If you were looking for some narratives that would indicate the Sens had a battle ahead of them then today’s game is for you. The Sens, notoriously slow in matinee games, hosted Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers for an afternoon matchup fresh off a 12 day break - while the Oilers have already played twice following the All Star Game. Follow that up with the Oilers coming into this one on a ten game point streak and, well, the start to this game was pretty well inevitable.
Under three minutes into the first period, McDavid got the Oilers on the board after a tough shift from Ottawa’s fourth line.
The bank is open for Connor McDavid. 🏦 pic.twitter.com/eLFLwOXptP— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 11, 2023
While the Sens would have a couple strong shifts later in the period, a pair of penalties from Thomas Chabot and Ridly Greig slowed down any momentum they could’ve built and allowed the Oilers to pepper Anton Forsberg with shots.
With five minutes left in the first, Ottawa drew their first powerplay, enabling the team to try to get something going before the first intermission. A booming Chabot point shot led to a flurry of activity in front with Jack Campbell scrambling to cover the puck, to no avail. Moments later, Shane Pinto undressed an Oilers blueliner but Campbell was bailed out by his blocker side post. The powerplay made the shot difference a little better but the Sens ultimately went into the first intermission down 1-0.
Just 21 seconds into the second period, Jake Sanderson knotted things up for the home team with his third of the season.
jake sanderson gets a quick one for the senators early in the second. pic.twitter.com/e3IdKyHC1q— zach (@zjlaing) February 11, 2023
Unfortunately it didn’t take long with Zach Hyman to regain Edmonton’s lead on a penalty shot goal just two minutes later.
The struggles in the second period were similar to the first. Ottawa had a tough time gaining and maintaining possession in the offensive zone and when they did get that time, they were kept to the perimeter.
With about five minutes left in the second, McDavid put on a one man show while shorthanded and found Ryan McLeod on the back door for the tap in.
McDAVID OMG pic.twitter.com/Ko364tZA6G— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) February 11, 2023
Fortunately, 17 seconds later Claude Giroux received a pass from his son Ridly Greig to bring the game back to within one.
And finally, a moment we have been waiting for all season, the Swedish Short King™ Erik Brännström finally found the back of the net for his first of the season. His wrister beat Jack Campbell cleanly on the blocker side, knotting this one up at three.
The third period was much like the first two. The Oilers maintained a lot of the possession while the two teams traded a few chances here and there. It only took three minutes for Edmonton to regain the lead and another four minutes to extend it as Jesse Puljajarvi and Derek Ryan found the back of the net to make this a 5-3 game.
With about five minutes to go, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins extended Edmonton’s lead to 6-3. Following the goal, a scary scene unfolded at the Canadian Tire Centre when Anton Forsberg had to leave the game on a stretcher after Zach Hyman was pushed on top of the goaltender. The Senators also lost Sanderson during the third period, although the extent of his injury doesn’t appear to be as disastrous as Ottawa’s starting goaltender leaving the game on a stretcher.
DJ Smith challenged Edmonton’s sixth goal for goaltender interference but was ultimately unsuccessful, sending the Sens to the penalty kill while down three with just five minutes left in the game.
The game would end with a score of 6-3 while the Senators would see Forsberg and Sanderson leave the game with injuries. As far as how poorly this game could have been after a lengthy break, I’m not sure you could’ve topped this if you tried.
- Anton Forsberg left the game with what appeared to be a leg injury after Zach Hyman was pushed on top of him. Before leaving the game, Forsberg had stopped 31 of the 37 shots he faced for a 0.838 SV%. Mads Søgaard stopped all three shots in relief of Forsberg.
- Jake Sanderson was very clearly deployed specifically to cover Connor McDavid this afternoon and the rookie defender performed admirably. While McDavid did register a few points, as McDavid always does, there are a number of highlights from this one showing Sanderson keeping pace with the best player on the planet. Unfortunately, after scoring a goal and playing excellent defensively, he left the game with an injury.
- The fourth line of Dylan Gambrell, Parker Kelly and Tyler Motte got absolutely obliterated in the possession game this afternoon. Motte holds the award for highest corsi of his line with an abysmal 16.67 CF%.
- Erik Brännström finally found his way into the goal column this afternoon. The Swedish rearguard has taken a decent amount of heat online for struggling to put up offensive points this season, despite being one of Ottawa’s best defensively./