Ahead of the Sens’ grand return to the CTC after their trip to Sweden, head coach DJ Smith promised that the team would be “back to normal.” They sure did deliver on that promise.
After so much time off, many of us were just happy to finally be watching Sens hockey, even if the team didn’t exactly wow us from the get-go. Both teams looked pretty good from the start, with play mostly even and the game looking like it would be a close one.
Ottawa struck first, as the powerplay finally got going after many games of being mostly useless. The Sens have a good record while scoring first, so this was good news.
The Sens looked very good for stretches of the first, but unfortunately the Islanders did get one back, so the game was tied heading into the first intermission.
The second period was a rollercoaster - even moreso than usual. It was great at first, with the Sens keeping the Islanders without a shot on goal for the first six minutes or so, and Parker Kelly scoring to take back the lead… until his goal was called back on an offside review, and everything went to shit.
The Islanders scored pretty much immediately after the goal was disallowed, and then they scored again. And then again, right off the next faceoff. In the space of a few minutes, the Sens had let the game slip away from them as they faced a 4-1 deficit.
But the rollercoaster continued! Before we could get too down about the score, Claude Giroux and Tim Stützle worked their magic make the score 4-2. Batherson scored his second of the game soon afterward, and just like that, it was back to being a one-goal game.
The Islanders got a favourable bounce at the beginning of the third, to make the score 5-3. The Sens basically sat back and let them have the win, with only one shot on goal during the first 13 minutes, and few scoring chances. By the time they got anything interesting going, they were pretty much out of time. The 5-3 score held.
- Offside reviews as they exist right now are absolute bullshit. The goal that got called back was scored by a different line than the one that caused the offside. There has to be a better way to do this.
- Not the best night for Anton Forsberg, who got some bad bounces but needed to be better. I do, however, want to give him a shoutout for a massive stop on our old friend Jean-Gabriel Pageau right at the end of the second period.
- Tim Stützle is ridiculous. He’s clearly gotten over whatever was bothering him earlier in the season, because he looked amazing all night on top of putting up points.
- If I may take one positive from the chaos of that second period, it’s nice to finally see the Sens fighting back and immediately putting pressure on the other team. That’s something they’ve struggled with a lot over the last few years. It is, however, frustrating to see them unable to finish those comeback attempts. That third period was bad.
- All four forward lines were cooking tonight. I liked what I saw from all of them.
- Erik Brännström had a great game, leading all Sens defensemen in even strength TOI.