Senators beat Coyotes 5-3 from team effort

Every player except for Forsberg registered at least one shot on goal

There are some games you’re just supposed to win, and for every team in the NHL this year, a game against the Arizona Coyotes is one of those. They’ve assembled a roster with as good a chance of snagging them Connor Bedard as any. That being said, this is still the NHL, and the Senators could ill-afford to underestimate an opponent full of players with everything to prove. The Sens managed to pull out the victory 5-3, and incredibly every player (other than Anton Forsberg) finished with at least one shot on goal. It was a team effort, and without the heroics of Karel Vejmelka, the 47-29 shot count could’ve given Ottawa a much bigger victory.

The first period started off well for the Sens, with Brady Tkachuk getting them on the board first. It was credited as a “bat” goal by the NHL, which I think is the first time I’ve seen that designation.

Things went from good to better with Clayton Keller playing the role of bonehead, giving Erik Brännström a full-on crosscheck to the chin after the whistle, and earning himself a 5-minute major and a game misconduct. The Sens would struggle to get set up for the first three minutes of the powerplay, but then scored a weird one where Derick Brassard whacked a rebound and got it just over Vejmelka’s pad. This one was credited as a “poke”, another fun goal type.

The Yotes would challenge for goaltender interference but failed, and so the Sens got 1:35 of 5-on-3, where the Sens didn’t get much going for them, and Vejmelka made a couple of great saves (including a beauty five-hold stop on Tkachuk after the goalie had lost his stick).

The second period saw the beginning of the theme of the night: the Coyotes would score one to reduce the lead to one goal, and then the Sens would get another one back to restore their two-goal lead. First, it was Dylan Guenther on a (very) short powerplay. With Drake Batherson taking a penalty just 19 seconds into a Sens powerplay, the Coyotes made the most of the few seconds they had with the man advantage and Guenther ripped it home. The only other goal of the period came from Alex DeBrincat, who got a several shots with it before he put it in behind Vejmelka who was, honestly, hung out to dry by his teammates on this play:

Seriously, how does a guy get three shots from right beside the net in a span of 5 seconds and nobody defends him?

Things got interesting in the third. First, Lawson Crouse made it 3-2 after Thomas Chabot misjudged a play and caved to pressure, forcing Artem Zub to cover for Chabot, and leaving Crouse open for the backdoor tip. Then, Mark Kastelic made a very nice tip after battling for net-front position to make it 4-2.

Then Barrett Hayton scored on a weak backhander that I’m sure Anton Forsberg would want back, setting up an interesting third period. The Coyotes would pull their goalie, but (soon-to-be 2023 NHL All-Star) Artem Zub hit the empty net, which sealed it. I’m not exactly sure what Shayne Gostisbehere said or did at the end, but when I checked back in he’d earned a game misconduct with 45 seconds left. Obviously showcasing his leadership ahead of the trade deadline. The Sens won 5-3 in a game that they were the better team in, but almost managed to lose.

Notable thoughts:

  • The powerplay suddenly looks atrocious. I get that they will go through hot and cold stretches, but yikes, from the hottest powerplay in the NHL to one that can’t get set up on a 5-on-3. I think Giroux needs back on that top unit.
  • The Sens still seem really vulnerable to rush chances. In several recent games including this one, they allow their goals when the other team is in transition and the Sens don’t have a chance to get set up. It seems like the pattern is the Sens get sustained pressure, but all hell breaks loose if the opponent gets a chance to counterattack.
  • I don’t remember the last time I saw a game that every skater for one team had a shot on goal. That’s impressive.
  • For a game that started out so chippy, it did seem like the energy kind of disappeared in the third. No penalties, fewer scrums. Maybe they were worried that the refs would throw more guys out.
  • I bet Forsberg doesn’t get the next start. He was good when called on, but DJ Smith won’t be happy about that late goal.
  • DeBrincat looked engaged tonight, and it showed up with five shots on goal. After a couple games recently (against Seattle and Buffalo) when he only registered one, it’s nice to see all the shots. He also was the forward with the most ice time tonight, so you can tell Smith felt good about him./

Game Flow:

Shot Chart:

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