If you missed tonight’s Hockey Night In Canada tilt between the NHL’s francophone team and the Montreal Canadiens, don’t feel too bad about it.
Yes, the Sens won by a lot. Yes, games between these two teams tend to be entertaining.
This game was not entertaining.
This had the feel of a game where both teams knew exactly what they wanted out of it. With all the shenanigans already out of their systems from the previous matchups, the Sens and Habs trudged into this game knowing that one of them needed a win and the other needed a loss. Simple as that. Don’t know why they even bothered playing the game.
Puck drop was delayed by a classic Montreal Canadiens Pregame Ceremony™ and when the game did finally start, I think the Sens maybe didn’t realize it. Nothing much happened in the first half of the period, with the Sens not even getting their first shot on goal until quite a bit of time had elapsed.
The first truly exciting thing to happen in the first period was Austin Watson taking a bad penalty for a big hit. The Sens killed off the penalty easily enough, thanks in large part to the duo of Tim Stützle and Mathieu Joseph.
I truly thought that would be the only interesting thing to happen for the rest of the first frame, until Derick Brassard of all people tipped in a Holden point shot to put the Sens ahead 1-0.
That's some savvy vet awareness! #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/PYFDwkmKSU— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 26, 2023
Sure. Why not?
Actually, the most entertaining thing to happen all game was definitely this tweet from the official Senators account that was sadly deleted right after being sent:
sens admin what are you doing pic.twitter.com/bwNm0Py5Hn— emma (@blownsaves) February 26, 2023
The first intermission didn’t breathe any life into either team. The Sens sleepwalked through the first five minutes, only staying in the game because the Habs are that bad.
And then, about five minutes in, the impossible happened. A moment we’d all been waiting for for years, thinking we might not live long enough to see it.
Austin Watson won a fight.
Unfortunately, Watson’s big moment didn’t last, as the Habs scored almost immediately afterward to tie the game at 1.
Another Habs goal followed not long after that, and sadly it was one that young Sogaard probably should have had. 2-1 Montreal.
I would not blame anyone for falling asleep during this game or just getting bored and turning it off. It was painful. It says so much about the 2022-2023 Montreal Canadiens that a team can play this badly against them and still have a chance to win. Everyone point and laugh.
The Sens eventually recovered some dignity when Alex DeBrincat was stopped on an attempt at a nifty move, and managed to get a pass off to Shane Pinto, who buried it. 2-2.
➡️ ➡️ #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/xSag5tunWc— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 26, 2023
Each team got a powerplay at some point during the second period, but they were so unremarkable that they are not worth noting. Bad game, but at least they still had a chance to come out of it with two points.
Both teams remained pretty bad in the third, but somehow the fourth line produced another greasy goal. This one was similar to the first, but with Hamonic providing the point shot and Watson the tip in front of the net. What a game for the BrASSard line. 3-2 Ottawa.
Fire us up Watty! #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/OQCSKGrDoM— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 26, 2023
This time, the Sens actually showed some life, building on their lead right after pulling ahead. Sogaard even got a point on the play! 4-2 Ottawa.
Sogy with his first career NHL point on @drrakebatherson's #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/6cexqmZ5Ey— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 26, 2023
The Sens didn’t look like they were trying very hard at this point, but the Habs looked like they were actively trying to lose. You have to respect the commitment to the tank.
In a wholesome moment, the newest Senator, Julien Gauthier, scored his first with his new team, against his hometown team. It’s so nice that the fans at the Bell Centre were able to witness French Canadian excellence. I hear they don’t see very much of that over there these days. 5-2 Ottawa.
First career #Sens goal for @ju_gauth12! #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/TblDRJ8bWq— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 26, 2023
- As previously mentioned, the fourth line was very impactful tonight, in a nice change of pace.
- Shane Pinto also had a great game, and easily could have had more than one goal.
- They weren’t bad, but the Tkachuk/Stützle duo was uncharacteristically quiet tonight. It was strange to see them have so little impact against the Habs.