Well, I tried.
After recapping the only two wins of the season, I really thought I might have some superpowers here. But alas, it seems that even I cannot manifest a Senators win, despite the best efforts of a certain site manager who has admitted to assigning me to recap games based on his betting habits. Yes, this is a callout.
You deserve that loss, NKB.
After seeing the Sens give up the first goal over and over and over again this season - then taking so long to score yesterday - it was a very welcome surprise to see them take an early lead, only 26 seconds into the game. A really nice sequence in the Oilers’ zone resulted in Nikita Zaitsev getting an excellent shot on goal, which was tipped in by Connor Brown. Brown also did lots of work along the boards to get the puck to Zaitsev in the first place, so the goal was well-deserved. It’s nice to see him finally getting on the board. 1-0 Ottawa.
The Sens continued to play well after that goal. They got a lot of good looks at the net, with Zaitsev and Brown both looking especially good. Unfortunately, however, the Oilers evened the score just over four minutes into the game. It was a pretty demoralizing goal considering how well the Sens had been playing, but the silver lining, I guess, is that it was pretty much all on Hogberg. I haven’t seen a five-hole goal that bad in a long time. Bad news for the Sens’ goaltending, but at least the team in front of him was still playing well. 1-1.
The next few minutes were highly entertaining, in exactly the way you’d expect a Sens-Oilers game to be entertaining. The play kept going up and down the ice, neither team having any difficulty entering the offensive zone. It was like the opposite of a Guy Boucher game. No neutral zone play, no defense, just vibes. The best Sens chances came from White, Dadonov and Batherson, but neither player managed to find the back of the net.
It was fun.
A bad turnover from Chabot almost resulted in a McDavid goal with about 8 minutes left in the period, but Ottawa somehow managed to hold on, thanks in no small part to Marcus Hogberg. Way to redeem yourself!
Hogberg unfortunately had to bail out the team a few more times before the end of the period. I wouldn’t say the Sens were terrible, but they absolutely could not handle the McDavid line and it led to several scary moments.
Unfortunately, though Hogberg looked good for a little while, he got bad again toward the end of the frame, giving up his second very bad goal of the game as the Oilers took a 2-1 lead.
Right after that goal, the Sens DJ chose to play “CA$H” by LGS in the arena, which felt just a little too on the nose. That song is on my Sens playlist as a joke, along with “Money Money Money” by ABBA and “I’ve Always Never Believed in You” from Crazy Ex Girlfriend. I love it.
The second period was a little bit delayed to start, as the zamboni apparently made a mistake while cleaning the ice. I guess the budget cuts are being felt in all areas. While the gaping hole in the Sens’ defensive zone would have been both a great asset in the game and a great metaphor for the state of the team, it was fixed within about 10 minutes, unlike the other gaping holes in the Sens’ defensive zone.
Ottawa looked good to start the period. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen them keep this much offensive pressure for so long. It was a nice change, even if it was broken up by a few terrifying Edmonton chances.
Unfortunately, Hogberg let in yet another terrible goal less than four minutes into the period. That would spell the end of his night, with Matt Murray taking over. 3-1 Edmonton.
It really was unfortunate that the goaltending was so poor, because the Sens had looked like the better team in this game. They looked considerably less confident after that third goal, almost giving up a fourth during Murray’s first few minutes in net.
They picked themselves up after that, though. Stützle got a good chance but fanned on it, then Chabot and friends almost cut the Edmonton lead in half. Chabot drew a penalty on the play, sending the Sens to their first powerplay of the game - a double minor.
The powerplay seemed like the perfect opportunity to regain momentum, but alas, it was not to be. The first two minutes were an absolute disaster, with Ottawa failing to record even a single shot, and while the second powerplay looked much better, it also failed to result in a goal. Not for lack of trying, though.
They did only get one shot on goal, however.
While Ottawa continued to look like the better team throughout the rest of the period - not allowing even a single shot against for a while, and getting several good chances - they failed to score another goal. They entered the third period down 3-1.
The Sens’ luck finally took a turn for the better at the start of the third, as Evgenii Dadonov scored on a breakaway. It’s his second goal in two games, but the first one he scored by himself in a while. Well deserved, and a massive relief for the Senators. Matt Murray also got his first career assist on the play, which was cool. 3-2 Edmonton.
Josh Norris went to the box for tripping almost immediately after that goal - pretty much the last thing the Senators needed right as they were gaining momentum. They killed off the penalty, though, and as soon as they were back to 5-on-5, the Sens were right back in the offensive zone. Dadonov set up Colin White for an absolutely beautiful chance just over five minutes in, but it was turned away by the Oilers’ netminder.
I’ll be honest: I was not expecting a performance this good in the third period. We’ve gotten so used to inconsistency with this team that it seemed inevitable that they would collapse toward the end of this game. Instead, they looked fantastic through 60 minutes, and really did deserve to win this game. A massive improvement compared to earlier in the season.
The Sens called a timeout and pulled their goaltender with just over a minute left in the game. All the kids (plus Dadonov) hit the ice for the final push, but despite a few excellent chances, it wasn’t enough. Ottawa somehow kept the Oilers from scoring on the empty net, and they lost the game 3-2.
It wasn’t the result we wanted, but look on the bright side! We’re pretty far into the season, and our only wins are against the Leafs and Habs. The Sens sure know which games are important. Plus, this just makes it more embarrassing for our two biggest rivals. Can you believe they actually lost to us? Damn.
#Oilers win a game when neither Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl record a point for the first time since November 28, 2017 vs Arizona— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) February 10, 2021
- I think Sens Twitter wanted Artem Zub to be good so badly that we all collectively willed him to be good. He had a great game, and certainly won’t be sent down any time soon.
- Connor Brown also looked excellent tonight.
- Why was Colin White scratched at the beginning of the season? He looked fantastic on a line with Dadonov and Paul.
- It probably goes without saying at this point but uhhhhh Hogberg was not good tonight.
- Dadonov also had a great game.
- Credit where credit is due: Mike Reilly actually had a good game, and hasn’t looked too bad recently.