For the first time since 2015, Andrew Hammond made the start at the Canadian Tire Centre tonight. This time, however, it was for the visitors. At the other end was Matt Murray, in his first game after missing time with a nagging injury and then the birth of his second child.
The first period was relatively low key. There were some chances back and forth - including an early post from Colin White, in his first game back - but, for the most part, neither team was able to really gain much in the way of sustained pressure.
With just over three minutes left, the deadlock was finally broken after some turnovers by the Sens in their own end. After a five alarm save from Murray, the Habs were able to regain control and a point shot from Ben Chiarot made its way to the net, with Artturi Lehkonen ready to bang in the rebound for his eighth of the year.
Early in the second, White’s strong return to the line up continued as he scored his first of the season. On the powerplay, Victor Mete broke out of the zone with Connor Brown flying down his wing. Brown entered the zone, brought the puck down low, and found a wide open White for the tally.
As the second period continued, Murray made some solid saves including this beauty.
Unfortunately, just a few shifts later, Lehkonen found the back of the net for his second of the game to give Montreal a 2-1 lead.
In the dying minutes of the second, Brady Tkachuk drew a penalty to give his team an opportunity to tie things up. With only ten seconds left, Tim Stützle had a wide open net but his shot was blocked by the Habs, securing their lead heading into the final frame.
The third period was much like the first two where we saw the two teams exchange scoring chances and powerplay opportunities, only to not see much of a result from either. The battle of the goalies continued as Hammond and Murray kept their respective clubs in the game.
With just over three minutes left, Tkachuk took an untimely penalty, putting his team down a player at a crucial juncture in this one goal game. Ottawa’s red hot penalty kill unit were once again successful, giving the team just over a minute to even things up.
Unfortunately for your Ottawa Senators, it wasn’t in the cards. The Sens fall to the Habs, 2-1, on Hockey Night in Canada.
- Matt Murray was once again solid tonight. He had a 0.938 SV% and made some ten bell stops for the Sens. His 2022 play has been a welcomed surprised for Sens fans everywhere.
- Andrew Hammond, also great. In his return to Ottawa, Hammond reminded Sens fans of what happens when you get an Andrew Hammond in his hottest form.
- Colin White scored in his return to the lineup and contributed four shots. He wasn’t overly noticeable throughout but, honestly, that’s better than being noticeable for the wrong reasons in your first game back after a lengthy recovery from a shoulder injury.
- It felt like most of Ottawa’s success in the offensive zone came from Connor Brown’s stick tonight. Besides setting up a second period goal, Brown was able to effectively establish a cycle with his line, often being the catalyst in any offensive opportunities.
- With Thomas Chabot and Nikita Zaitsev as surprise scratches - both for non-covid illness - Erik Brännström led Ottawa’s defenders in ice time. Victor Mete was the only Sens rearguard who logged under 20 minutes in this one - and he still cleared 19.