Star Wars Day at the Canadian Tire Centre. A battle between the forces of good and Jordan Binnington.
The St. Louis Blues were coming to Ottawa without Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly, and Noel Acciari as they began to dismantle their championship core. It was a good chance for the Senators to bounce back at home after a disappointing overtime loss on Friday to the NHL’s-worst Chicago Blackhawks.
The Ottawa Senators began a bit slow out of the gate, and the Blues' four shots on an early powerplay made it seem like they were going to take the lead. However, Austin Watson was the one who had the best chance during those two minutes thanks to some nifty puck-handling from Tim Stützle going into the offensive zone. He had a partial break in front of Thomas Greiss, but he couldn’t put the puck past him.
Ottawa would get the next two powerplays in the period, although they failed to get properly set up for the first one, and Greiss stood tall on the second. Those powerplays seemed to shift the momentum in the second half of the period though, as Shane Pinto was the first player to get on the board. Drake Batherson made a ridiculous saucer pass across the ice, and Pinto somehow half-volleyed it in on the far side. It was an incredible amount of skill from both players:
The final few minutes almost went off the rails, as Tim Stützle took a charging penalty on a hit from behind on Colton Parayko. It wasn’t that vicious, although he jumped and Parayko even cut his lip, which prompted the refs to review the play for a potential 5-minute major. Thankfully, it was just a 2-minute minor and they were able to kill it off. After 20 minutes, it was 1-0 Ottawa.
Just 35 seconds into the 2nd period, Jordan Kyrou took a tripping penalty on Dylan Gambrell, putting the play at 4-on-4 for a bit and then a Senators powerplay. Ottawa’s powerplay then did their magic, as Stützle made a phenomenal pass to Alex DeBrincat, who wired a one-timer on Greiss’ short side. It was the kind of play that we had hoped to see more of from DeBrincat this season:
And after that point, the floodgates seemed to open. Stützle continued his mastery after an excellent stretch pass from Thomas Chabot to Brady Tkachuk, who then gave it to a wide-open Stützle. Greiss had no chance on Stützle’s dekes, giving Ottawa a stranglehold at 3-0:
Yet the Senators did not stop there, turning into a laugher extremely quickly. Two and a half minutes after Stützle’s goal, Claude Giroux had a wonderful shift in the offensive and somehow kept getting the puck back, which led to him taking a hail-mary shot from the top of the zone. Tkachuk was able to get a stick on it and tip it past Greiss. It might have been a high-stick, but it was too close to tell on replay, so the call on the ice stood as a good goal.
Tkachuk gets involved with his 24th of the year, 3rd point of the night, and 4th goal in 4 games. The Captain's also been buzzing lately. Sens up 4-0 pic.twitter.com/ugYtrUMwVc— Lalime's Martian (@LalimesMartian) February 19, 2023
Then just two and a half minutes after that goal, Batherson would get in on the action as well to make it 5-0. Ottawa was lucky for this one too, as Austin Watson was about to get a boarding penalty, but Tyler Tucker wanted to fight him and negated the powerplay with an instigator penalty. At 4-on-4 play, Pinto dropped it off to DeBrincat, who made yet another excellent cross-ice pass to Batherson, and then made no mistake on the shot. It was great finally seeing the offense firing on all cylinders:
After 40 minutes, the score was 5-0 and the game seemed to be far out of reach already. Somehow, Ottawa felt the need to keep pushing, and Stützle would get his second of the night thanks to an Artem Zub neutral zone pass. Like I’ve said before, Stützle is worth the price of admission alone:
That made it 6-0, the biggest lead they’ve had during any game this season. The Blues were able to add two late lucky goals that squeaked past Mads Søgaard, but it was hard to blame him on either of them. I don’t understand how, but the Blues ended up with 32 shots despite never seeming that close to scoring for most of the game.
Ottawa got one more goal that didn’t matter, except for the fact that it was Ridly Greig’s first of his career. It’s too bad he didn’t want to celebrate too much due to the score, but I know that tons of people were so excited for him:
After all that, the final score was 7-2, the most lopsided win of the season for the Senators.
- The only other game where the offense looked this lethal was the home opener against the Boston Bruins. The top-six looked unstoppable, and the forwards were actually finishing their chances. The top of their lineup has sky-high potential.
- Although Ottawa played fantastically well, Greiss looked as bad a goalie can look. That shouldn’t diminish the Senators’ effort and execution today though.
- Søgaard didn’t seem to have too difficult of a game, but he stopped the puck when he needed to, and only allowed two goals when the game was already 6-0. He’s up to a .913 SV% in four games so far.
- Stützle is now on pace for 90 points in 78 games, or 95 in 82 games if he didn’t miss four earlier on. Imagine if he wasn’t signed to an extension already?
- With Erik Brännström’s assist, he now has one goal and three assists in five games.
- After today’s performance, Ottawa is somehow just two points back of the Buffalo Sabres (8th best team by points percentage) with one more game played. They are...somehow not out of it just yet.
- Logan Brown played 13:28 for the Blues, which was weird because I feel like we have moved on from him so quickly and forgotten about him. He still hasn’t really stuck in the NHL playing for St. Louis./
Ottawa’s next game is tomorrow at 1:00 EST vs. the Boston Bruins.