You would think a hockey game against a team that’s just as bad at scoring goals at 5-on-5 would be just what the doctor ordered for the Ottawa Senators.
Unfortunately, that logic also works the other way around, and the Colorado Avalanche, who had previously gone 1-6-1 in their last 8 games, put on a show that was far too much for the poor Senators to handle.
While Ottawa got the first shot of the game, things quickly unraveled from there, as the Avalanche got two markers in the first 10 minutes, courtesy of Mikko Rantanen and Alex Newhook, even though in both instances, the defenders had numbers in their own end.
Mikko Rantanen with that wrist curl release 💪 pic.twitter.com/vaBUa5ewFq— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) January 15, 2023
Ottawa didn’t really do much of anything until a successful penalty kill halfway through the period, and they played some decent hockey from there. The newly-formed second-line of Claude Giroux - Shane Pinto - Drake Batherson had a few long shifts in Colorado’s end, and Tim Stützle had the best opportunity of the frame on a Sens’ power-play, but he was met by a fantastic glove save from Pavel Francouz. Ottawa went into the first intermission with a 2-0 deficit.
Early in the second period, Austin Watson attempted to turn things around by fighting former Sens’ 2nd-round pick Andreas Englund, and while the tilt was entertaining and preceded a stretch of decent play for the Senators, it would be the Avalanche to score yet again as Artturi Lehkonen’s attempt on the breakaway eventually found its way through Anton Forsberg 9:05 into the period, which pretty much took the Senators out of the game completely.
It gets worse. Offensive creativity that Ottawa’s top-six could only dream of went on display once again, as the top Avalanche line combined for the team’s fourth goal — and Rantanen’s second of the night, at the 15:57 mark.
Ottawa would get their second power-play of the night early in the third period after Dylan Gambrell was cross-checked by Kurtis MacDermid, and well, they at least didn’t allow a shorthanded goal!
The one positive throughout this game had been Ottawa’s perfect (1-for-1!!!) penalty kill, so of course they had to go and ruin that as well. Lekhonen was left all alone in front of Forsberg and made it 5-0 Colorado at the 8:18 mark of the frame.
Following a third Sens’ power play that was just as ineffective as the last one, they began piling up the shots, desperate to put just one puck past Francouz. But at this point in the season, none of you want to hear about shots. They’ve had plenty of shots this season. It’s the goals that have been hard to come by. But here are two(!!) more goals from Avs’ depth defenceman Brad Hunt, along with Newhook’s second of the game!
With that, we have a final score of 7-0 Colorado, who also ended up ahead in shots 33-29. Ottawa’s now lost three of their last four games, with the one win coming against a club that was built with the sole goal of acquiring one Connor Bedard in June.
- Question: Does adding a defenceman change anything? What good will that do if the forwards aren’t up to the task of scoring goals? With Josh Norris still out for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t make sense to me to waste assets to solve a problem that has nothing to do with goalscoring.
- Instead, if Pierre Dorion wants this team to actually be good, he should do something about the forward corps. Current 3C Dylan Gambrell has 1 goal and 0 assists in 23 games this season. And Derick Brassard is the only member of the entire bottom six producing as a decent fourth-liner. Injuries to Tyler Motte and Mathieu Joseph haven’t helped, but sitting tight with this group is absurd. Call up a prospect, or make a trade, just do something, otherwise, you might as well shut down Norris for the season and pray that you can lock up Alex DeBrincat for at least a couple more years.
- In related news, Ridly Greig, Angus Crookshank. and Sokolov all had a point for Belleville tonight.
- The Thomas Chabot - Artem Zub pairing hasn’t been great since the latter’s return from injury. I’m not going to harp on Chabot too much since he’s played a ton of minutes over the last few years, but it might be worthwhile to try a Sanderson - Zub pair for a game or two.
- Or maybe not. *sigh*./
Injury update: #Sens defenceman Artem Zub has sustained a lower-body injury and will not be returning to tonight’s game in Denver.— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) January 15, 2023
- Game Flow (Tracked differential in 5v5 shot attempts) and Heatmap (Tracked location of 5v5 unblocked shots) are from NaturalStatTrick./
- The road trip continues Monday, January 16th against the St. Louis Blues, with an 8:00 PM EST start time. /
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