It’s safe to say this was the Ottawa Senators’ worst performance of the season so far. After snapping a three-game losing streak against Dallas, they had hoped to keep things rolling against Chicago, who’d previously gone 0-7-2. Instead, they ended a losing streak for the second time in a row, falling in an embarrassing fashion.
The game started out well, as the entire team did their job — they worked hard to hold off the Chicago attack, allowing Matt Murray to make the few saves necessary to keep the game scoreless. Despite a rather ineffective power-play early on, they got out to a 12-4 lead in shots.
Things took a turn for the worse in the final two minutes, as the Senators were unable to clear the puck out of the zone numerous times (it won’t surprise you to learn that Chabot and Zub were on the bench here), and Brandon Hagel took advantage of the tired group. The Senators ended the first period leading in shots 13-8. At that point, one could say they were unlucky, but that was about to change.
Early in the second, Drake Batherson took a holding penalty, and the Senators were unable to clear the puck down the ice before Patrick Kane doubled the Hawks’ lead.
At one point, Chicago held a 9-1 lead in shots on goal during the second frame. The sturdy defense in front of Murray had collapsed in spectacular fashion, and Murray himself was about to follow suit.
27 seconds into the third period, he was late in picking up a point shot from behind a screen, and Hagel’s second of the night made it 3-0 Chicago. Under a minute later, Kane would also double up to make it 4-0.
It was pretty much over at that point, but the Senators seemed determined to play this one out, especially when Alex Formenton was able to put the puck past the glove of Marc-Andre Fleury to get the Senators on the board and extend Ottawa’s streak of not being shut out in a game.
Hey, it’s only a three-goal deficit now! We’ve seen more impressive comebacks from this team before, but we’ll be somewhat alright if you just end the game on a high note and prevent any further damage.
Hatrick Kane 😌 pic.twitter.com/7eVDrQSzsc— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 2, 2021
Huh. That’s not exactly what I had in mind. Each of the Senators’ losses so far had been decided by 1-2 goals, so this 5-1 defeat to the worst team in the NHL is especially frustrating.
While they were the better team in the first period, the Senators collapsed after going down by a goal. They were sloppy with the puck, made things far too easy for Fleury, and were drastically outperformed in special teams.
- Not only did the old issues such as defensive depth persist, but some of Ottawa’s top players simply didn’t perform tonight. Tim Stützle is a prime example — he’s been absolutely electric to start the season, but tonight’s contest was a power outage. I’m not worried about him at all, since at this point in the season this one game is an anomaly.
- Matt Murray certainly wasn’t good, but it’s hard to pin more than a bit of the loss on him. I doubt Filip Gustavsson could’ve limited the damage to fewer than three goals, which if my math is correct, is still two more than the Senators scored tonight.
- Zach Sanford had a hell of a backcheck last game, and tonight, his positive impact was less in the form of notable plays and had more to do with strong transitional play across the whole game. He had four shots on goal, and his line featuring Logan Shaw and Dylan Gambrell (who’s also had a nice start to his Senators career) had over 88 percent of the 5-on-5 expected goals share while the three were on the ice.
- Another piece of good news in a game with so little, was that Thomas Chabot and Artem Zub continue to function as a legitimate top pair. Both had three shots on goal and had a 5v5 xGF% of just over 69 percent. Nice. I’m not seeing the egregious errors Chabot made last season — playing with a good partner helps a lot, I’d wager a guess that spending less time in the defensive zone has allowed him to be a lot more calm at both ends of the ice.
- I won’t be too hard of Brady Tkachuk, as he wasn’t awful tonight, but no points and one shot on goal? We need a much bigger contribution next game. /
Stats (from NaturalStatTrick.com):
- Pretty even in terms of shot attempts, and Ottawa did a better job of preventing quality chances from the slot area. Definitely one of those games that looked better on paper as opposed to on the ice./
- The boys won’t have to wait long for an opportunity to bounce back, as the third and final game of this current road trip takes place against the Minnesota Wild tomorrow (or today, depending on when you’re reading it), November 2nd. The game is scheduled for 8:00 pm EST./