It was DIFD Mental Health Awareness Night at the CTC today, as the Ottawa Senators took on the Colorado Avalanche in a tilt that was bound to be, well, brutal. Ultimately, the Senators suffered a 4-1 loss, however they were able to play a pretty good forty-five minutes of hockey in the process.
So what was that first fifteen minutes, Ottawa? Pining for Alexis Lafreniere? Giving Marcus Hogberg some extra practice? Maybe you guys were worried that with all the time you’ve spent improving the power-play, the penalty kill would get rusty and you decided to somehow attempt to practice killing penalties at even-strength? Seriously, it was looking like Hogberg would be the only Senator to do anything of note in the whole game! The team certainly didn’t do him any favours early on. A bad turnover from Ron Hainsey combined with some poor positioning from Thomas Chabot led to the opening goal courtesy of Valeri Nichushkin:
Ottawa continued to be held to without a shot for a long time; there was 6:44 left in the 1st when they got a power play. Did they get their first shot on goal? The answer might surprise you. No they didn’t.
BUT WAIT! Another power-play with 3:05 left! Maybe now they’ll get their first shot on goal in the hockey game? Yes they did! TWO OF THEM, IN FACT!!!
Something absolutely hilarious then proceeded to happen:
That’s just Connor Brown being Connor Brown. An absolute menace around the puck carrier, leading up to Brady Tkachuk tying things up at one. That would conclude the scoring for the period, with Colorado up in shots 13-4, and up in 5v5 attempts 17-15. Evidently, the Avalanche were blocking absolutely everything, preventing Ottawa from generating much of anything in the frame.
The Senators improved their play in the second period, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Avalanche from going up by two goals. After Matt Nieto made it 2-1 Avs on an odd-man rush, rookie sensation Cale Makar would then go on to double Colorado’s lead, from the point on the power play:
Ottawa would push the shot count to 23-15 in favour of the Avalanche, and they ended the period up in 5v5 attempts 32-30.
The Senators continued to fight to give Marcus Hogberg his signature loser point, and their efforts saw the shot count end up 34-26 in favour of the Avalanche. Thomas Chabot had a great shift in the process (took him long enough), finding Connor Brown for a great chance, but to no avail. Furthermore, J.T. Compher, on yet another odd-man rush, would extend the lead to 4-1, your final score.
- Too many odd-man rushes were allowed by the Senators tonight, and the Avalanche took full advantage. It looked to me like the pairing of Chabot and Hainsey was the weak line on the back end this game. I honestly prefer Nikita Zaitsev to Hainsey on that pair.
- Anthony Duclair’s goal-scoring slump continued, and D.J. Smith, looking to send a message, played him for only 10:09. I’m open to anything to get him back on track, to be honest.
- Hogberg is a future NHL starter. That is all.
- Chris Tierney and Drake Batherson each posted a phenomenal 72.73% 5v5 CF%, the best numbers on the team.
- For those of you who are stressing over the draft lottery, the Avalanche finished dead last in the 2016-17 season, and dropped three spots in the lottery that year. They ended up with Cale Makar, who is now tied with Quinn Hughes for the rookie scoring lead.
Ottawa carried the play for the majority of the game, though they were stifled by the Avs’ relentless blocking of shots. Both teams managed many attempts from near the net. As expected, the team with Nathan MacKinnon had the more dangerous-looking ones.
- On the Road. Winnipeg Jets. This Saturday. February 8th. 2:00 PM.