There was a sense of optimism in Sens land heading into tonight’s game with the debut of Adam Gaudette and, of course, the return of Drake Batherson after a long stint in COVID protocol. Unfortunately for Sens fans, the Canucks put a bit of damper on the vibes just 90 seconds into this one as Tanner Pearson scored his fourth of the season on a sloppy defensive shift for Ottawa.
Moments later, Brady Tkachuk tried to set the tone with a fantastic check on Quinn Hughes but was erroneously sent to the box for interference.
This is called interference on Tkachuk? What? Hughes had the puck. pic.twitter.com/HYFOjFDDxP— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) December 2, 2021
In this replay, you can even see Hughes try to play the puck. Nonetheless, the Sens got to work and killed off the penalty.
Just as I, a noted genius, predicted, Adam Gaudette would tie this game at one about twelve minutes into this game on a beautiful one-timer on the backdoor with the man advantage.
This goal came after some great work around the perimeter from Ottawa’s second powerplay unit, quarterbacked by Lassi Thomson. Connor Brown and Chris Tierney drew the assists.
Heading into the first intermission, with the game tied at one, the Sens were certainly on the wrong side of the game for most of the first period. The majority of the team was outchanced at even strength with the exception of Ottawa’s top line. Tkachuk, Batherson and Josh Norris were wildly impressive, controlled much of the play 5v5 and it showed in their CF%, with Tkachuk being the worst of the three with 55.56%. Another positive to take out of the first was that four of Ottawa’s six defenders were either even or above 50% in the CF% game. The bad part was the pairing of Victor Mete and Nikita Zaitsev were an absolute disaster at even strength.
The second period started much like the first, with a lot of Canucks possession and multiple Ottawa turnovers. Just over two minutes in, Tyler Motte regained Vancouver’s lead.
I’m not sure how many mirrors Tim Stützle broke in the offseason but his ability to be an impact player while not producing offensively continued early on in this one, including this whiff on an open net.
Speaking of players who can’t buy one, Thomas Chabot was solid through two periods, having multiple offensive chances, including this point blank chance from the slot which he fired wide.
Nice play between Gaudette, Tkachuk and Chabot. Chabot has to capitalize. pic.twitter.com/iw0hdo2Aod— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) December 2, 2021
The second period featured multiple powerplay opportunities both ways - including a full minute of 5-on-3 for the Senators - but neither team was able to capitalize as Thatcher Demko and Filip Gustavsson both held their ground.
With a player from each team in the box, and just 30 seconds left in the frame, Luke Schenn scored his first as a member of the Canucks, giving Vancouver a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Sometimes the routine ways this team starts or ends a period has to make you laugh because the third period started much like the first and second - outshot and a goal in the first few minutes. Just over four minutes in, Bo Horvat potted his seventh of the season to bring Vancouver’s lead to 4-1. Later in the frame, with Artem Zub in the box, former Senator Alex Chiasson slammed home a rebound to make things 5-1.
Late in the third, with six minutes left on the clock, Tkachuk worked hard to make a clean zone exit before heading to his office in front of the net to bury his fifth of the year. Given the state of the game, he was not overly pumped about the tally.
Unfortunately, this was not a repeat of the “It Was 5-1” game against Toronto last year. With two minutes left, JT Miller did his best Connor McDavid impression and danced through the Sens to bury one we will certainly be seeing on Sportscentre tomorrow.
- Filip Gustavsson was busy again tonight and, while he made some key saves early in the game, he allowed six goals goals for a 0.829 SV%. Teams have been able to consistently score in bunches against the Sens, no matter who’s in net.
- Lassi Thomson somehow made it out of this game with a positive CF% at even strength. He was solid again, maybe the most defensively consistent rearguard in a black sweater tonight.
- Victor Mete and Nikita Zaitsev had a rough night. It felt like every time they were on the ice, the Sens were getting pelted and the stats back it up.
- Brady Tkachuk led by example tonight. He was physical at both ends of the ice and was often the catalyst in the glimpses of time Ottawa had sustained pressure. He had a goal, two shots and two hits.
- While Adam Gaudette scored in his Sens debut, he was also a key cog to Vancouver’s first and second goals of the game. So much so, his ice time fell off a cliff in the second period.