They can’t lose ‘em all.
A strong start was what the Ottawa Senators needed after lacking that energy since, well, the turn of the decade. A quick couple goals was what they got, pulling together a 3-2 win at home against the Arizona Coyotes.
Vladislav Namestnikov opened the scoring, with Drake Batherson feeding him a slick pass from behind the net (more on him later). Minutes later, the lead was doubled to 2-0 with Brady Tkachuk tipping Thomas Chabot’s shot from the point. The Sens were flying, and deservedly found themselves up by two after the first.
The pressure couldn’t be kept up for the full 60 minutes, however, as the second period would be tilted in favour of Arizona. Each team went to the penalty kill twice, and on the Coyotes’ second power play, they capitalized almost immediately with Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s one-timer finding its way to the back of the net.
With a one-goal lead headed into the third but with the Coyotes on their tail, Nick Paul gave the Sens some much-needed breathing room with a nice snipe against Antti Raanta. For a player who’d been on a bit of an offensive dry spell with only five points in his last 28 games, it was nice to see him get back on the scoresheet.
It turns out that third goal was just enough to seal the win, with the Coyotes only being able to answer with one more goal courtesy of Jordan Oesterle. The unfortunate news is that seconds before the goal, Lawson Crouse had a nasty collision at centre ice with Mark Borowiecki, who was back for his first game since taking time off to be a new father. Boro didn’t return to the game, and while D.J. Smith said the injury isn’t as bad as originally thought (presumably with his ankle), he’s still going to be out for “some time”. Whether that’s a day or a month, who knows at this point.
Regardless, the Sens wrapped up a tidy home win, taking the two points with a 3-2 victory.
- The Drake has arrived, folks. He was a catalyst for creating offence all game, and was clearly the one carrying his line with Namestnikov and Chris Tierney. He was sixth amongst forwards in time on ice at 5v5, and was also on the first unit power play. He seems to be succeeding in his expanded role, which is fantastic news.
- There were also stretches when Marcus Högberg kept the Sens alive, where the Coyotes would get three of four quick shots off and he’d turn turn them all away. He was stellar once again.
- Did you know that Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel play for the Coyotes now? It still felt weird and unnatural to me every time I’d hear one of their names on the broadcast.
- Congrats to Tyler Ennis for playing in his 600th career NHL game!
- It was Hockey Is For Everyone night at the Canadian Tire Centre, and the Sens seem to have stepped up their game in recent years, with this time being no exception. Borowiecki’s pre-game quotes set the tone nicely — the pride tape was on full display, and they honoured Rico Phillips who recently won the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.
The Sens’ six-game homestand continues on Saturday, facing the Toronto Maple Leafs.