After three straight losses, a record of 8-10-0, and already apathy had begun to set into the Ottawa Senators‘ fanbase on Friday night after a 4-2 loss in Columbus. The Senators were home tonight to play the Seattle Kraken, a game that they desperately needed to have.
The two teams began the game trading chances at both ends of the ice, with not a whole lot of Grade A opportunities, even on both of their powerplays. It was looking like the entire first period was going to be scoreless, but then with 2:39 left, Mathieu Joseph was able to take advantage of a big gaffe right in front of the Kraken's net:
Joseph made it look easy, although his patience was quite impressive in front of former Senator Joey Daccord. A few more close chances in the final two minutes were a good sign for the rest of the game.
That dreaded second period loomed large though, and I don't think anyone had a good feeling going into it. Thankfully, the Senators were able to avoid damage, and they actually did quite well for themselves. They failed to convert on their second and third powerplay chances, but they generated some close calls. Their second goal of the game came from an unlikely situation, as Vladimir Tarasenko unexpectedly stole the puck from Daccord behind the net, who then passed to Tim Stützle, who then gave it to a wide open Drake Batherson:
Great forecheck by Tarasenko to force Daccord off the puck, better pass by Tim Stützle to find a wide open Batherson.— SENS TALK (@senstalk_) December 3, 2023
Big goal to put the #Sens up 2-0 near the end of the second.
Stützle would also barely miss on a breakaway later in the period. Besides that, there were two injury scares for Stützle and Thomas Chabot, but thankfully both of them returned to play.
What's funny is you could see how badly Stützle wanted to get on the board tonight, as he was all over the puck and had numerous chances. In the final frame, he got loose on a shorthanded 2-on-1 with Claude Giroux, and his pass hit Eeli Tolvanen's stick and almost deflected in past Daccord, but the former Sens goalie made a nice save on the play:
What reflexes by Joey Daccord!— Emerald City Hockey (@EmeraldCityHky) December 3, 2023
Incredible save off the Tolvanen deflection. Stutzle could only smile and give Joey credit. pic.twitter.com/TZKGMjULLx
Later in the final period, Seattle really began to pour it on. Dominik Kubalik took a holding penalty, and if not for Forsberg's solid play, the Kraken would've probably got on the scoreboard there. Even after the powerplay ended, the Senators were sitting back and letting the Kraken get their chances to tie it up. Jared McCann even had a wide-open net in the final two minutes, but was thwarted by the stick of Artem Zub.
Seattle kept throwing everything they had at Forsberg until the final second, but he never looked out of position or unsteady, and he was able to stop every single shot on the night. With a 2-0 win, it was Ottawa's first shutout of the season, and they improved to 9-10-0.
- It makes a world of difference when Anton Forsberg is showing confidence and is stopping the shots he should be. He stopped 39/39 shots (on 2.34 expected goals against) and was excellent in a desperately needed performance.
- Tarasenko had an assist on the second goal, and although he's gone 13 games without a goal, he's still looked mostly good to me. He's playing with Rourke Chartier and Dominik Kubalik, so I'm not sure how he's supposed to produce there anyway.
- It was nice to just have a normal game tonight after some truly horrific performances this season, especially at home. Coming into tonight, they were 1-7-0 in their previous 8 games at the Canadian Tire Centre. Eesh.
- Tyler Ray on Twitter said it best, but Stützle truly is a hilarious palyer to watch. It's never a dull moment with him, whether it's amazing plays, falling down, or big misses, there's always seomething to see.
- Zack MacEwan played a grand total of 3:22 tonight. I bet he's getting sent down once Ridly Greig is back next week.
- There's a new sound when a Senators player leaves the penalty box, which comes from "Zelda: Ocarina of Time" (puzzle solved sound). I love it.