Ah, afternoon games for the Ottawa Senators. We all love them, don’t we?
The Senators came into today on the heels of a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and although there wasn’t anything to celebrate offensively, Matt Murray was a silver lining in the defeat. He started today as well, hoping to beat the team they’re chasing in the playoff race, the Boston Bruins (just kidding...unless?).
As it always feels like on afternoon games, the Senators started out extremely slowly. It was the type of start that makes you question whether the team was well enough prepared, because just two minutes in, the shots were 7-1 for Boston. But even before that, a mere 45 seconds in, Trent Frederic gave the Bruins the 1-0 lead. Tim Stützle made an errant turnover, got walked by Charlie Coyle, and then Murray had to bail them out with a phenomenal save on Craig Smith. However, Frederic gathered up the rebound as Ottawa was caught puck watching.
The rest of the first period wasn’t much better, as there was no immediate bounce-back to get Ottawa into the game. In fact, Boston continued to control the play and pepper Murray with shots. Then with 6:34 left, our old pal Curtis Lazar extended the Bruins lead. Lazar made a nifty move around Thomas Chabot, then Anton Blidh sent a perfect low-pad shot where Lazar was able to get the rebound. He barely made contact with the puck (a Lazar classic), but Murray had no chance on the play that made it 2-0.
After a first period without much push from the Sens, the shots were 22-8 for Boston.
Ottawa didn’t exactly pour it on to begin the next frame, although they did get a chance to get back in the game as Smith took a tripping penalty on Stützle. They came incredibly close when Chabot hit the crossbar, plus they had some shots that went wide, but couldn’t convert on the powerplay. That felt like a golden opportunity for them, as they were not able to come close the rest of the period. It was going to take a complete 180 for the Senators to comeback after being down 2-0 after 40 minutes.
Near the halfway mark of the final period, it looked like the game was put away. Lazar contributed to the play once again, and Anton Blidh buried it past Murray—but it was clearly goaltender interference, so thankfully it was waved off after reviewing it:
Anton Blidh appeared to make it 3-0. But it's waved off for goaltender interference after Ottawa challenged. pic.twitter.com/lVkQS8fJho— Patrick Donnelly (@PatDonn12) February 12, 2022
The Senators had life, and a few minutes later they finally began to pressure Jeremy Swayman in the offensive zone. Ottawa would end up generating a fair number of chances to finish the game and they simply couldn’t buy a goal. They even ended up having more 5v5 attempts than Boston at 53-45. Cold comfort considering how much of the offense was generated after the team was already trailing by two goals.
Swayman was up to the task, and Ottawa was shutout 2-0 for the second straight game.
- Murray continues to be fantastic. He stopped 35 of 37 shots, and his season SV% is all the way up to .922%. If only he could get some goals scored in front of him.
- Ottawa’s shutout streak is now at 157:06. Chris Tierney scored their last goal against Carolina on Tuesday, and you’d think they’ll need to get one quick tomorrow afternoon before things really start to weigh on the psyche.
- The Senators’ best players were invisible today. Chabot had some chances but wasn’t good enough overall. Stützle was a huge reason why Boston scored the first goal, and others like Formenton, Tkachuk, and Zub weren’t very noticeable.
- Connor Brown is the only skater who really stood out as he could have easily had a few goals.
- I’d love to see one or both of Lassi Thomson and Jacob Bernard-Docker back in the lineup because it’s quite tough having both Josh Brown and Nikita Zaitsev playing meaningful minutes on the right side./