The game felt doomed from the start.
The Ottawa Senators rolled into Anaheim on an epic losing streak, with hardly any hope left for the season. The coach had finally ditched the platitudes and clichés and outright called out Matt Murray for underperforming. This team desperately needed a win but at this point it was hard to believe they’d actually manage to pull one together.
And what can I say about that game that hasn’t been said about every game before it? It was an Ottawa Senators game. They probably deserved a slightly better fate, but it never really looked like they were going to win. Maybe with Batherson back in the lineup they’ll manage to pull off a win, but right now this team is just not good enough.
The game kicked off with the thing you all tuned in for at 4pm on a Friday: Austin Watson losing a fight. Feel the excitement!
The first ten minutes or so were pretty even, with Anaheim getting most of the really dangerous chances, but neither team dominating. Lassi Thomson stood out, making at least three phenomenal defensive plays just in the first half of the period.
Here’s just one of them:
More exceptional defending from Lassi Thomson. This guy is the real deal. pic.twitter.com/faf5i1j2Jh— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) November 26, 2021
Each team got a chance on the powerplay, but neither one managed to score. The Sens’ penalty kill was actually surprisingly good. At least I thought so, until the broadcast reminded me that the Ducks have a historically bad powerplay. Right. It was a boring game.
Ottawa looked flat in all three zones, and the momentum gradually shifted in Anaheim’s favour. Eventually, the Ducks capitalized on a defensive breakdown by the Sens to take the lead. What a surprise. 1-0 Anaheim.
The whole sequence of the #Ducks goal.— Pesky Sickos (@PeskySickos) November 26, 2021
Lassi Thomson commis down low and there's no coverage right in front of the net, resulting in an easy chance for Lundestrom
1-0#Sens #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/lM2AFhWiuR
Ottawa started the second period on a good note, with a few good scoring chances in the first shift. Zach Sanford came incredibly close to scoring his fourth in two games.
After that it was a swift return to the defensive zone. The Ducks actually didn’t register a shot on net for the next little bit, but the Sens weren’t exactly dominating. It felt like they would never score.
The second Ottawa powerplay of the game brought about the return of the infamous Neutral Zone Drop Pass, and it was predictably unsuccessful. Ottawa got a few good chances, but nothing went in.
Another powerplay followed, and this one was interrupted by Brady Tkachuk getting into a fight to defend Tim Stützle after he was hit. The fight resulted in offsetting fighting majors, taking Tkachuk off the ice for the next 5 minutes. It was very bad timing for a fight, although I have to say I do find it nice that our captain will straight up beat up anyone who tries to hurt his buddy.
The second Ducks goal of the game came right after the penalty expired. Anaheim capitalized on a Sens’ mistake and got a beautiful scoring chance, then Victor Mete tried to clear the puck and ended up banking it off Tyler Ennis. Far from the worst own goal ever scored by the Senators against Anaheim, but it pretty much summed up the season so far. 2-0 Anaheim.
Ottawa got a number of good chances in the second - seriously, who cursed this team? - but none of them went in the net. Of course. Just to make matters worse, Anaheim soon scored again on a powerplay. The two teams headed into the dressing rooms with the score 3-0 Anaheim.
It was an utterly listless start to the third for the clearly demoralized Ottawa Senators. Anaheim controlled the play and Ottawa was very obviously not going to come back to win this one.
Chabot went to the box, but the Ottawa penalty kill did the trick. Then Stützle almost scored, of course. Then Formenton failed to score on a breakaway. I probably could have written this recap without even watching the game. It was Sens cliché after Sens cliché.
The Ducks extended their lead with another goal right after the Formenton breakaway. 4-0 Anaheim.
Formenton blatantly slashed on the hands, no call. Ducks score right after. pic.twitter.com/sdlU4XPjov— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) November 26, 2021
Ottawa got a late powerplay but did not score, although the best chance of the two minutes was a great shot by Tyler Ennis off a pass from Lassi Thomson.
- I’m going to get this out of the way for anyone who didn’t watch the game and wants to know who to blame: Forsberg was fine! Not amazing, but not the reason they lost. Did he make any particularly spectacular saves? No. Was he to blame for any of those goals against? Also no. So basically this is the opposite of a notable performance, but I felt the need to say it.
- Player of the game goes to Lassi Thomson and it is not close. He didn’t look great on the first Anaheim goal, but he was making all kinds of excellent defensive plays all night - lots of small plays you might not have noticed, and a few big, dramatic plays that saved this game from being even worse than it was. And that’s without even mentioning his offensive game, which was also good. I am impressed.
- Shoutout to Alex Formenton for… doing Alex Formenton things. By that I mean creating great scoring chances and then whiffing on them. You can interpret this as a good thing or a bad thing. I’m not even sure what it is.
- Tim Stützle still looks great at centre.