On a Monday night, with every hockey fan on the planet forced to watch the only game on the schedule, the Senators welcomed a pack of Coyotes to the Canadian Tire Centre.
Coming into the game, the Arizona Coyotes have been playing their best hockey of the season, winning six of their last ten and 24 (!) goals in their last four played. For the Sens, the entire focus in the locker room had to be to just not repeat what happened last game - when they allowed Arizona to drop eight goals on them.
With Filip Gustavsson in one end and Scott Wedgewood in the other, these two powerhouse clubs went to battle.
Early in the game, Shayne Gostisbehere turned the puck over at his own blueline to Sens Captain Brady Tkachuk who drove hard to the net. He wasn’t quite able to finish his move but, luckily for his stat-line, Josh Norris was right behind him to take out the trash.
While the Sens controlled much of the play for the first half of the frame, an Austin Watson turnover coupled with a bad pinch from Nick Holden resulted in a Phil Kessel and Lawson Crouse 2-on-1.
Bad pinch/coverage to lead to this but Nikita Zaitsev with the textbook definition of how not to play a 2-on-1 here.. pic.twitter.com/QMyCkD1RVz— Alex Metzger (@nhlsensandstuff) March 14, 2022
On the next shift, Tkachuk managed to bury one but, unfortunately, instead of getting on the scoresheet in the goal column, he ended up adding to his penalty minutes instead.
With the captain in the box, for a mere 15 seconds, Crouse buried his second of the game to give Arizona a 2-1 lead.
his second goal of the game and it's good pic.twitter.com/QT8yVo09GA— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 14, 2022
While we all know Nick Paul does it all, Josh Norris also does it all.. as well. After scoring his 23rd of the season earlier in the game, his speed entering the zone drew a hooking call on Nick Ritchie. Right off the following draw, Norris found himself entirely alone in front of the net, with all the time in the world, and he made absolutely no mistake.
And, thus, the Josh Norris Hat Trick watch began.
With less than two minutes left to play, a mad scramble brought everyone other than Gustavsson within three feet of the crease. Somehow, some way, the puck stayed out.
Mad scramble as the puck just stays out. pic.twitter.com/AOftOrFjC5— Alex Metzger (@nhlsensandstuff) March 15, 2022
During the second period, the ice tilted in one direction and it was all Ottawa, all the time. After outshooting Arizona 15-4 in the first, the boys in black followed that up by getting the first ten shots on net in the second, as well.
Somehow, despite outshooting the Coyotes 30-9 at the time, the visitors would end up being the team to break the tie as Crouse completed the natural hat trick on a shorthanded breakaway.
THE SHORTY FOR THE HATTY pic.twitter.com/DroLSBw4Yl— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 15, 2022
This not only gave Crouse his first NHL hat trick, it also occurred in a very unique fashion; one goal on the powerplay, one goal at even strength, one goal shorthanded. While you don’t love to see your team get a hat trick against, it’s kind of cool witnessing something so rare. Kind of.
In the third period, the Sens barrage continued. With shots on goal mounting, and nothing to show for it, you could tell frustration from the players was going to boil over at any minute. Just before the halfway mark of the period, a fantastic transition from Artem Zub led to Tkachuk streaking down the wing. His shot hit Wedgewood and Connor Brown pounced on the rebound.
On the very next shift, because of course, Nick Schmaltz immediately regained the Arizona lead.
And it's immediately given right back up. Another tough bounce but 4G on 13 shots is tough. pic.twitter.com/1hvFpt6VwK— Alex Metzger (@nhlsensandstuff) March 15, 2022
Despite further chances, and outshooting their opponent 45-14, the Sens got Sens’d at home by the Arizona Coyotes with a final dagger from Barrett Hayton into the empty net.
- Listen, I get the immediate Filip Gustavsson slander on this one. He faced a small amount of shots and let in a large amount of goals. All I ask is that you watch the replays back of all the goals he let in and let me know in the comments which one(s), really, the majority of NHL goalies would’ve stopped. You never want your goaltender to post a 0.714 SV% but those were all grade A, ten bell opportunities. Essentially two breakaways, a deflection and a guy left alone behind the defense. It was a tough night for Gus but he also didn’t get a lot of help.
- Despite some major defensive lapses, the Sens were quite strong offensively throughout. The team fired 43 shots on goal while maintaining a ton of possession in the offensive zone. They had 72 chances while only allowing 21 for a spectacular 77.42 CF%.
- Josh Norris scored two goals in a game for the sixth time in his career.
- In this loss, every single Senator posted a positive CF% - highlighted by pure dominance in the possession game from Ottawa’s top line of Tkachuk (92.31), Brown (85.71) and Norris (85.19).
- Erik Brännström had a strong game, creating chances, breaking pucks out while playing solid defensively.