Remember the intensity that used to be the Battle of Ontario? The full 60 minutes of adrenaline, countering chants in the stands, and the ingrained hatred of the other jersey?
I don’t, because that was before my time. But assuming it existed, this newest edition to the saga felt like a shell of the past. And maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Maybe this is just me projecting my personal sentiments on this season, but if it says anything about the state of the Senators, I echo Tait Fraser’s comment:
Can we just sim to the draft already?— The Bernard-Docker Bro (@tait_fraser) February 16, 2020
With the Senators taking on the Leafs in
Toronto Ottawa, the game had its tight moments, but the Leafs ultimately came ahead as the superior team, taking the two points by a score of 4-2.
With Marcus Högberg starting in net, the Leafs opened the scoring early, with Auston Matthews taking advantage of a lost Nikita Zaitsev to get in close. Considering D.J. Smith’s pre-game comments on matching Zaitsev against Matthews, the game already wasn’t going to according to plan. The result? Awarding Zaitsev with 20:48 of 5v5 ice time, second on the team behind Chabot.
A couple power plays amounted to some good chances for Ottawa in the first period, but the newly-acquired Jack Campbell came up big for the Leafs.
It wasn’t until less than two minutes into the second period that another goal came, with Jake Muzzin finding a lane through the middle to double the Leafs’ lead. William Nylander made it 3-0 off a redirection resulting from a broken play, and that spelled the end for Högberg who’d given up three goals on sixteen shots, all of which he stood a good chance to save. Craig Anderson, who had been pulled in his last start, was the replacement.
Then, like Matthews’ hairline, the Leafs’ lead started to recede.
First it was Connor Brown, who capitalized off a slick steal from Chris Tierney deep in Toronto’s offensive zone. Then it was Cody Goloubef with his first as a Senator, blasting a wrist shot from the top of the circle. Let it be noted that Anthony Duclair admitted after the game that it went off his leg, which would technically give him credit for the goal, ending his painful 19-game goalless drought. But alas, the Hockey Gods said nay — although it’s still not too late to change it.
A complete comeback wasn’t in the cards, though, as Mitch Marner’s empty net goal closed the game at 4-2 Toronto.
- The storyline for the netminders was the complete opposite of the last time we saw a mid-game goalie swap — Högberg has seen better days, while Anderson made many key stops late in the game, including a show-stopping two-pad stack on Zach Hyman.
- The forward line of Tierney, Namestnikov and Brown seemed to be making things happen against some of the Leafs’ top players.
- Special shoutout to all the Sens fans who were brave enough to show up to what was basically a Leafs home game in Ottawa. Except for Melnyk, who I’m still not sure why he chose the jersey #27.
The Sens play again tomorrow at home against the Dallas Stars.