Coming into tonight, the Senators have started to feel more like the team that won four straight at home in October and less like the team that couldn’t have anything go right for an entire month. With the LA Kings in town, the Sens were looking to sweep the season series and pick up another two important points in hopes of getting back in the Wild Card conversation.
Well, buckle up because that didn’t happen. At all.
To open the game, the LA Kings found the back of the net twice in the span of 40 seconds; all before the game was three minutes old. Luckily for Ottawa, they got to head back to the powerplay - which has been lethal of late - and were able to even one up, thanks to Drake Batherson picking up the garbage in front of the net.
You could feel the energy on the ice and the sound from the crowd heating up. The boys were buzzing. All of that excitement and energy quickly left when the Kings came back and scored another pair of goals, this time three minutes apart, to take a commanding 4-1 lead in the first period.
The second period started much better than the first. The opening five minutes, or so, saw the home team gain and maintain possession in LA’s zone for decent stretches. While nothing came of that possession to start, it was great to see the pace that Ottawa was missing at the start of the game.
With a powerplay on the menu, it felt like the Sens were about to get back into things. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter Drake Batherson took a sticking penalty in the offensive zone while on the man advantage, negating Ottawa’s powerplay. Once 4-on-4 play expired, the Kings took advantage of their short powerplay and put a fifth goal behind Cam Talbot. Thus was the end of the night for the goaltender and Anton Forbserg made his way to the crease.
The third period was much like the start of the second, where Ottawa played relatively well and had a few chances. With the clock ticking on their four goal deficit, Thomas Chabot finally got the good guys back in the scoring mood with a one timer on the powerplay.
As the clock wound down, the Sens went back to the powerplay and an empty net in an attempt to make one final press. The team maintained possession and had a number of high danger chances where any of them could’ve easily gone in. Alas, the Sens faithful ended the night with disappointment as Chabot’s tally ended up as the final scored in tis one.
It won’t get easier next game with a quick trip to Dallas to face the Central leading Stars on Thursday.
- In my opinion, DJ Smith showed the weak side of being a “player’s coach” tonight when he left Cam Talbot in the net. Through 20 minutes, the veteran goaltender allowed four goals on eleven shots for a 0.636 SV%. I think if you surveyed every head coach in the NHL, a vast majority would’ve made a change in this situation.
- In relief, Anton Forsberg was solid. He didn’t allow a goal. We don’t know what would have happened in this game if he had been introduced earlier, but focusing on that will only bring us sadness so we move on.
- With a goal and an assist, both on the powerplay, Thomas Chabot extended his heater tonight. He has three goals and six assists in his last seven games.
- The top line of Tim Stützle, Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux were, analytically, lights out tonight. They were the only line with dominant possession metrics.
- Analytically, Ottawa’s best pairing tonight was Jake Sanderson and Travis Hamonic while Erik Brännström and Nick Holden had a bit of a rough outing, getting outchanced at evens.