It was a beautiful Monday evening and Ottawa Senators fans were excited to be staying up late on a weeknight to watch their surging team extend their win streak. This is what a scheduled win is supposed to look like, right? A Chicago Blackhawks team that is barely recognizable, a hot Sens team that is hungry for more. What could possibly go wrong?
Things started to feel a bit...off when word come out of a last-minute scratch of Cam Talbot. Just as he was starting to settle in, he gets injured again. Hopefully, it really is a minor issue for now.
Mads Søgaard was called upon with Scott Foster (that’s right the Scott Foster) serving as the Emergency backup goalie. Again, nothing to panic about just yet.
The first period started how we all expected it to: with the Sens outshooting the Hawks and hoping to take control of the game early on. While they did a great job of dominating the shot count, something was missing from their effort. Their best chance came off a Giroux shot that went off the post. It’s normal for Ottawa to feel confident against a team like the Blackhawks but the way they played was a bit too loosey-goosey. Their carelessness cost them as the Hawks took advantage of a slew of disjointed plays to open up the scoring with less than 4 minutes left in the first period. While you ultimately want to see Hamonic do a better job defending here, this play starts with an odd and lazy effort by Batherson to get the Hawks going. Careless and arrogant.
This is literally all you need to see to replace Hamonic with Chychrun immediately. My god. pic.twitter.com/LXyIQIyo8o— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) March 7, 2023
At that point it was only a 1-goal deficit and the Sens have had bad luck in the first periods as of late. Onto the next period.
I am trying to find a way to present what happened in the second period in the most reasonable manner possible. All I can say is there was absolutely nothing reasonable about how the Sens played in the next 20 minutes of this game. It didn’t take long for the Hawks to double their lead as Seth Jones made a fool of Søgaard while the teams were 4 on 4. Again, 2-0 against the worst team in the league, not great but they’ve come back from worse.
Then Seth Jones decided to make everyone on the team look like a fool and scored his second of the night on an embarrassing defensive effort by every Senator on the ice.
SETH JONES! AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/kWjPvtqRpv— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) March 7, 2023
So at this point, it would seem like a good idea for DJ Smith to call a time-out, make some sort of adjustment, but none was forthcoming. He did finally realize he needed to do something after Jason Dickenson scored Chicago's fourth goal and tried to settle the troops. Meanwhile the game was seemingly out of hand. I don’t even know who Jason Dickenson is.
The Sens continued to be frustrated until they got a golden opportunity, after Tkachuk somehow managed to get a power play from pulling his usual antics. A late power-play goal could turn the tides! Even better, Zaitsev wanted to remind us how much of a liability he usually is and gave the Sens a whole minute of 5 on 3! The comeback is happening!
But the second period ended 4-0 after no such comeback was initiated.
It’s the Sens, the pesky Sens! They just got a little disorganized in the first 40 minutes and they’ll turn it around in the third. What’s four goals in one period, just need to get one early aaaaand it’s 5-0 Blackhawks. If you’ve never heard of Lukas Reichel, it’s because he’s only played 6 NHL games and has 1 goal this season (make it 2 now). Søgaard was having a rough night but so were Chabot, Hamonic, Batherson and basically the whole roster while we’re at it.
The third period was a continuation of a very frustrating game where the Sens were undisciplined, too casual and simply not in the game. They’re obviously not going to win every game but a game like this should be an easy 2 points; especially when the margin for error is so small. With a few road games ahead, the Sens need to snap out of this game quickly and focus on getting back on track because the margin for error just got slimmer.
At least the Sabres lost.
- We all love Brady Tkachuk and everything he does, tonight he wasn’t on his greatest form. He got frustrated and channeled that anger in some of the wrong ways. His meltdown at the end was a sign of frustration but also the kind of outbreak we hadn’t seen from him in many years. At least he had the right attitude when asked about tonight’s affair after the fact:
"Not good. Unacceptable," Tkachuk told reporters in Chicago. "I guess we took them lightly. I guess we forgot that's where we were at not too long ago." #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) March 7, 2023
- I really like Søgaard and he was put in a tough position today but he’s still young and inexperienced; if the Sens are really going to push for the playoffs, they need Talbot as a reliable support.
- This was one of those games were no one was good so no one was to blame, but everyone is also to blame. A lot of that falls on the players, but some of that has to fall on the coaches too. It really would have been good to see Smith try a timeout earlier to try to stem the tide.