Despite Dominating, Ottawa Senators Fall to Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in a Shootout

Ottawa outshot Toronto 52-29 but couldn’t get the win

It’s been quite a week for the Ottawa Senators. They came into tonight losing four straight games to the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Colorado Avalanche, effectively ending their playoff hopes. That doesn’t make the rest of the season meaningless though, especially considering tonight’s matchup was against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which is always a fun game.

Ottawa was pressing hard right away, making it hard for our old friend Matt Murray. However, just over three minutes in, John Tavares and Mitch Marner came streaking down the ice, and Mads Søgaard let out a huge rebound on Marner’s shot. The Senators were focused on Tavares and Marner but didn’t see Jake McCabe coming from behind, and he had too much time to rip it past Søgaard to make it 1-0.

After the “Go Leafs Go” chants had subsided, most of the first period didn’t feature very much, until the weirdest goal this season for the Senators happened:

Erik Brännström’s shot was tipped by Shane Pinto and Julien Gauthier, and Murray had no idea that the puck was way up in the air. It was a pretty hilarious goal for him to allow, then again, that was probably harder than it looked because nobody seemed to know where it was. It was Gauthier’s second goal as a Senator and it was also a relief to know Murray wouldn’t shut Ottawa out. After the first period, it was 1-1 but the Senators had 28 shot attempts to the Maple Leafs’ 19.

The best chance in the early stages of the second period came from Austin Watson, which was actually on the penalty kill after a Ridly Greig hooking penalty. The Senators almost scored in a similar way to McCabe, as Watson had a glorious chance in the slot after a rebound. Although he skyed it over the net, the next time Ottawa came down the ice on the penalty kill, it was Tim Stützle who was able to convert on a brilliantly placed shot:

It was an excellent reminder of how amazing it is to have Stützle on the penalty kill. Ottawa was completely controlling the play and even had 32 shots at the halfway mark. But on that same powerplay, Toronto was able to tie it up thanks to Mitch Marner. The Leafs barely kept the puck in, and Marner was open down low on the right side. Brännström took the passing lane, but Søgaard couldn’t stop the top-corner shot.

Then three minutes later at even strength, Calle Jarnkrok buried a one-timer from Auston Matthews on a hard shot, but probably one that Søgaard should have had:

It was a hectic few minutes, and somehow the Leafs had the 3-2 lead despite getting vastly out-chanced. Ottawa had one more powerplay during the second period, and they continued to press with no luck. They ended the second period with a whopping 37 shots but just two goals to show for it—the story of the Senators season.

In the final frame, Ottawa continued to get chances, with Ridly Greig having the best opportunity in front of the net that missed by a few inches. Just before that, Murray did his token “accidental” knock the net off:

With over 10 minutes left in the game, Jarnkrok would get his second of the game, which was frustrating considering how much better Ottawa had been playing. It was strange to see Søgaard look so small in the net despite his 6’7 frame. At the same time, he wasn’t given much help:

At that point, it would’ve been easy for the Senators to give up as they were down by two and the bounces didn’t seem to be going their way. Stützle and Tkachuk weren’t okay with that though, as Stützle made a fantastic drive to the goal line, and although Drake Batherson missed the pass, Tkachuk was right behind him to put it past Murray:

Tkachuk then drew a tripping penalty that was pretty weak, but Ottawa wasn’t going to turn that down. It was a perfect opportunity to score two quick goals to tie it up, but they couldn’t do much to capitalize. Then with the goalie pulled, Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat connected for some magic. Giroux’s knuckling saucer pass worked out perfectly for DeBrincat, who was able to put it top corner past Murray, tying the game 4-4 with under two minutes to play:

Buuuuut Toronto challenged the play for being offside, and it was immediately clear that the Leafs were right. Despite scoring a massive goal, it was all for nothing.

Or was it?

DeBrincat didn’t get to be the hero, but Tkachuk did with just 10 seconds to play. TJ Brodie went to the box with 46 seconds left, and with the last-ditch effort, Giroux was once again there to get the primary assist. The Senators did the unthinkable, which was (essentially) score twice with the goalie pulled:

The Senators deserved the point, but they wanted the extra one in overtime. In overtime, Stützle had a glorious opportunity to end it on a breakaway, but he could not convert. It wasn’t too open of a 3-on-3 session, and Toronto barely had any offensive threats. Without any goals during overtime, the Senators went to a shootout for just the third time this season.

It ended up being an incredibly long shootout that went nine rounds, as both teams kept trading goals and misses (mostly misses). There were some poor attempts for both teams, but all that mattered was that Alex Kerfoot scored when he needed to, giving the Leafs the 5-4 shootout win. The loss put the Senators at a 33-31-5 record.

Notable Performances:

  • The final shots were 52-29 for Ottawa and the 5v5 attempts were 71-42. Ottawa should’ve easily won this, but they couldn’t convert all of their chances, there were some small defensive breakdowns, and Søgaard wasn’t up to the task.
  • Obviously there isn’t much Ottawa can do with Anton Forsberg and Cam Talbot being injured, but it’s pretty clear that Søgaard is not ready for the NHL and his confidence can’t be very high right now. It’s a rare case where I think keeping him in the NHL is actually a detriment to him, although there is no other alternative besides playing Kevin Mandolese more. I feel bad for him honestly.
  • Once again, Claude Giroux is incredibly clutch, as he’s always scoring or assisting on massive goals.
  • Julien Gauthier seems to be fitting in well with the team. We need to be careful though because it seems like every year there is a depth player who performs above expectations for the first month or two and then falls back to earth. Nevertheless, he looks like he could be a bottom-six player next season.
  • Stützle is the youngest Senator to score 35 goals in a season. Ho hum.
  • Brännström looked fantastic tonight, as he was getting involved at both ends of the ice. Size be damned, he can still be physical.
  • I’m not sure why Ridly Greig was down in the AHL for a second time for so long. He led the team with a 77.78 CF%, and he continues to look good with DeBrincat and Giroux./

Game Flow:

Heat Map:

The next game is Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road at 7:00 EST.

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