It’s been a silly, ridiculous day, as the NHL trade deadline always is, and it felt very good to sit down at the end of it to enjoy some hockey.
The Ottawa Senators entered this game with a different lineup on defense than the one we’ve gotten used to. Gone were Gudbranson, Reilly and Coburn. In their place, Mete, and a few young guys who had been in and out of the lineup for a while. After the absolute hell that has been the last three trade deadlines in Ottawa, it felt good to really enjoy the event for once.
I have to say, I like the look of these post-deadline Sens.
In spite of all those changes, the Sens team that showed up for the start of this game was very much the one we saw two nights ago against Toronto... and I mean that in a good way, mostly. They had a nice jump to their step, getting pucks on net and creating chances right from the start even if their defense was a bit lacking.
Zub took the first penalty of the game, unfortunately, just under five minutes in. The Sens were, predictably, overwhelmed by the Jets’ powerplay, and it didn’t take long for them to give up the first goal of the game. 1-0 Winnipeg.
Ottawa didn’t play terribly after that, but Winnipeg was clearly the better team. It only took a few more minutes of play for the Jets to double their lead. 2-0 Winnipeg.
After that goal, Josh Brown tried to fire up the team by getting into a fight - a bold strategy that Brady Tkachuk clearly appreciated. Brown ended up in the box, but the play remained 5-on-5, so no harm was done.
While I’ve never been a huge fan of the particular strategy that Josh Brown used here, it worked! The Sens put together a great offensive zone sequence, and even drew a penalty. They almost scored on the delayed penalty, and got on the board soon after. Josh Norris sent a laser of a shot through traffic, and our favourite energy boy tipped it in. 2-1 Winnipeg.
The Sens looked good from that point on, although the Jets proved to be much more difficult to play against than the Leafs and Habs were, due to this little thing I think is called “defense”?
That’s not to discredit Winnipeg’s offense, though, which absolutely feasted on the Ottawa defense at times. Still, the Sens held their own pretty impressively.
With about a minute left in the period, Connor Brown extended his goal scoring streak to 8(!), with a fluky goal that probably shouldn’t have gone in, but was well-deserved considering how much offense the team had been creating leading up to it. 2-2.
Oh, also? With that goal, Connor Brown’s streak is officially longer than Auston Matthews’s longest streak. Connor Brown: better than Auston Matthews?
Winnipeg came out swinging to start the second. They came very close to taking back the lead, but the Sens managed to hold them off, even gaining possession for a bit and getting a few scoring chances of their own. The game was remarkably even, overall.
Josh Brown went to the box a few minutes into the period. This penalty kill wasn’t quite as bad as the first one, but that’s not saying much. Forsberg made some fantastic saves, and I have absolutely no idea how the puck stayed out of the Ottawa net for two whole minutes, but somehow, it did.
Ottawa got a few good chances toward the middle of the game, although Winnipeg had the edge in shots. Connor Brown even got a breakaway, but whatever spell he’s under is not strong enough to make him capable of scoring on breakaways. It was kind of comforting to see him miss, honestly. Familiar. He was starting to become someone we didn’t recognize, but the moment he missed that net was the moment we all remembered that he is still the old Connor Brown.
Another penalty kill followed the failed breakaway, and this one was the best one yet. Again, that isn’t saying much, but the Sens did get a shorthanded chance and the Jets’ chances weren’t quite as scary as those other ones had been.
That penalty had only just ended when another one started. Stützle went to the box this time. The Winnipeg powerplay was as scary as ever, but Ottawa’s penalty killers were up to the task. Formenton even got a beautiful breakaway right at the end, and Tierney very nearly tapped the puck into the net.
The Sens didn’t score, but they did get a powerplay out of that sequence. The powerplay looked good, but time ran out in the period before the Sens could score. The two teams went into the final frame still tied 2-2.
The powerplay expired at the start of the third, and the Jets got a few good looks at the net, but the Sens were still solidly in the game. Winnipeg held possession most of the time, and the shot clock reflects that, but when Ottawa got the puck, they made it count.
Unfortunately, Amadio went to the box about seven minutes in, sending Ottawa to their fifth penalty kill of the game. They killed off this one as well, thankfully, but the Jets were clearly putting a lot of pressure on them, and Forsberg had to make a lot of great saves.
Just as it was starting to look like a Jets goal was imminent, Thomas Chabot chipped the puck toward the net, and Evgenii Dadonov finished the play to put the Sens ahead. It was an objectively bad goal - possibly even worse than the Connor Brown goal - but hey, we’ll take it. 3-2 Ottawa.
Though the Jets put on a nice show, Ottawa was the better team for the remainder of the game. It was Ottawa that scored next: an absolute beauty of a breakaway goal from the Captain of my heart, Energy Boy Brady Tkachuk. 4-2 Ottawa.
The Sens came close to extending their lead even further, and Tkachuk almost got the hat trick goal, but the score held. A solid, complete game against a good team that’s had their number this season.
- I’m feeling pretty good about that Mete acquisition. He seems like a very smart player, and stood out on left defense all night.
- I have absolutely no idea what is happening to Connor Brown right now, but he has been amazing. Yes, his goal was a bit flukey, but he got enough chances that didn’t go in to make up for it.
- I was excited about that Brannstrom-Zub pairing, and I liked it just as much as I thought I would. A great combination of players.
- Alex Formenton was flying out there. We’ve really been spoiled when it comes to young players this year, and I’m so excited to see what he can do with this team./