It’s been a long month for the Ottawa Senators and their fans. Their last victory had been December 14th, a wild 8-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Then they lost to Tampa Bay 2-1 and Philadelphia 4-3 in overtime, then didn't play for 14 days. They lost 6-0 to Toronto on New Year’s Day and then went another 12 days between games until today. It’s been a weird experience because it seems like hockey isn’t even going on anymore, but it was great to sit down tonight and watch the Senators once again.
Despite all that time off, Ottawa actually came to play tonight.
Just 1:43 into the game, Nick Paul didn’t waste any time and scored on the first shot of the game. It looked like he caught Jacob Markstrom off guard as the shot was a bit unexpected:
Ottawa didn’t let up after that early goal and made sure to keep pressing. Matt Murray made some nice saves afterwards as well, which had the potential to change the entire flow of the game. But thankfully he was sharp. Paul would then add to his great start to the game by getting on an early hat-trick watch. Alex Formenton was able to keep the puck in and he gave it to Connor Brown. Brown made a nifty move to get around the defenseman, and Paul hung onto the puck long enough to get around Markstrom and slide the puck in:
Nick Paul makes it 2-0 after the turnover at the blueline! pic.twitter.com/kEqGox3kK1— Alex Metzger (@nhlsensandstuff) January 14, 2022
It was quite the start to the game for Paul, who only had 6 points coming into tonight.
After 20, it was 2-0 Ottawa. We all know the story though, which is that the Senators follow-up a great period with a lacklustre one, so that’s what was expected in the 2nd. However, that period didn’t come. Ottawa was the only team to score in the 2nd, courtesy of an incredibly talented goal from Drake Batherson. There was almost no room to shoot in the top corner, but Batherson somehow made it work as the period was coming to a close:
Drake Batherson are you kidding me?? pic.twitter.com/q9sEVIeQUv— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) January 14, 2022
Before that though, Milan Lucic challenged Scott Sabourin to a fight in order to give the Flames some life. It was a long tilt, and it ended up with Scott Sabourin fracturing his ring finger:
Ottawa stayed disciplined in the 2nd period (and the entire night), which made it even more difficult for Calgary to get back in the game. After 40 minutes, things were looking excellent, as it seemed like the last time they had played this well in back-to-back periods was early in the season against the New York Rangers.
Just 47 seconds into the final frame, Matthew Tkachuk made things interesting. Chris Tanev shot the puck from the point and Tkachuk tipped it past a helpless Murray, and all of a sudden Calgary had life. There was potential for this game to get quite close, but Ottawa never really fully let them back in.
Just a few minutes later, Connor Brown would use his speed in order to restore the 3-goal lead for Ottawa:
It was a somewhat surprising burst of speed from Brown, but impressive nonetheless. And after that point, both teams sort of coasted to the end. The Flames would get a few more penalties along the way, but all Ottawa had to do was play it safe and they were going to be fine. One hilarious thing did happen before the final buzzer though, as there was some brotherly love:
tender moments between brothers: matthew tkachuk smacking brady in the crotch pic.twitter.com/RA51F8gAk1— Mike Pfeil (@mikeFAIL) January 14, 2022
The final score was 4-1 with a convincing win for Ottawa.
- Matt Murray is always the main story when he plays, and he was solid tonight. He stopped 25 of 26 shots and looked like his old self. It’s his first win since April 22nd, 2021, which was a 3-0 win over Vancouver.
- Batherson scored his 10th of the season tonight, giving him 29 points in 25 games. This happened on the same day he was named as an NHL All-Star, quite an accomplishment for the 23-year-old. Considering he’s 4th amongst right wingers in points per game, he’s more than deserving.
- Erik Brännström took a bad penalty early on, but he looked confident with the puck the rest of the game. He adds a dynamic that the Senators don’t have besides Thomas Chabot, so I hope he stays in the lineup.
- Not only did Paul have 2 goals, he had an incredible 10 shot attempts and played 20:09, which was first amongst forwards. It’s good to see him have a game like that.
- With Formenton’s 2 assists, he’s up to 4 goals and 5 assists in his last 10 games.
- Jacob Bernard-Docker had lots of friends and family in the stands tonight as he is from Canmore, Alberta. It’s always nice to see loved ones getting to watch up close for the first time!