It’s been an...interesting week since the first two games of the season against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Since splitting that series on back-to-back nights, Ottawa came into Vancouver losing three more games, for a total record of 1-3-1. Senators fans had to endure a 10 pm start on Saturday night, and Monday was no different with another 10 pm start.
Let’s just say it was probably better to go to bed early once again.
It’s not as if the Senators had absolutely no chances, but they were once again unenjoyable to watch, even with our prized possession Tim Stützle back in the lineup.
9:31 into the first period, Brandon Sutter got the Canucks on the board on a sequence of events that Matt Murray would like to have back. He was unable to catch a puck from Alex Edler at the point, which led to Sutter making a superb effort on the rebound goal:
Yooo this goal by Sutter pic.twitter.com/FeOVVrw8Rd— DFO Hockey Roundup (@DFOHockey) January 26, 2021
Almost five minutes later, it was Thomas Chabot this time who made a big blunder, which led to a goal by Tyler Motte. After pressure from Motte, Chabot fanned on an outlet pass, and after some movement in the zone, Motte buried his chance to put the Canucks up 2-0 with 5:52 to go in the first period. The Senators had a few decent chances in the first period from Connor Brown and Drake Batherson, but Thatcher Demko held steady.
Halfway through the second period, it appeared as if Ottawa finally had some life.
Chabot had been shaky up until that point, but he was able to get a primary assist on Austin Watson’s second of the season that was tipped in front of the net. It was a good battle in front from Watson, who was able to just barely get a piece of it in order to get the Senators back in the game.
Watson goal. Canucks just scored. 3-1 VAN. pic.twitter.com/ieBcVIRkam— Everyday.Sens (@EverydaySens) January 26, 2021
The problem was, as the tweet indicates, the Canucks got one right back before fans could even get all of their celebratory tweets out. Rookie Nils Hoglander made a fantastic diving play in the offensive zone to get the pass over to Tanner Pearson, who scored the first of five. Straight. Goals. For the Canucks to finish the game. We didn’t know it at the time, but that really was the dagger against the Senators.
Brandon Sutter would go on to score another before the period ended, and with the score being 4-1 against an uninspired Senators team, it seemed impossible that they were going to come back. Ottawa began the third period outshooting Vancouver 5-0, and they had some pushes that made it look like they might at least make it close. It’s not as if they didn’t have shots, as they ended the night with 36 total. However, Demko was up to the task, plus Ottawa’s defense undid any progress they had offensively.
I don’t even need to go over the next three goals for the Canucks, which were simply embarrassing and made Ottawa look like an AHL team. Quinn Hughes, Olli Juolevi (first career goal), and Brandon Sutter (first career hat-trick) scored the final three goals for the Canucks, and although the defense could have been better, Murray looked as bad as he ever has. By the end of the night, the final score was 7-1 for the Canucks.
It was an increasingly frustrating night after a week that has already been frustrating enough.
- I’m not sure about the readers, but I wasn’t alone amongst people on Twitter that felt very apathetic watching that game. It feels like ever since Stützle scored his first career goal, this team has been lifeless and it has been downright unenjoyable to watch them at points. Which is too bad, because obviously we’ve been waiting months for this. It’s just six games in, but something needs to change if we want to be hopeful for next season.
- Matt Murray needs to be so much better. He now has an .862 SV% in 5 games, and he’s let in some very weak goals so far. Yes, it’s difficult when the defense corps is not strong, but he needs to take some blame as well. Considering the contract he has, it is imperative that he things around—which he is certainly capable of.
- I would love to see what Artem Zub can do next game. There haven’t been many strong performances on defense, and he should be given a chance to see what he can do. You’d hope/think it can’t be any worse than what has been given so far.
- Tim Stützle played just 12:37 tonight, the third-lowest amount on the team (ahead of just Austin Watson and Alex Galchenyuk). Here is what coach DJ Smith had to say about that:
DJ Smith on Stützle's ice time:— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) January 26, 2021
"He was just a little off tonight. At the end, I wanted to protect him. As a young guy you can see it in their body language sometimes and the NHL can eat you up quick. In defense of him, he only had one practice and maybe we put him in too soon."
- I’m struggling to accept how weak the defense was tonight, and in some other games as well. Even some of their better defensemen in Chabot and Wolanin made some big blunders, so they haven’t had much to work with.
- Austin Watson showed some life tonight with a goal and two fights, as he was one of the few players exhibiting that he cared about this loss.
- You’d have to think Colin White draws back into the lineup next game, right? After this quote from Smith, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t:
Sounds to me like DJ Smith is ready to make some changes to his lineup after the 7-1 loss tonight.— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) January 26, 2021
"We've got to give some other guys some opportunity to see if they want to play a little harder than some of the guys that are playing now."
- On a personal note, as some of you know, I’ve lived my whole life in Vancouver. I always see the Senators when they come here, so this was the first time I watched the Senators on TV in Vancouver since probably 2009. Weird experience!
The Senators will stay in Vancouver for two more games on the road, with the next match coming on Wednesday. Good news though, it is a normal start time at 8:00 eastern!