In one of their most impressive wins of the season, it was the Ottawa Senators’ young stars that carried them to victory.
Josh Norris opened the scoring, and Drake Batherson tallied the game winner, as the Senators downed the Vancouver Canucks by a final score of 2-1. The de facto captain of the team, Brady Tkachuk, assisted on both goals.
Marcus Högberg — who earned his first victory in over two months — stopped 25 of 26 Vancouver shots, only getting beat on an Olli Juolevi shot where he was hopelessly screened. Högberg’s counterpart, Braden Holtby, did everything he could to keep his team in it, making some remarkable saves on 27 Ottawa chances.
The Senators got off to a sloppy start, struggling to move the puck through the neutral zone, and sustain the attack. Despite getting outchanced early, they thought they had the game’s first goal on a beautiful play by Thomas Chabot. He dashed to the net, and Colin White banged home the rebound, but the marker was waved off for goaltender interference.
Moments later, though, Ottawa got on the board for real. Tkachuk and Norris darted in on a two-on-one chance, and Norris ripped his 14th of year blocker side on Holtby to open the scoring.
Off the ensuing draw, there was yet another bizarre fight, this series. Ryan Dzingel had previously attempted to drop the gloves with Jayce Hawryluk — after his altercation with Erik Brannstrom on Saturday night— but ended up settling for Jake Virtanen.
The Canucks would get one back with just over six minutes to go in the frame, when Olli Juolevi let go a quick point shot that Högberg never even saw, and the game was tied 1-1.
The frame ended with the score knotted up as such, and the Canucks outshooting the Senators 11-8.
Ottawa’s second period yielded much more in the way of opportunities. They took the pace to the Canucks, and were finally rewarded just before the halfway point of the second. Tkachuk made a beautiful backhand pass to Batherson, and he beat Holtby with a bullet to restore the lead.
After spending most of the period on their heels, Vancouver had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the dying seconds, but Högberg made a remarkable play to snatch a Bo Horvat shot off the goal line.
The third period saw its fair share of chances for both teams, but was punctuated by a larcenous save from Holtby late in the frame. Nick Paul looked like he had a sure goal after a pass from Connor Brown, but the Canucks netminder slid across to make a huge pad stop.
Vancouver would mount a furious surge in the last couple of minutes in an attempt to tie the game, but Högberg and the Senators stood tall, skating off with a 2-1 victory.
- The top line of Tkachuk, Norris, and Batherson was Ottawa’s bread and butter, tonight. The trio combined for both goals and a total of four points, with Tkachuk assisting on both. A true top line effort.
- Tim Stützle finished the night with a 63.16% Corsi rating, and 75.45 xG% in all situations, for one of his finer efforts as a pro. He was a force in the offensive zone, and there are undoubtedly more games like this in his future.
- Josh Norris now has 11 points in his last 10 games.
- Tonight was Marcus Högberg’s first win since the February 15th 6-5 comeback against Toronto.
- Thomas Chabot also had a solid evening, generating some wonderful chances.
- Erik Brannstrom ended with a 64% Corsi rating and 73.34 xG% at 5on5 tonight./
Up Next: The Senators wrap up this set against Vancouver on Wednesday, in a 5:30pm EST start.