If you had to describe the Ottawa Senators with one word for this season; I think the most appropriate word would be inconsistent. After ripping off 4 wins in a row, the Sens’ performance in their last two games has left us wanting more. Tonight’s affair against the Winnipeg Jets felt like a real low point.
It started off with an early goal, as the Jets took an early lead less than 2 minutes into the game. These things do happen, and a 1 goal deficit isn’t the end of the world, but the Jets kept buzzing and before the Sens could really settle into the game a shot by Josh Morrissey bounced right past Cam Talbot to make it 2-0. It didn’t help matters that Morrisey had been allowed to waltz right into the slot by a flailing Drake Batherson.
On the bright side, that second goal seemed to have energized the Sens and brought some bite back into their game. They got their golden opportunity for an instant response with a power play shortly thereafter. The 4th ranked power play in the league didn’t disappoint as Batherson made up for his defensive miscue and cut the lead to make it 2-1 and give the Sens some life.
As the period went on, the Sens continued to show signs of domination. They were outshooting the Jets 14-4 at one point, and a late power play was the perfect chance to get the game evened up. Instead the power play failed to produce and on the other end, with mere seconds left in the frame, and the Jets with an extra attacker on a delayed penalty expanded their lead to 3-1.
Not to place all the blame on Talbot for tonight’s outcome but it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to see Anton Forsberg in the second. Lately Smith has seemed to favour Talbot, however, and the coach stuck with his nominal starter. But as the second period got underway, there was tons of time for a comeb......aaaand it was4-1 Jets less than a minute into the period. Another instance of blown coverage and a complete lack of awareness on this goal as Kyle Connor gets a wide open net.
The Sens continued their semi-inspired effort through the second period with the usual big guns nowhere to be found. The best chance came off the post from a Parker Kelly shot. It seemed all the good chances were coming from the fourth line who unfortunately aren’t exactly known for their finishing.
To make matters worse, Kyle Connor wasn’t done for the night. A perfect snipe and the perfect dagger to truly end the game before it even gets to the 40-minute mark.
With 7 shots on net all period, the Sens hardly put a dent on the Jets’ commanding lead and really we were just watching the third for our own personal misery. Even the Senators official account wasn’t hopeful for a comeback that would push them past the third.
To their credit, the Sens did finally show up to the third period. Nothing particularly impressive but at least they didn’t seem to have rolled over. Still then, the fourth line remained to be our best chance but the skill just wasn’t there. The Winnipeg Jets went into full defensive mode and were content with merely avoiding giving the Sens’ much hope.
In this frame, the Sens did everything they could do except score a goal. They ended up the period with 13 shots and outshot the Jets 36-24 overall. Frankly speaking, the shot count made the Sens look better than they were, and, while Rittich played very well, it just didn’t feel like the Sens were ever a threat after the 3-1 goal.
It really is astounding how this team can go from winning 4 in a row to losing in the worst ways possible. The Jets are a good team but Ottawa made their lives much too easy — especially in failing to test Rittich.
I won’t say much about DJ Smith because at this point, he’s not going anywhere but the Winnipeg Jets won 5-1 in a brilliantly dominating fashion where they made every chance count and this is what their coach came out saying after the game:
“To me it’s ridiculous how many shots we give up.”— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) December 21, 2022
- Rick Bowness after beating Ottawa 5-1
This is what Ottawa needs.
It would be good to hear Smith demand a bit more from the guys on nights like this — there are only so many moral victories.
- Erik Brännström deserves much more attention and praise. He is getting more confident and poised as the season goes on and was truly a bright spot tonight.
- While they didn’t produce, the fourth line seemed to be the most engaged and they earned the praise of DJ Smith as they say most of the ice time in the third. Both Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux played around 15 minutes of ice time and it seemed DJ Smith wanted to move on to the next game and rest the big guns.
- With Jake Sanderson and Erik Brännström consistently having good nights, Chabot’s ice time is slowly creeping down to somewhat reasonable minutes. With Zub hopefully coming back soon, it’ll be interesting to see how much relief Chabot gets for the rest of the season.