Lowly Sens fall 2-1 to Lowlier Sharks

The Sens are now an incredible 0-13-1 on the road against the Western Conference this season

Lowly Sens fall 2-1 to Lowlier Sharks
Photo by David Clode / Unsplash

The question before the game was clear: would the Ottawa Senators keep losing on the road against every Western Conference team, even while playing the worst team in the whole league? The answer was a resounding YES!, they could still keep losing. They were the better team, but that doesn't mean they were good, and it didn't feel like an unfair result to see them fall 2-1 to the Sharks.

The first period didn't leave much to talk about. The Sens' PK struggled and allowed the only goal of the period. The goal was Thomas Bordeleau from Fabian Zetterlund and Mikael (not Markus) Granlund, exactly one of whom I could've told you was an NHL player. The Sens' powerplay looked better than in recent cases, but still saw several instances of Jake Sanderson wristing a shot from the point straight into a block. Neither team threatened much outside of special teams. It was clear these were two of the worst teams in the league, who also managed to get worse at the trade deadline, each by trading away one of their most talented scorers (Vladimir Tarasenko and Anthony Duclair, respectively; I don't count trading Tomas Hertl here exactly since he's been out a while with injury).

The second period had one of those fun sequences where a delayed penalty goes on for more than a minute and the referee's ability to keep his arm in the air is severely tested. The Sens actually scored on that powerplay, and it was Tim Stützle scoring it for his first (1st!!!!) PP goal of the season.

Stü had 10 powerplay goals last season, and he had the most PP time on ice of any player this season (208 minutes) without scoring a goal. That also brought him to a 3.7% shooting percentage on the powerplay this season, which is lower than his 9.7% overall on the year and his 13.0% for his career. Unfortunately, the second period also saw the Sens give up another PK goal, this time when the PKers got stuck out for the full 1:40 (!!) before the goal finally went in. It's hard to find fault in how a penalty-killer plays when they're that tired. Then, the Sens gave the Sharks a 5-on-3 late in the period, but managed to kill the 5-on-3 part as well as the 5-on-4 that extended into the third.

In the third the Sens generated a bunch of shots, but other than Tim Stützle driving the net and Dominik Kubalik whiffing on a couple gifted shots from distance, nothing seemed like a great chance. Time eroded, and the Sens couldn't tie it up. There's not much else to say. They gave Magnus Chrona his first NHL win, they gave Thomas Bordeleau his first multi-goal NHL game, and they lost 2-1 to the league's worst despite nearly doubling them in shots.

My Thoughts:

  • I like seeing Erik Brännström on the powerplay. In my opinion, he has better vision for quarterbacking the powerplay than Jake Sanderson or Jacob Chychrun. (Yes, that means I still think Chabot is probably a better powerplay coordinator.) Bränny also had a couple times at even strength he got the puck at the point and looked like he was going to either dump it or go D-to-D, and instead deked around and set up a scoring chance. Based on the way the guys played tonight, he should've been out there with the goalie pulled.
  • I don't often get critical on Claude Giroux, but twice tonight on the PK he failed to clear the zone, both leading to extended periods stuck in the zone, one leading to a goal against. I know he's primarily out there to win the faceoff then get off, but if he can't the puck down the ice, it doesn't really matter if he wins the draw.
  • Sanderson several times tonight took low-danger shots directly into opposing players. It was obvious to anyone and everyone that the shot would get blocked and he took it anyway. I get annoyed when Travis Hamonic or Jacob Bernard-Docker do this, but they're not skill guys who get powerplay time. Sanderson knows better and just brain lapsed over and over in this game. He’s gotten more creative offensively as time has passed but this is one area that needs work.
  • This Sens team looks kind of checked out. It must be hard to keep focus up down the post-trade deadline stretch year after year knowing that you're out of the playoff picture. Jacques Martin also doesn't expect to be back next year, so he's probably losing will to push these guys.
  • Magnus Chrona is honestly a spectacular name. I either picture it as the name of a gritty fantasy action hero, or else as the title of a confusing time travel-based video game à la Twelve Minutes (though hopefully with an ending that doesn't just feel like the developers gave up). Sorry for delving into this kind of obscure nerdy musing, but it's hard for me to find much to analyze after such a low-calibre game.

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