Sens defeat Knights 4-3 in the shootout

Chabot and Norris each had a goal and an assist

Sens defeat Knights 4-3 in the shootout
Photo by Carlos Felipe Ramírez Mesa / Unsplash

It was a back-and-forth affair. The Sens managed to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the second, but also gave up the tying goal late. However, they mostly outplayed the Golden Knights, and earned the shootout victory in a close game. Anton Forsberg made 26 save on 29 shots to earn his fourth win in a row, while Thomas Chabot and Josh Norris each had a goal and an assist, before Tim Stützle scored the only goal in the shootout to secure the win.

It was hard to predict how this one was gonna go, coming into it. On the one hand, the Sens had 1 win and 10 losses all time against the Knights; on the other hand, Mark Stone and Jack Eichel were both out with injury, meaning the Sens could possibly carry their recent momentum into this one. Plus Lyndon Slewidge did the anthems, which is always a big boost. The first period saw just one goal, and it was Jonathan "Marsharsho" Marchessault on a series of errors. First, Tim Stützle failed to corral a puck against William Karlsson. He swept it to Marchessault, and Travis Hamonic just flopped to his knees rather than challenging. Marchessault flipped a backhand that somehow fooled Anton Forsberg. Any of those three guys should've done better but didn't. Other than that, the period was mostly a series of unconverted, mostly uninteresting powerplays for the Sens, in which they continued their recent spell of lacklustre play on the man advantage.

The second period started with the fourth line giving Vegas their first powerplay opportunity, and Chandler Stephenson being allowed to walk 10 feet towards the net and snap one far side past a stranded Forsberg. The Sens looked a little rattled right after and needed to be bailed out by Forsberg a couple times, but then they found their legs. They got on the board off the stick of Thomas Chabot, who scored his third goal in as many games:

The Sens put the Knights back on the powerplay, but then Erik Brännström drew a hooking penalty on the PK, sending the teams to 4-on-4. As Brady Tkachuk got out of the box, he picked up a partially blocked clearing attempt in the Vegas zone, passed it to Drake Batherson, and Batherson tied the game:

The Sens then took the lead early in the third. Brännström took the puck at the wall, hit an open Chabot, and Chabot's point shot was tipped in by Josh Norris in front:

Ottawa actually played pretty well, continuing to plug away in the offensive zone, not turtling like they would've done with a late lead under the previous coaching regime, but with the goalie pulled, Vegas pulled out a great cross-ice play, and Stephenson scored his second of the night to tie it and send the game to overtime.

Overtime was mostly dominated by the Sens, with the shots being 6-2. Maybe as importantly, they also hustled back on defence, only giving up a single odd-man rush the whole period and blocking several shot attempts. But nobody scored in OT, sending the Sens to their second shootout of the season. Forsberg stopped all three shooters, and Tim Stützle beat Thompson cleanly over the glove on a filthy dangle, giving Ottawa the big win.

Game Thoughts:

  • How is the powerplay still this atrocious? This team is a scoring menace now 5-on-5. The personnel are mostly the same as last year, except with Norris replacing DeBrincat. They can't enter the zone, they can't make passes, they can't get shots from even as close as the tops of the circles, they can't generate traffic. Blow it all up. Enact my dream of Sanderson–Chabot–Brännström–Chychrun and random forward on the PP. Just please make it not suck. And before you bring up that they scored on the PP tonight, they got the zone entry 4-on-4, so it doesn't contradict my point.
  • It is too bad that Erik Brännström is small and won't even get a fair shake in the NHL, because he does look to me like the Sens defenceman who's the most confident with the puck. He's always looking for the play to make when exiting the zone, not just looking to flip it out. Being paired with Thomas Chabot for most of the night meant he had a partner he could reliably pass it to if he didn't like the outlet options. I'd like to see him not get the castoff partner sometimes.
  • To stay on this theme, it really hit me tonight, with Hamonic drawing in last-minute for the injured Zub, that the Sens' problem is not their top four. Having three lefties in the top four isn't that big a deal. The biggest problem is that Ottawa only has five NHL-level defencemen. You can shelter one replacement-level guy, but it's hard to hide two. Even one injury brutally exposes this team's lack of depth on D. Pursuing some reliable depth in the offseason, like DeMelo, Roy, Walker, maybe Tanev (though I'm wary of a guy who's gonna be 35 next year) could be a huge boost to this team.
  • Dominik Kubalik didn't even crack 7 minutes of ice time tonight, and only played more than Mark Kastelic. Kubalik is on pace for 14 goals and just 19 points this year. We knew he'd be a downgrade from Alex DeBrincat, but my goodness, who could've seen him becoming deadweight? If a team offers a 7th-rounder for him at the deadline, I think you take it. He won't be back here next year, and he won't be any help down the stretch. We'd be much better served giving a guy like Angus Crookshank some NHL two-way minutes to end the season.
  • The overtime was played excellently. I felt like the team used to cheat a bit in OT before, but they definitely weren't in this one, and they got the bulk of chances to seal it.
  • Even in a game where he was mostly neutralized, Tim Stützle found a way to win it. That's what great players do; even if it's not your best game, you still find a way to be helpful. I can't believe he's only 22 years and 1 month old.

Game Flow:

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