In what will likely go down as their strangest game of the 2018-2019 season, the Ottawa Senators fell 8-7.
The Chicago Blackhawks were able to edge the Sens, in a horrible display of defence from both sides. Collin Delia and Anders Nilsson were pulled for Cam Ward and Craig Anderson, respectively, but it was Alex Debrincat’s hat trick that ultimately powered the Hawks to the W.
Thomas Chabot chipped in two goals late to make it a game, and Ottawa’s top-six were as stellar as always, but came up just short against a (still) incredibly talented Chicago Blackhawks team.
The barnburner began with a penalty just 1:15 in, when Slater Koekkoek slashed Mark Stone’s stick out of his hands, and sent Ottawa to the powerplay.
On the man advantage, Thomas Chabot made a great play to hold the line, and eventually Matt Duchene found Bobby Ryan in the slot. Ryan threw the puck on net with a shot that caught Hawks’ netminder Collin Delia off-guard, and the Senators opened the scoring 2:06 into the contest.
The marker was Ryan’s 100th goal as an Ottawa Senator.
The Senators weren’t done there. Just 34 seconds later, Mikkel Boedker broke into the Chicago zone, and fed the puck to Chris Tierney. Tierney made a beautiful one-touch pass to Rudolfs Balcers, who deflected his second goal in as many games top-shelf.
Hard to imagine Dolf hasn’t established himself as an NHLer by now.
Off the ensuing faceoff the tide would turn, when Cody Ceci was called for a questionable hooking penalty behind the Ottawa net, and the talented Blackhawks would get a powerplay of their own. Jonathan Toews made a nice pass to Alex Debrincat, who made no mistake and cut the Ottawa lead to 2-1.
Patrick Kane picked up an assist on the goal, and extended his insane point streak to 18 games.
Much like the Senators, Chicago would come right back again. Dominik Kahun made a centring pass to Debrincat, who scored his second goal in just 1:13.
Somebody has to be playing the pass, fellas.
Not long after though, Duncan Keith ran into the referee in the corner left to Delia. The puck was knocked off of his stick, and found its way to Mark Stone, who uncorked a bullet of a slapshot. The initial save was made by Delia, but Colin White drove the net, and jammed it into the goal for his 12th of the season.
With Ottawa back in the lead, Blackhawks’ bench boss Jeremy Colliton gave Collin Delia the hook, and replaced him with Cam Ward.
The change appeared effective, as a little less than 5mins later Patrick Kane capped off a dominant shift by taking a pass from Keith, and firing a wicked shot glove-side that beat Anders Nilsson.
If you’re having trouble keeping track, and who could blame you, it’s now tied up at 3-3.
The breakneck pace didn’t stop there either. In the Ottawa end once again, the puck was loose to Anders Nilsson’s right. Dylan Strome poked the errant biscuit past the Swedish netminder from a seemingly impossible angle.
46 seconds after the tying goal, Chicago had their first lead of the night.
At this point, Guy Boucher had seen enough. Craig Anderson entered the game in his hometown, making his 600th NHL appearance. Though it would remain to be see if he was actually healthy enough to play.
It didn’t look good early. Just over a minute and a half later, Dylan Sikura found Brandon Saad all alone in the Ottawa crease, and he would tap home his 20th of the season.
DeMelo needs to have better awareness there.
Not to be outdone, Ottawa would answer back before the end of the frame. Brady Tkachuk took the puck behind the Chicago goal, and made a gorgeous centring pass to Mark Stone, who fired his 28th of the season past Ward.
After an absolutely preposterous first period, the Sens trailed 5-4.
It wasn’t long before they were back on the board, though. 1:32 into the second, the 7-36-61 line was back at it again. Stone interrupted a centre ice pass, and played it ahead for Tkachuk. Colin White one-timed his cross-ice feed behind Ward for his second of the night, and tied the game at 5-5.
Perfectly placed shot by White.
Despite the apparent uptick in momentum, Ottawa’s good fortune would end there. Just under seven minutes later, Strome made a sensational pass to Debrincat, and the Chicago #12 blasted his hat trick goal past Craig Anderson.
Continuing the trend of successive goals, Chicago would pile on two minutes later. With the teams in the tail end of some 4on4 action, Gustav Forsling would fire home yet another goal from the top of the circle, extending the Chicago lead to 7-5.
The game is barely half over.
It would, however, finally slow down for a little bit, with neither team really threatening for the rest of the frame. After 40mins, Ottawa was down 7-5, and trailing in the SOG totals 31-28.
The Hawks would get an early powerplay in the third, after another Cody Ceci hooking penalty. The red-hot Debrincat found Toews alone to Anderson’s left, and Captain Serious had his 28th of the year, and Chicago a three-goal lead.
Can’t fault Andy there, that’s just a gorgeous play.
Down 8-5, 3:51 into the third, and looking like they were on the ropes, the Senators needed a boost.
They got one from Thomas Chabot.
At the nine-minute mark, with a delayed penalty upcoming to the Blackhawks, Chabot made a Karlsson-esque coast-to-coast rush, and floated a delectable shot short-side on Cam Ward, making it a two-goal game once again.
He is just...so good.
The goal gave the Senators new life. They maintained more offensive pressure, and five-minutes after Chabot’s goal, there was a scramble in the Chicago goalmouth. With bodies strewn across the front of the net, Chabot snuck in from the point, and chipped his second of the game over a sprawling Ward to make it 8-7.
The Senators would rally in attempt to tie the game, and were afforded a golden opportunity when Koekkoek was assessed a phantom hooking penalty with 1:40 to go.
Matt Duchene almost had the tying goal in the dying seconds, but Duncan Keith made a great play to tip the puck hopped over his stick, and the Blackhawks would barely hang on for the 8-7 win.
This game was just effin’ exhausting. Sloppy, bizarre, exhausting.
- Mark Stone was Mark Stone. That is all.
- Brady Tkachuk was flying tonight. He was all over the ice and chipped in two assists.
- Thomas Chabot had a quiet night until the third period, but he single-handedly dragged Ottawa back into the game in the third. He is something really special.
- Alex Debrincat is an absolute stud. Any time a player scores a hatty you can generally point to them as the biggest reason for a loss.
- Dylan DeMelo had probably his worst game as an Ottawa Senator. He looked lost in his end of the ice, and took a couple dumb penalties. He needs to be better with Ottawa’s lack of depth on the blueline.