Tonight, a severely depleted Ottawa Senators team welcomed the Los Angeles Kings to town. With an incredible nine players currently in COVID protocol, the Sens roster looked much closer to an early preseason lineup than that of a team set to hit the ice in November. Nonetheless, the NHL decided the show had to go on so on it went.
The first period of this one was pretty solid, all things considered. With Filip Gustavsson between the pipes, the Sens managed to make it out of the first frame without allowing a goal. The Sens kept things close, with 9 shots compared to LA’s 11, but the biggest thing to happen in the first was losing yet another player - this time to a possible injury. Artem Zub left the game after this collision and did not return.
Heading into the second frame, with the game still knotted at zero, the Sens got to work, creating chances on Jonathan Quick. Tim Stützle - notably cursed by the hockey gods - was working his usual magic but, of course, had nothing on the scoresheet to show for it.
Tim Stützle is unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/EGvJSZLV2X— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) November 12, 2021
When you’re as depleted as this roster, you need your goalie to show up for you and in Gustavsson, the Sens got that tonight.
Gustavsson bails the Sens out. Tough shift for the top forward line. pic.twitter.com/LJpJILdhnG— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) November 12, 2021
The Sens weren’t without their chances in the second, you could tell they were buzzing and ready to score. The bounces just weren’t going their way.
If the Sens lose this game, here’s another bounce that just didn’t go their way.— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) November 12, 2021
Puck has to be in the net. pic.twitter.com/ih94JzyAJn
Late in the second, the deadlock was finally broken as Anze Kopitar found the back of the net on the powerplay.
The third period was similar to the second, in that the Sens played well but couldn’t bury the puck. The good guys outshot the bad guys 13-8 in their bid for a tie game, but were ultimately unsuccessful. It wouldn’t be until the third period when the Kings would strike again, putting an end to the Sens’ hopeful comeback.
That’s two goals on two deflections.
All in all, the Sens played well given the circumstances and Filip Gustavsson really held his own in the crease, giving his team a chance to stay in a game that, on paper, they had no business being in.
- COVID protocol or not for Matt Murray, two-way contract or not, Filip Gustavsson should be this team’s starter moving forward. The young Swede put up a 0.944 SV% and, as previously mentioned, both goals against were on deflections. Every opportunity Gustavsson had to keep his team in the game, he did. This should be his crease.
- Lassi Thomson looked every bit the part of an NHL defender tonight. Between strong breakouts, solid defensive positioning and an excellent present on the penalty kill, Thomson could do no wrong. This was clearly noticed by DJ Smith, as Thomson was second only to Thomas Chabot in total time on ice tonight for the blueline. Despite it being his first NHL game, and on a severely depleted roster, Thomson was barely below even at 5v5 CF% with 46.15%.
- Chabot played over 30 minutes and played well. With Chabot on the ice, the Sens had 29 chances for and only 19 against at even strength. There’s not much more you can ask from this player on a night like tonight.
- Egor Sokolov, come on down. Sokolov was another member of this rag tag team of young Sens who played quite well tonight. He was physical on the puck and the Sens outchanced the Kings when Sokolov was on the ice tonight.
- A final shoutout to another player taking advantage of an opportunity, Erik Brännström looked like a top four defender tonight. He moved the puck well, defended well and created chances when he was on the ice.