After thrilling back-to-back wins over their two biggest rivals last week, the Sens had one last chance to leave on a high note before the All-Star break.
And my goodness, did they deliver.
They couldn’t give us another blowout win this time. That’s been done before. Instead, they taunted the Habs, never quite taking over the game just to make sure that Habs fans would leave the arena disappointed. What a game.
The last time these two teams played each other, Montreal dominated the first period. That did not happen this time.
It hardly took any time for the Ottawa Senators from Ottawa Ontario, also known as the francophone team of the NHL, to take the lead. All the Habs fans who paid a small fortune to attend this game were treated to a show, as they got to see… Nikita Zaitsev go bar down?
My god. Fold the franchise immediately.
In the end, it turned out that the shot had gone off Giroux’s hand, so Noted French Canadian and Ottawa Senator Claude Giroux got credit. We remember, though. Nikita Zaitsev scored on you, Montreal. 1-0 Ottawa.
G may get credit for the goal but what a shot by Zaitsev! #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/8ohZT1q2Yl— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 1, 2023
On the very next shift, Tim Stützle somehow ended up all alone in front of the Habs’ net and pulled off a nifty move to strike back at his haters. He’s learning so much from Claude. 2-0 Ottawa.
Your daily reminder that Tim Stützle is only 21 years old! #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/fTFOQqOfUU— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 1, 2023
The game almost got so much funnier a few minutes later when Gambrell took a penalty and Mathieu Joseph got a shorthanded breakaway. He didn’t score, but imagine if he had…
Anyways, the Sens killed off that penalty and then things got a little bit silly, in the sense that the two teams clearly didn’t like each other. As the last game before the All-Star break, this game had a lot of “last day of school before summer vacation” energy.
The Senators took another penalty, and this time the Habs’ usually terrible powerplay managed to score. 2-1 Ottawa.
Before the period ended, Ridley Greig was robbed on a great chance that would have been assisted by Claude Giroux. I’m pretty mad at this goalie for preventing so many funny and cool moments. The Sens should always be allowed to score if it would be funny, in my opinion.
Greig got another chance in the dying seconds of the frame, and it was close enough that I think we all need to seriously consider the possibility that he has been affected by DeBrincat’s curse.
The Sea Dogs alumni had some fun at the start of the period; Mathieu Joseph was stopped on an excellent scoring chance, and then Chabot did cool things in the offensive zone. For a brief moment, it looked like we were about to watch another 20 minutes of the Sens making the Habs look silly.
That did not happen.
Instead, the Sens couldn’t stay out of the box, relying on some big stops from Forsberg and some general incompetence by the league’s worst powerplay to stay in the game.
The first Sens powerplay of the game resulted in a textbook definition of an “expected goal.” I don’t know how Jake Allen stopped it.
What followed was basically a junior hockey game in terms of the defensive skill and discipline. I guess everyone was paying homage to Thomas Chabot’s junior career, on the day he was announced as a Sea Dogs hall of fame inductee.
Ottawa finally got things going on just their second powerplay of the night. Tim Stützle made a ridiculous pass to Alex DeBrincat, who pulled off an equally ridiculous shot. 3-1 Ottawa.
Sheathe that weapon, Cat! It's lethal!! #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/xwNTC3X6lv— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 1, 2023
Just as it looked like the Sens would escape the period with a two goal lead, Jake Sanderson got sent to the box with less than a minute left. Noted former Senator Mike Hoffman, who is somehow still in the league, wasted no time finding the back of the net, after being stopped multiple times on several Habs powerplays. I guess he’s still good for that one thing. 3-2 Ottawa.
Things got worse from there.
The Habs took over the game, forcing Anton Forsberg to stand on his head. The Sens were maybe looking forward to their vacation a little bit too much.
All things considered, it’s actually pretty impressive that the Sens held on for more than ten minutes. The inevitable did happen eventually, though, when Rafael Harvey-Pinard tied the game. 3-3.
Suddenly, we had ourselves a game.
There was a concerning moment when Alex DeBrincat, who truly cannot catch a break even in a game where he scored a goal, got checked face-first into the boards and was slow to get up. He stayed on the bench, so hopefully he’s alright. The Sens got a powerplay out of the incident, and Tim Stützle played the hero, as he tends to do these days. 4-3 Ottawa.
What's better, the goal or the celebration? #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/0KVEqQWwJO— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 1, 2023
The best part? He taunted the Habs fans in his celebration. He’s just like me.
Of course, we couldn’t leave it at just that. The Habs still looked like the better team, and Harvey-Pinard wasted no time evening the score once again. 4-4.
We were now facing the possibility of not just watching a comeback win for the Habs, but a comeback win involving a rookie hat trick. It was critical that the Sens harness all their hater energy and help us save face.
I never should have doubted them.
This Sens team has its flaws, but the players are haters to their core. They get it. They understand why this game was important to us.
With just over two minutes left to play, Tim Stützle made another unreal pass, this one to captain Brady Tkachuk, who did what he always does. Who else would have scored the winning goal in this game? 5-4 Ottawa.
The chaotic duo of Tkachuk and Stützle then taunted Habs fans again during the celebration. I can’t stop watching that replay.
Tim Stützle and Brady Tkachuk gave it right back to a Montreal fan after the game-winning goal. #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/dOx25sWy1M— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) February 1, 2023
What a win. That will sustain me for the rest of the season I think.
- Wow, what a game from Tim Stützle. He tied a career high in points in one game with 2 goals and 2 assists, and played on the penalty kill too. Most importantly, though, he went Habs Hater Mode, which I always appreciate.
- The second line of DeBrincat-Giroux-Greig was electric once again, especially in the first period.