Ottawa Senators End Losing Streak With a Demanding 6-3 win over the Penguins

The one where Tim Stützle gets his first of the season

After losing 6 in a row and half their team to the COVID-19 protocol, the Sens were hoping the young kids would inject some magic into this game.

First period

The Sens come into this game with more missing players and more new faces. While the Pittsburgh Penguins are missing their two big stars, they’re still a pretty deep team that is expected to cause trouble for the Sens.

Thankfully, Zub who was a game time decision was part of the starting lineup which was a much needed boost to an already depleted and struggling defense group. Shane Pinto also made his return tonight after missing some time with a shoulder injury.

Coming off a shutout loss to the Kings, the Sens did not seem to be having the greatest start to the game. The team looked disorganized and every play seemed to end into a turnover and a great chance for the Penguins.

Halfway through the period, the Penguins could have easily had 2-3 goals if it weren’t for the flawless play of Filip Gustavsson who was playing like he was the real number one goalie of this team.

The Sens started to settle down and turned up the physical play which opened up the play for them giving them a few more scoring chances.

With 3 minutes left, things got very challenging for the Sens as Tkachuk took a penalty. With a 1:40 left in the power play, Jake Guentzel takes a high stick and the Penguins were headed to a very long 5 on 3.

While the Penguins power play is struggling, that kill was all a result of some unbelievable plays by the Sens. They completely closed off any chances on the 5 on 3 and made no mistakes clearing the puck when they got the chance.

Second period

The Sens come into this period energized after that fantastic penalty killing in the first. They started off with a few good shots but then Lassi Thomson took a penalty (which was more of a Zucker stumble) and the Sens were back on the penalty kill. Jeff Carter thought he scored but the refs decided to keep the game going as he didn’t believe it crossed the line but it did look like it could have been a goal. The Sens killed the rest of the penalty without a whistle to give the refs a chance to review the Carter play.

After a great kill, the Sens got back to work quickly with Batherson almost having the first of the game but no luck. All those penalty kills were definitely energizing the Sens as they had two very solid shifts after that kill.

We finally got a stoppage in play after ZACH SANFORD SCOREd A BEAUTY!!! They finally get rewarded for some good play and the bench celebration was a clear indication of how much the Sens needed this goal. As a bonus, it was also JBD’s first NHL point and a message to DJ Smith that he plans to leave a mark on this call up.

As for Carter’s “goal”, no review was needed and the replay showed it clearly went off the post.

The Sens continued their strong play but their best opportunity came when DeSmith lost his stick but the Sens were not able to capitalize on the goalie’s weak position.

With 10 minutes left in the second period, the Sens get another break when John Marino got tangled with Parker Kelly. It should be noted that the Penguins PK on the road is ranked first in the league so scoring on this PP was no easy task for the Sens.

Then bad luck strikes again as Shane Pinto rushed into the dressing room after taking a faceoff. But Uncle Delly comes to the rescue with a blast of a goal to make it 2-0. Take that #1 penalty kill!

Parker Kelly doesn’t waste any time and makes it 3-0 seconds later. Ladies and gentlemen it is RAINING GOALS!! Another case of a first NHL point, with Lassi Thompson getting an assist on that goal.

I had to make sure this was indeed the cursed second period turning into some magical series of events.

With 6 minutes left, Brady Tkachuk has one ridiculous play to Sanford who misses but that would have been a highlight goal.

The Penguins got two chances at a completely open Sens net as things got very messy but no damage sustained. Is this Sens good luck I’m sensing?

With two minutes left, Tkachuk gets clipped high and the Sens are back on the power play. Maybe a good time for a Tim Stützle goal? YESSS IT IS!!!! IT HAS HAPPENED!!!! TIMMY WITH HIS FIRST OF THE SEASON! Oh yeah and it’s 4-0 Sens with TWO power play goals so far on a team that has not allowed a power play goal on the road all season.

The second period ended with the Sens on the power play as they continued to dominate the play.

Third Period

The Sens start the period on the power play and a large dose of well-earned swagger but the power play didn’t convert.

The game seemed to have calmed down until the 13 minute mark when rage ensued by the Penguins net where Sanford was dangerously tripped resulting in Norris and Tkachuk coming to his defense with a whole lot of head locking, pushing and swearing. The Penguins come out of the mess with a power play. Another perfect kill by the Sens.

With 10 minutes left, Tyler Ennis and Drake Batherson connect for a beauty to make it 5-0. Bath time baby!!!

The game was going perfectly well when the Penguins decided to ruin Gustavsson’s shutout as Kasperi Kapanen gets one.

The Sens started crumbling as the Penguins cut the lead to 5-2 with Evan Rodrigues putting in a perfect shot. With 7 minutes left, DJ Smith calls a timeout to calm a frazzled team. A 3-goal lead late in the third shouldn’t be a concern but with the Sens, you really don’t have the luxury of taking risks.

Whatever Smith told the team on the timeout, it seemed to have worked as the Sens went back to some collected and strong plays.

The Penguins pulled the goalie with 4 minutes left and they get rewarded immediately with Evan Rodrigues making it 5-3 with his second of the night. Panic ensues.

The Sens were all over the place at this point and the Penguins found a whole other gear with less than 3 minutes left.

An extremely stressful last few minutes but with 48 seconds left, Tkachuk gets the puck to Batherson who makes no mistake to make it 6-3 Sens.

It’s a Sens win!!

Game Notes

  • Thomas Chabot had another fantastic game. Not only was he playing long minutes but DJ Smith was able to use him with almost every other defenseman to give everyone a chance to settle in to the new pace with minimum risk.
  • The more time Murray misses and the more great games Gustavsson has, you have to wonder how the team will justify sending the more talented goalie down to Belleville? The question is, what do they do with Matt Murray?
  • With Lassi Thomson continuing his very solid play, does Pierre Dorion take the chance on rushing him into the NHL? Would it be better to keep him in Ottawa playing sheltered minutes or send him back to dominate the AHL?
  • DJ Smith has had a reputation of not trusting the younger kids and his treatment of Brännström has garnered a lot of criticism. While I think Brännström has had some bad luck, I think he also hasn’t done enough to impress when compared to what some of the other newcomers are displaying. DJ Smith has no problem trusting Thomson so far and has put him in every situation possible with positive results every time. Maybe Smith just has very high expectations of those kids?
  • Tim Stützle finally scored his first goal of the season, he’s been playing well so far but you can tell he was trying to force the play on many occasions. Will we be seeing another level from little Timmy now?
  • How poetic was it that Stützle got his first goal on a power play that was drawn by Brady Tkachuk?
  • Not sure if it was because he scored a goal but Michael Del Zotto seemed to have a good game and he definitely looked better than what we’ve seen from Josh Brown and Nikita Zaitsev so far.
  • How about that Sanford guy, eh? Logan Brown would never.....
  • Drake Batherson had a false positive and almost didn’t play tonight. With the Penguins making a late surge, how important were those last 2 goals? He finished the game with 4 points tying a career high.
  • Not a great end to the game but this is a young team with a lot of new players making their debuts, the fact that they continued to hold on and even scored an empty netter is a good sign that they can react to some adversity. /

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