The New York Rangers have now somehow climbed to a perfect 9-0 in the second half of back-to-backs, staggering in both that they have played so many back-to-backs halfway through the season, and also that they win in what's most often a disadvantaged situation. The Ottawa Senators were up 2-0 early, and then completely fell apart in the second period, allowing five goals in the middle frame. Joonas Korpisalo took the loss, allowing 4 goals on 17 shots. It was rough.
The Rangers got the first 6 shots on goal, but Ottawa slowly started to wake up in the early going, thanks to (as is often true) Claude Giroux, who first set up Brady Tkachuk for a great chance in tight, and then set up Tkachuk for the breakaway that led to the game-opening goal.
The goal also gave Giroux his 700th career assist. That did it for scoring in the opening frame, though Mark Kastelic and Barclay Goodrow had a spirited fight, Tim Stützle tried to score between the legs then got cross-checked in the face (no call) by Adam Fox, and the Sens killed off a late penalty in which their PK looked aggressive and dangerous, a rare occurrence this season.
The second period is probably best forgotten. Ottawa actually got the early jump, with Jakob Chychrun scoring on the powerplay to make it 2-0:
From there, the Rangers scored 5 goals on their next 7 shots, chasing Joonas Korpisalo after 4. The goals varied from "a save would've been nice" to "unscreened floating wrister from outside the faceoff circle that I bet my grandma would've stopped before her cataract surgery". It was brutal, and though the Sens hadn't been amazing, their goaltending let them down in a big, big way, giving them a big, big hole to crawl out of in the third.
They didn't crawl out of it. They carried more of the play, but couldn't score, couldn't really get a high-danger chance, and couldn't get a goal with 3 minutes of having the goalie pulled. Artemi Panarin finally put it away with an empty-netter, and Kaapo Kakko scored another one late to really put the cherry on the icing on the cake on the nail in the coffin, with a final score of 7-2.
- The player who stood out most to me tonight was Jake Sanderson, who was flying up and down the ice, making the moves that Thomas Chabot used to make 4 years ago when the Sens needed a hero. Thank goodness this guy's extension is already in place.
- The Sens' PK was perfect and got more chances than the Rangers' PP. That's a bright spot.
- I don't believe in fights giving momentum really, but Brady's fight when up 2-0 was pointless, and it meant he was in the box for the Rangers' first 3 goals of the game. Does the game go differently if they aren't missing a top-line player for those 5 minutes?
- Korpisalo allowed 4 goals on 1.33 expected goals against (all situations, per Natural Stat Trick). That's awful. It arguably cost the Sens the game, seeing as they pretty effectively stifled the offence of a top team in the East. He tends to make some great saves in tight, but his whiff on the Kreider goal tonight in particular just makes you scratch your head and wonder how the Sens are going to get out from under his contract. Buyout? Retained salary + picks à la Matt Murray? This goes back to Pierre Dorion and his staff just being terrible at pro scouting. Dorion bet his job on Korpi, and ended up getting fired for something stupider before Korpi could cost him his job.