Sens beat Penguins 2–1 in Overtime Thriller

Ostapchuk's first NHL game was a success

Sens beat Penguins 2–1 in Overtime Thriller
Photo by Cornelius Ventures / Unsplash

Most of tonight's game was something of a snoozefest, but it picked up when it mattered. Jake Sanderson opened the scoring in the final half of the third period, Michael Bunting tied it up with 20 seconds left, and Drake Batherson got the OT winner. Joonas Korpisalo made 34 saves in the win, just barely outdueling Tristan Jarry, who made 37 saves in the loss.

It was Zack (not Zach) Ostapchuk's first NHL game, and he got Ottawa's first shot on goal fairly early on. I always think about what it must be like to be one of these guys on two-way contracts; in Ostapchuk's case, he gets a little over $4k bonus per day he stays with the big club. I can also afford to spend most of my first period recap talking about this because not much else happened. The Penguins got an early powerplay when Mark Kastelic took an instigator penalty, Korpisalo lost his stick for 20 seconds on that PK, the Sens went 8 minutes without a shot, and Tim Stützle drew a penalty with 4 seconds left in the period. Honestly, that was about it for the opening frame.

The second saw some more action, but still no goals. It was starting to feel like a goalie battle except neither goalie had been called to make too many spectacular saves. A lot of chest protectors were hit. Dare I say it started to look like two teams just going through the motions. On their second powerplay of the period, the Sens got Tristan Jarry scrambling, but put several shots wide with the goalie flat on his stomach. Further proof that this was non-scoring without being a goalie duel. And sure enough, it was still 0–0 at the end of the second.

From a Sens fan perspective, the third period started better, as every line got the offensive zone cycle going. Ottawa got on the board first with Claude Giroux firing home a shot through a Mathieu Joseph screen, but the Penguins challenged for goalie interference and won. It was clear that Jarry shoved Joseph's back in seeming retaliation for a stick in the face, so I'm not sure who was then to blame for the subsequent contact, but hey, we got to hear the Goldeneye 64 theme and the refs helped out the tank effort. However, the Sens did still manage to open the scoring, this time with Joseph setting up Jake Sanderson for a wide-open wrister in front. I've harped on Jake the Snake a bit for shooting directly into shot blocks lately, so I'm happy to see him get one on a perfect read and a superb shot.

With it only being a one-goal game, the teams decided to make it interesting by going 4-on-4 for a couple minutes, and then the Penguins pulled Jarry with 80 seconds left. Incredibly, Michael Bunting managed to get the final touch on a tying goal with 20 seconds left. ​The league reviewed, but the goal stood, and suddenly OT was inevitable, which was only fair in a game that had been scoreless until there was 10 minutes left.

Overtime was an adventure and a halfl there was more action jammed into just a couple of minutes than in the entire 60 of regulation. The Sens had the bulk of possession, but Pittsburgh got a couple breakaways thanks to Jarry refusing to cover the puck and instead making long distance passes. We also got a hysterical moment when Kris Letang fell over under no pressure and gave Tim Stützle a full-ice breakaway where Jarry made the save. But wouldn't you know it, Ostapchuk made a potentially game-saving interception on Sidney Crosby, sending the puck the other way. Stützle slipped a pass to Drake Batherson who one-timed it in from an impossible angle. Ostapchuk didn't get a point, but he led directly to the game-winner.​ Now watch this goal and tell me how Batherson scores from this angle:

My Thoughts:

  • Maxence Guénette looks like he's becoming a serviceable third-pairing guy. He got significantly more time on ice than Jacob Bernard-Docker tonight and held his own in it. It is going to be funny if the 7th-rounder beats out a pair of 1st-round right-hand defencemen in JBD and Lassi Thomson for an NHL role.
  • Stützle is Ottawa's most offensively skilled player, and even nights the team can't score he looks so good out there. I do think he needs someone other than Joseph on his wing though. Joseph has the speed to make this line work, but he routinely can't handle Stü's passes the way Claude Giroux can. The more I think about it, the more I think a complementary winger would be beneficial so Tkachuk stays on the non-Stützle line and the Sens have two top-flight top-six scoring lines. Of course, that requires cap space. And Joseph did set up the first goal of the game, so I could be completely wrong. None of this is a slight against Joseph, who has had a good year, but really should not be on the top line.
  • Have you ever seen a goalie get a quieter 30+ save performance than Korpisalo tonight? I can think of maybe one or two iffy moments all game.
  • I really liked the Sens' third period. Basically didn't let the Pens get out of their own zone, and when they did, never let them get set up.​ They only allowed a goal when they were outnumbered 6–5. The Sens also play a great possession game 3-on-3, and only Jarry's aggressive outlet passes poked a hole in their strategy.

​Game Flow:

Heat Map:

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