It was destined to be a weird one.
The Ottawa Senators faced off against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight with both teams on the second half of a back-to-back. Ottawa was coming off perhaps their most boring win of the post-Guy Boucher era and had yet to win both halves of a back-to-back this season. Also, Forsberg was in net. We were going chaos mode.
To add to the intrigue, the Sens also had a chance to pass two teams in the league standings, as they were only one point behind Buffalo and New Jer- wait, hold on, I’m getting some news about who the Devils were playing tonight.
The Sens went into this game with a chance to move up one spot in the standings with a win.
28th overall. They can’t be stopped.
The Senators clearly wanted a better start in this game than they had in the last one, and that’s exactly what they got. They struck early, with a weird goal - Brady Tkachuk sent a beautiful pass to Adam Gaudette in front of the net. At first glance, it looked like Gaudette had tapped the puck into the net, but upon further review, the goal was given to Tkachuk, as the puck had actually bounced off a Carolina player. Either way, we’ll take it! 1-0 Ottawa.
That line almost scored again on their next shift, but Gaudette got robbed by Raanta. Play was all Ottawa, and already much more exciting than last night’s contest.
The Sens’ efforts soon paid off in the form of a goal, this one going to Alex Formenton, who is reaching Pageau levels of “weirdly elite against one specific team.” 2-0 Ottawa.
Things continued to go the Sens’ way when Tony DeAngelo went to the box. I guess none of his buddies downtown thought to warn him that infractions are now being penalized in Ottawa.
Tired mistake by DeAngelo. He had nothing left in the tank because the police seized his fuel.— Capital Gains (@Capital_Gains65) February 9, 2022
That powerplay generated no goals, and neither did the one that came right after it, although both resulted in more good scoring chances than the Sens have had on the powerplay in a while.
The last few seconds of the period were played 4-on-4, as Chabot and Niederreiter went to the box for offsetting holding penalties. I’m pretty sure that’s just called “hugging,” and I’m not surprised Chabot was involved. The man just loves to give out hugs.
The Hurricanes kind of scored right after time expired in the period, but it was just a fraction of a second too late. Folks, it was a close one.
The second period started just as the first had: with a Brady Tkachuk goal! This one was slightly more legitimate than the first, as he picked up Stützle’s rebound. 3-0 Ottawa.
Despite failing to score on yet another powerplay, Ottawa continued to dominate the game. They even scored the next goal! The goal scorer on this one was… Chris Tierney?
With an actual shot? From his hockey stick?
I hope a few other teams were watching that highlight and only that highlight. 4-0 Ottawa.
Not much else happened in the second, other than a few more Sens chances and a few meltdowns in the Carolina Hurricanes fandom. The sens’ing was well underway.
This time, it was the Hurricanes who struck first, ruining the Forsberg shutout. It was a beautiful goal, and there’s not much anyone could have done about it. Still, I’m sure I wasn’t the only fan who was getting nervous, secure as this lead might look. It just felt like we hadn’t seen the Hurricanes at full power yet. 4-1 Ottawa.
Svechnikov finishes the rebound and it's 4-1. Ottawa can't fall asleep here or the Canes will make them pay pic.twitter.com/Evx6DLF34a— Alex Metzger (@nhlsensandstuff) February 9, 2022
Sure enough, Carolina got several dangerous scoring chances in the first half of the period. The first 40 minutes had been too easy; it was time for things to get weird.
A Hurricanes powerplay felt like a chance to really shift the momentum of the game. However, the Ottawa penalty kill continued to do well, and Anton Forsberg made some timely saves to preserve the Sens’ three goal lead.
With just over 6 minutes left in the game, Carolina struck again. The game was officially up for grabs. 4-2 Ottawa.
The last six minutes were, ah, Not Fun, to say the least. The Sens’ got a few looks at the empty net but failed to close out the game, With just over a minute left, the Hurricanes struck again. It was long overdue. 4-3 Ottawa.
Somehow, the puck stayed out of the net for the rest of the game, and the Sens just barely squeaked by with a win in a game that had seemed totally in the bag before the third period.
Now that we’ve calmed down a bit from those last six minutes, you have to admit it was a very funny game.
- Nick Holden had a hell of a game. He was great defensively all night, and even got two assists and a few good looks at the net. He is simply elite.
- Anton Forsberg stood on his head for a lot of this game and deserves a lot of credit for the win.
- Alex Formenton continues to be weirdly good against the Hurricanes. He had one goal tonight, and could have had a lot more.
- Of course, I must give a shoutout to Brady Tkachuk, who snapped a long goalless drought and was making things happen all night long.
- Although Adam Gaudette didn’t end up getting credit for the first goal, he kind of looked like he belonged in the top six and easily could have had a goal of his own. It’s been really nice to see him find his game like this.