Sometimes a low-scoring hockey game can be highly entertaining. When the stakes are high, both teams are playing cohesively, and when the goalies are standing on their heads, a 2-1 game can be absolutely gripping. Sometimes, a low-scoring hockey game can be so non-eventful as to make you wonder why you remain a fan of this sport. Tonight’s match-up between the Ottawa Senators and the New York Islanders was unfortunately much more of the latter than the former. When the dust cleared, the Isles walked away with a 3-0 win and most Sens fans were left wondering what happened to their Tuesday night.
Ottawa actually opened the first period fairly well, and despite a couple of penalties generally carried the play. Semyon Varlamov was forced to make 13 all told, and though the Sens didn’t manage to break through they didn’t allow an Isles goal either. Heck, even Michael Del Zotto was getting involved offensively. The Sens were frisky at worst.
Unfortunately, Ottawa finished the game with 24 shots — meaning they only managed to direct another eleven pucks on net between the second and third periods combined. There was an eight minute stretch where they didn’t manage a shot. It’s not like they were getting run over in that timeframe, however, as the Isles generated a meagre 7 shots of their own in the middle frame. Forgive me if I don’t provide a blow-by-blow account of the middle frame; there just wasn’t a lot to speak of. The Isles play a suffocating style of game, particularly through the neutral zone, and this iteration of the Sens was simply not up to the task of generating attacking chances.
After forty minutes, though there hadn’t been much entertainment to speak of, the Sens were still tied. The third period did not go quite so well. New York eventually broke the deadlock with a bit of a fluky goal after some sustained pressure:
A flubbed pass shoots to an open Isles player in the slot and he picks the top corner. Sometimes that’s the difference. Ottawa couldn’t muster much to challenge Varlamov and New York got two more (one into an empty net) to get to the 3-0 final. It was just a forgettable game. We’ll hope for more on Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.
- In our first look at Mathieu Joseph, he mostly looked exactly as advertised: blazingly fast. Joseph wreaked some havoc on the forecheck on a couple of occasions and generally was noticeable in a good way.
- Though he wasn’t able to translate any of his good work into a goal, Tim Stützle once again looked like a force to be reckoned with carrying the puck out of the defensive zone and onto the attack. With a bit better shooting luck, Alex Formenton missed a golden opportunity in the second for example, maybe things go a bit differently but it was still a mostly strong showing from the young German.
- When the Sens did their opportunities on the power play, they were confronted with a New York power play that had a player shadowing Josh Norris step for step. This dramatic tactic took away Ottawa’s pet play (the Norris one-timer) and left them looking out of sorts and unable to generate any other action. The PP had been humming along sans Thomas Chabot and Drake Batherson recently but they looked badly out of sorts on this evening./