a goal, but he created quite the crazy ending when he got involved with Malkin towards the end of the game that resulted in several key players including Kris Letang being involved in a meaningless scrum. The end result is a 5-2 Penguins win and 10 minute misconducts to Malkin, Tkachuk, Rust and Borowiecki.
- Colin White has reached his limits for chances given, he needs a wake-up call or a conditioning stint in Belleville. Whatever it is, he needs to be better and he needs to get it done soon because he can and will be easily replaced
- Hogberg didn’t have a great game but to be honest if he’s ever going to be ready for a full time NHL job, these are the kinds of games he needs to be involved in. He won’t learn much from being sheltered so let the real experience begin.
- The power play needs a lot of work, it needs to be more creative and players need to be quicker. There is enough talent on the team to at least warrant a decent effort on the power play.