This late in the season, it can be hard to find meaning in games. We as Sens fans unfortunately know this all too well, having watch way too many meaningless late-season game. This matchup featured two teams already eliminated from the playoffs, so it’s not like the Sens could even have fun playing spoiler.
Folks, this felt like a meaningless game.
The Sens were saving their energy for tomorrow’s big showdown. Perfectly understandable.
The Sens got off to a decent start, with good pressure in the offensive zone for the first six minutes. They then narrowly avoided giving up the first goal on a ridiculous defensive breakdown, but Tim Stützle saved the day with an excellent defensive move.
Columbus got the first powerplay of the game, when Austin Watson went to the box for interference. The Blue Jackets took advantage and got on the board first. 1-0 Columbus.
At this point, Ottawa was mostly controlling play and had had more scoring chances, but the only two really dangerous chances had gone to Columbus. Hard to argue with the score, but it did feel like the Sens still had a chance to get back into it.
Unfortunately, the Blue Jackets soon went right back to the powerplay. They didn’t score this time, but they did put quite a lot of pressure on the Sens’ penalty killers, and kept that momentum going after the penalty expired. A few moments of good puck possession for Ottawa weren’t enough to even the score.
Ottawa started the second on a great note, with Timmy working magic in the offensive zone and then the Tkachuk-Norris-Batherson line looking like their old selves. Even the Gambrell line got in on some of the action, several great chances including one that hit the post. The Sens were completely controlling play.
Also, Norris said a bad word to the ref.
Play continued like that, with the Sens having the puck most of the time. Josh Norris created a great rebound that didn’t go in. Just as we were starting to wonder if the team would ever convert on these chances, Dylan Gambrell dished the puck to Parker Kelly, who buried it.
Parker Kelly ties the game, but it’s overturned for offside. Another silly call. pic.twitter.com/ksQIukyY9E— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) April 23, 2022
However, the goal was successfully challenged and overturned because it was offside. If you’re watching the replay and wondering how on earth that was offside, I encourage you to look closely at the Sens’ bench. Do you see him? Yes, that’s captain Brady Tkachuk leaping onto the bench on a line change. His feet were not on the ice, so I don’t know how this was offside, but who ever knows what NHL refs are thinking at any time.
The two teams traded chances for the rest of the frame, with Kelly being especially noticeable after having his goal taken away.
The first few minutes of the third period were not any more interesting than the first two periods had been. The Sens had the puck for most of it, but couldn’t score. Tim Stützle was stopped on a bunch of good chances. A few defensive breakdowns happened. That makes this game seem a lot more entertaining than it really was.
That changed abruptly when the top line worked absolute magic to tie the game. Norris dished it to Batherson who sent it across to Tkachuk, and the captain buried his 29th of the year. That’s the type of play that can completely change the energy of a team, and that’s exactly what it did. 1-1.
Stützle and Brännström had an absolutely incredible shift right after the goal, and it ended with Timmy drawing a tripping penalty. Both he and Josh Norris were robbed on the ensuing powerplay, and the Sens failed to take the lead.
They were awake, though, and the game was watchable again, so that’s something.
The Sens got another powerplay later in the game, but that one didn’t work out either. This game would need extra time.
It was a dramatic overtime, featuring a collision between a Blue Jackets player and Gustavsson and a spectacular stretch pass that Tkachuk couldn’t turn into a winning goal. There were lots of great looks for both teams, but no one scored. The Sens were headed to a shootout for the second straight game.
Batherson missed the net on his chance, but Tim Stützle finally scored with the move he keeps whiffing on in every shootout. Gustavsson made all three saves, and the Sens took home yet another shootout victory.
- Parker Kelly was easily the best Senator tonight. He had lots of jump and a few great shots on net, even though his goal was unfortunately called back.
- I said in my last recap that Tim Stützle has replaced Mark Stone as the guy who is always noticeably good in every single game, and that continued tonight. The kid is a controlled zone entry machine, and created quite a few good chances tonight.