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Ottawa Senators Remain Winless on The Road as The New Jersey Devils Win 4-3 in Overtime

It starts with a point and then a win comes next?

Ottawa Senators v New Jersey Devils Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images

Here we are, with the Ottawa Senators facing down one of the hottest teams in the NHL. This Devilish opponent has won 7 in a row while the Senators looked to prove the theory of the Zaitsev jinx true, and break the losing streak from hell.

It wasn’t a great start, as the Sens seemed to be missing some of the needed drive and urgency. The Devils seemed like they were just too fast and too good for the Sens to have a chance in the early going. With less than 5 minutes in, the Sens had a defensive collapse resulting in a Tomas Tatar goal giving the Devils an early 1-0 lead.

Not all hope was lost as the Sens started to wake up halfway through the period and get some chances of their own. They even managed to play well enough to draw a penalty and yes, I understand that a power play for the Sens is usually a momentum killer but sometimes Pinto stops thinking, and he scores! His friends’ reactions may have been the best part of the game.

Things continued to go well for the Sens as they found their footing in the game. The Devils were still doubling up on shots but somehow the fourth line did some magic and none other than Travis Hamonic managed to get a shot into the net to give the Sens a 2-1 lead. Yes, that is a two-game goal-scoring streak for Hamonic.

But it wouldn’t be a Sens game lately without a late-period goal against and with less than 2 minutes left the Devils with a beautiful transition pass get it to Nico Hischier who made no mistakes. I don’t like blaming goalies but Forsberg could have made that save. However, shots were tied, goals were tied, and the Sens didn’t look completely deflated. Something to build on!

Onto the second period! Ok, maybe the Sens are just not great at the start of the period and the very end of the period? Less than 5 minutes in, the Devils were outshooting the Sens 8-1 and of course were up 3-2 on a Miles Wood goal. At the 13 minutes mark, I heard the words on the broadcast “Sens and their Captain want to change the narrative tonight” — the shots were 23-9 and I wasn’t seeing any narrative changes happening tonight, to be honest.

The Sens, however, settled the game a bit but they seemed to be finding creative ways to struggle offensively. Nothing was going their way, and the few chances they did generate resulted in so many broken sticks. Every time the Devils were set up, the Sens were caught watching defensively leaving Forsberg to do the hard work.

With 5 minutes left in the frame, Thomas Chabot found a chance to drive the net but went a bit too far into the goalie. The reaction from Vitek Vanecek was a bit scary at first but he shook it off and Chabot was off to the penalty box. Huge kill for the Sens who really didn’t look like they would be able to dig themselves out from a 4-2 deficit at this point. It was a messy kill but they got it done, mostly thanks to Anton Forsberg who was having a spectacular period to redeem himself after the second goal against.

The penalty kill seemed to have given the Sens some life and the Stützle’s line came out on fire and had some of the best Sens chances all game. There was a period-ending sequence where Tkachuk was sprung on a clear breakaway only to have the end-of-period horn go off , which felt like a good encapsulation of the Sens’ luck the past few weeks.

The Sens got the third-period start they needed so badly with a beautiful release shot from Shane Pinto to tie the game. The Sens took advantage of the surprise momentum shift and really continued pushing and it looked like they may have a chance at this game. With around 8 minutes left, the Devils were forced to make a goalie change as Vanecek seemed like he was still in discomfort following the collision with Chabot.

Akira Schmid hadn’t seen any action this season and he came onto the ice with 8 minutes left in a tie game. The first blast he took from Hamonic he literally ducked down in his net so he was obviously on the shaky side. You would think this is where the Sens would take the perfect opportunity to really make Schmid work. Instead, they did the absolute opposite and let the Devils take over the game. It was remarkable how well the Devils responded to protect their goalie and frankly, the Sens were lucky to come out of that third period tied, especially the last few minutes.

After a couple chances of their own to start OT, the Devils took a penalty and gave the Sens another golden opportunity to get their first road win. With a cold and untested goalie and a man advantage in overtime, the game is over at this point. Right? DJ Smith made the bold but, correct, decision to put out 4 forwards, and they did well but between missing the net multiple times and Schmid seemingly being possessed by the ghost of Marty Brodeur; nothing was going for the Sens no matter how close they got.

With the way the power play ended, it really felt like it wasn’t the Sens’ night. Sure enough, with around 50 seconds left in overtime, Shane Pinto steals the puck for the perfect opportunity and misses the net and at the other end, Thomas Chabot takes another reckless penalty. It took the Devils mere seconds to do what the Sens couldn’t in 2 full minutes. Another day, another Sens loss, and the streak is now at 7 games. Times are tough.

Game Notes

  • Thomas Chabot is maybe the last player I would ever criticize but he had a rough game tonight and hasn’t looked himself all season long. Is he playing too many minutes, again?
  • Jacob Bernard-Docker looked really good, why has he not been up until now?
  • Shane Pinto had a fantastic night and really made it a fun night for his friends and family in attendance. It might be worth giving him a bigger opportunity in the top six given the other option is Derrick Brassard.
  • It’s another 1 goal loss for those who celebrate.
  • This team seems to be totally demoralized. I don’t know how they can recover from this terrible start to the season but if they want to, something drastic has to change. Lots of folks will be of the same mind for what that might be.
  • The Sens showed flashes of how good they can be, especially offensively they just need some push or luck or something but this has gone on for too long.

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