After losing three straight, the Sens were on the road tonight to face off against an equally not-so-great Columbus Blue Jackets team. While they weren’t able to take down the Sabres, and gave both the Penguins and Capitals some solid efforts, all eyes were on the Sens to see how they’d fare in the second half of this back-to-back against a beatable team.
The game started just as the Sens would have wanted, with a goal for the good guys. Artem Zub (Zuuuuuuuuuuuub) opened this one with a shot that found it’s way through a ton of bodies and past Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins.
The remainder of the period was relatively even on the shot clock but the Blue Jackets were certainly the better team in getting quality scoring chances. With Anton Forsberg between the pipes, you don’t always know what you’re going to get but nobody can say they wouldn’t love Forsberg on their team when he’s on his game. Luckily for the Sens, Forsberg was dialled in during the first period of this one, helping to maintain the lead for much of the period.
Anton Forsberg makes a huge save. Alex Formenton then blows by Werenski. pic.twitter.com/1PPWOFjCsI— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) January 23, 2022
With less than a minute left, however, Columbus managed to break the goose egg with a Sean Kuraly’s sixth of the season.
The second period was much like the first, relatively even but also uneventful. That is until Tim Stützle broke through what felt like the entire Columbus team to give his team the lead.
Through two periods, the rearguard who DJ Smith deemed to have arrived led the team at even strength with a 66.67 CF% in over 10 minutes of ice time 5v5. The fourth line was also playing quite well through 40 as Chris Tierney, Adam Gaudette and Tyler Ennis all found themselves on the right side of the CF sheet.
As we headed into the third, one thing you could be absolutely certain of is Stützle had his pre-game nap for this one, he was all over the ice making plays, stealing pucks and getting his team on the right side of the puck.
The Sens ended up holding onto the league with some more fantastic work from Forsberg. This was Ottawa’s first win in Columbus since 2017. The team heads back home after going 1-1-1 on this road trip.
- Anton Forsberg was an absolute stud for the Sens tonight, stopping 35 of the 36 shots he faced for a tidy 0.972 SV%.
- Tim Stützle was all over the ice as his combination of skill and speed is growing more evident with each game. He scored a beauty and played with so much poise and confidence, we’re all surprised he didn’t score more.
- Nick Holden’s name came out of the mouths of the play-by-play team more than maybe any other player, particularly in the third period. Pairing with Artem Zub, who was also fantastic, Holden was solid in his own end all game.
- The top line of Tkachuk-Norris-Batherson got broken up partway through the game and none of the three appeared particularly lethal tonight. It’s always nice when the team can pull off a win when your top players don’t play to their usual level.
- Erik Brännström continued his coming out party while contributing greatly to the teams breakout and transition game. It feels like every time he’s given even a little space in his own end, he’s able to find a way to get the puck safely on the tape of a breaking forward.