Following a less-than-stellar performance against the Flyers earlier in the week, the Ottawa Senators brought back their A-game against the Los Angeles Kings. The result was a 5-1 victory, led by two goals from Chris Wideman and 36 saves from Craig Anderson.
Both teams came out of the gate pressing, with L.A.’s Adrian Kempe hitting the post on an early breakaway. First blood would be drawn by the Sens, however, as a point shot from Thomas Chabot bounced off a few sticks and past Jack Campbell. Chris Tierney was credited with the goal, with Dylan DeMelo’s work in front gaining him an assist.
The Sens had to go to the penalty kill for nearly four minutes on infractions by Stone and DeMelo, killing both. The PK units played a significant role in the Sens’ victory, with Harpur, DeMelo, Smith and Lajoie keeping the Kings on the perimeter.
Ottawa extended their lead later in the period, with Chris Wideman picking up his first goal since October 14th of last year. Matt Duchene’s shot from the middle sent the rebound right on the stick blade of #6, who put it into the back of the net. The Kings challenged for potential goalie interference from Brady Tkachuk, but a small bump on Jack Campbell’s glove wasn’t enough to revert the call.
Not long after, the Sens were sent to their first power play of the game, where they took advantage by getting a bunch of bodies in close. Mark Stone’s tip squeaked the puck just across the line — close enough that had the puck not been on its side, the goal likely would’ve been called back. The review proved that it had fully crossed, however, and the Sens found themselves with a substantial lead heading into the second period.
The second frame was much less eventful, at least for Ottawa. The Kings maintained solid control in Ottawa’s zone (see the game flow below), with Craig Anderson having to make some saves after the defence would fail to clear.
That wouldn’t stop Ottawa from extending their lead even further, as Colin White’s clean wrist shot made the game 4-0. Lajoie’s stretch pass caught Alec Martinez off guard, and White picked up the puck and made no mistake from there. Jack Campbell, who posted a 40-save shutout just a couple nights ago, was pulled after giving up four goals on only eleven shots. The fact that Ottawa only had eleven shots by the game’s midpoint was a bit concerning, yet they found themselves up by four goals.
The Kings would get one back, as Drew Doughty sent a beautiful stretch pass to Trevor Lewis, who undressed Anderson for the goal. Los Angeles continued to press for the remainder of the game, but their perimeter-based system didn’t end up creating many high-danger opportunities.
Chris Wideman’s second goal in the third period goal was more than enough to seal the deal, as the Sens soared to a 5-1 victory.
- Thomas Chabot picked up two assists, and was the Sens’ biggest play driver from the back end. There’s zero doubt he’s Ottawa’s new #1 defenceman.
- Ben Harpur had an up-and-down first game. He spent most of his time at even strength with Borowiecki trapped in his own zone, but he also performed well as a top penalty killer. He spent most of his time on his off-side, although he’s done that frequently in the AHL.
- Chris Wideman’s two goals showcased the offensive side of the game. He was the biggest victim of the seven defencemen setup, however, being limited to only 6:03 at 5v5.
- Brady Tkachuk was his normal gritty self. Constantly found himself in front of the net, pushing people around. He doesn’t look out of place for a rookie, which is a good sign.
- Also a solid night for Craig Anderson, who held down the fort on a night where he wasn’t faced with a whole lot of danger, even though the Kings vastly outshot the Sens.
- Magnus Paajarvi looked positively noticeable on a few occasions, which is a step up considering most nights he seems invisible.
- Although neither contributed much to the game, Nate Thompson and especially Dion Phaneuf received a big cheer from the crowd on their return night./
The Sens play at home again on Monday, with the Dallas Stars coming to town.