Well, I tried.
Even my powers have their limits. I’m 6-1-1 on recaps this season, because I guess the hockey gods want to make sure this doesn’t get to my head too much. I had high hopes for this game, as I’m sure many Ottawa Senators fans did. The Sens deserved much better than what they got in their first game against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, so clearly they were due for a win. Right?
But hey, at least this series was an improvement over the first one. Baby steps.
It only took a bit over 2 minutes for Vancouver to take the lead, as Brock Boeser - of hockey fancam fame - walked right around Erik Gudbranson. Yes, Brock is hockey twitter’s favourite American Boy, but does he have an entire parody song about how much his coach loves him? I didn’t think so. 1-0 Vancouver.
Just 2:29 into the 1st, Boes picks up his 15th goal of the season.— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 17, 2021
He's tied for fifth in goals in the NHL. pic.twitter.com/DogClJycCF
Generally, the Sens did not have a very good start to the game. The Canucks mostly seemed to be keeping possession, and every Senators chance was turned away by Thatcher Demko. The Sens’ best chance of the first ten minutes was an excellent shot from Tim Stützle that was unfortunately stopped.
Vancouver doubled their lead about 8 minutes in, after Nils Höglander tripped Thomas Chabot and fed the puck to Bo Horvat. No penalty for the trip, obviously. 2-0 Vancouver.
Nils Hoglander's impressive rookie season continues with an tonight. pic.twitter.com/ZgYHkidmjU— NHL (@NHL) March 17, 2021
The next few minutes were Ottawa typical. I audibly sighed watching Zub make a good defensive play, and then a few seconds later I was subjected to a very bad defensive play by Gudbranson. The Norris line made things fun, but only for a little while. The Sens played a little bit better toward the end of the period, with a few good looks at the net, but they certainly weren’t dominating they way they had in the last game between these two teams.
I blame the lack of Julia Robillard.
The Sens earned their first powerplay of the game with just over 2 minutes left in the frame, when Jordie Benn got called for holding Dadonov. Maybe he just wanted to hug the team dad? Did the refs consider that? Seems unfair to punish him for just being nice, but I’ll take it.
The powerplay was highly exciting, but yielded no results. Ottawa went into the first intermission still down 2-0.
The Sens actually looked much better to start the second period. Nick Paul got an excellent chance early on, and everyone seemed to have a bit more jump in their step.
Ryan Dzingel finally put the Sens on the board three minutes into the frame, with a whole lot of help from Clark Bishop. His line with Nick Paul had looked good all night, so it was nice to see them score. Let’s also not ignore the nice stretch pass from Wolanin. 2-1 Ottawa.
Ottawa was just buzzing from then on. This was the team we saw on Monday. It felt like only a matter of time before they would tie the game.
They didn’t, at least not yet, but the game was a lot of fun to watch. Both teams had shown up to play.
Gudbranson took a tripping penalty toward the midway point of the game. Ottawa went to the penalty kill, but on the bright side, they did get two whole minutes without Gudbranson on the ice, which is just a massive W no matter how you look at it.
They killed off the penalty, and looked dangerous immediately afterward. Batherson nearly scored on a breakaway, and his linemates got several good chances. This felt a lot like Monday’s game, in that the Sens were technically losing, but it didn’t feel like it would stay that way for long.
Once again, Ottawa ended the period with a powerplay. This time, it was Quinn Hughes who went to the box for tripping Tim Stützle. I can only assume he was jealous of Brady Tkachuk and Josh Norris’s new best friend, and his anger led him to lash out at his replacement in the friend group. Not his proudest moment, I’m sure, but everyone gives in to jealousy sometimes. It’s okay, sad Victorian boy. I’m sure you’ll find new friends on your team, even if they’re not as cool as Mark Stone’s tenants.
While Ottawa once again put on a show on the powerplay, they also failed to even the score. It was still 2-1 going into the third.
The Senators were buzzing to start the third period, but of course things just couldn’t go their way. Colin White went to the dressing room after crashing into the boards, only a few days after sustaining what looked like a very serious injury. I just hope he’s alright.
Only a few minutes later, Joey Daccord went to the dressing room after injuring himself on a seemingly innocuous play. He looked to be in a lot of pain, and had a lot of trouble getting off the ice. That’s our third goaltender injury of the season, for anyone keeping track.
Gustavsson took over in net after that - his first NHL game. Only a few seconds later, Josh Norris buried his 7th of the season to tie the game. Finally, something good was happening! 2-2.
Gustavsson made a few good saves about 11 minutes in, including one on a breakaway. Unfortunately, any momentum those saves might have created was quickly eliminated when Ottawa headed to the penalty box, and the Canucks got an excellent chance to take back the lead.
Thankfully, the Senators killed off the penalty, and the game remained tied. While the last few minutes of the game were a lot of fun, neither team managed to score. There was a bit of a scare right at the end where it kind of looked like Chabot might get a penalty for delay of game, but the puck had deflected off a Canucks player’s stick, so we were safe. The final buzzer sounded, and the game went to overtime.
Ottawa had the puck for the entire first half of the overtime period. Chabot and Dadonov very nearly won the game for the Senators, but the play was called offside. Each team got a few good chances, but ultimately overtime solved nothing, and the game went to a shootout.
Stützle and Norris were both turned away, and Gustavsson made two good stops. Batherson made a great play on his shot, but Demko made a better save. Bo Horvat fumbled his shot, so it was tied after three. DJ Smith sent out Dzingel as his fourth shooter, and he failed to win the game for the Senators. Micaela Gaudette’s husband sealed the win for the Canucks.
- There’s isn’t much to like when it comes to the Sens defense right now, but Zub continued to be quietly excellent. He makes a lot of really smart defensive plays.
- Clark Bishop is really taking advantage of his time in Ottawa. He looked great all night.
- This was not a great game for Thomas Chabot.
- Christian Wolanin made a lot of good plays tonight. It’s a shame we can’t have him and Brännström in at the same time.
- Gudbranson was noticeably bad all game.
- Norris is always good, but I thought he played especially well tonight.
- Nick Paul was good all night, but man, he really stepped it up in the third.