The annual “dads trip” is here, and the Sens have decided to spend it disappointing their fathers.
This was the second Sens game in a row where there was an entire suite reserved for the players’ dads, and although the team put together a much better effort tonight than whatever they did against the Kings, I’m starting to wonder if maybe the dads’ presence is the problem here.
The Sens have had Dallas’s number over the last few years, and they looked pretty good to start this matchup. DeBrincat and Pinto got the first good chance of the game, but there was barely any time to feel optimistic about the team’s chances before Miro Heiskanen opened the scoring. 1-0 Dallas.
Ah! Well, nevertheless.
Brady Tkachuk almost pulled off a great move to tie it, but a sharp angle shot from the goalline gave Stars defenseman Heiskanen his second of the night before even 10 minutes had elapsed in the game. 2-0 Dallas.
Thankfully, the Sens were playing considerably better tonight than they did in that awful loss to the Kings. The Stars are good enough that you can’t automatically blame the goalie when they score, but the second one especially was pretty weak. In any case, the first line gave us all some hope, Chabot had a great shift, and eventually Brassard cut the lead in half with a great shot from the slot. 2-1 Dallas.
That goal injected life into the Senators, and they mostly dominated the rest of the period. Brady Tkachuk did great work around the Dallas net to set up Claude Giroux, and I honestly don’t know how the puck stayed out of the net on that sequence. These days there are actually only two outcomes to a shift from the Tkachuk-Stützle-Giroux line; either they score, or you’re left wondering how the other team kept the puck out of the net. Fun times!
It didn’t take long for the Sens’ hard work to pay off, as Chabot kept up his recent stretch of incredible play, tying the game with a slapshot from the point. Unsurprising that the team dad would score during the dads’ trip. 2-2.
The Sens remained good for the rest of the period, and the one time the Stars got the puck, Forsberg came up big. A great sign considering how he started the game.
The start of the second period was Less Good, as Forsberg had to make some big stops on some great chances for Dallas. Thankfully, the Sens got a lucky break when Dallas took a too many men penalty. The powerplay was kind of bad, but they did at least get some shots on goal.
Things calmed down after that, until Giroux got high sticked and the Sens went back to the powerplay. I can’t tell if Giroux sold the high-stick a little bit or if he was just that hurt, but if he sold it, it’s nice to see that his friendship with Tim Stützle is a two-way street with each player learning something from the other.
This second powerplay looked much better than the first, but Oettinger stood tall and the Sens weren’t able to grab the lead. The good news, however, is that they were pretty clearly the better team for the rest of the second period. Forsberg made the saves he needed to, and Ottawa held on to the puck well, outshooting their opponent by a wide margin.
They also got their third consecutive powerplay at the end of the period, and this one really had the feeling of one they needed to convert on. It doesn’t matter how clean your game is; you don’t get three powerplays in a period of a tied game without eventually getting a makeup call.
No more slow starts for this team: the Sens didn’t score on the last few seconds of the powerplay, but it didn’t take long for Stützle, Sanderson and DeBrincat to pull off some wizardry in the offensive zone that ended with Hamonic tipping the puck into the net. 3-2 Ottawa.
Remember that thing I said about makeup calls? I was right about that, as I am about most things. A pretty weak call on Brassard sent the Stars to the powerplay, but fortunately for Ottawa, Dallas’s powerplay slump continued and the lead held.
Despite killing off the penalty, the Sens soon found themselves hemmed in their own zone for a very long stretch of time, as Dallas put everything on net. Heiskanen made several attempts at the hat trick and Jason Roberton did Jason Robertson things, but the Sens weathered the storm for an impressive stretch of time, thanks in large part to their goaltender.
Of course, you can’t just go over ten minutes without a shot on goal and expect to keep the lead, and eventually the inevitable happened. What was weird about that third Dallas goal was that Forsberg absolutely should have had it, even though he’d been making ridiculous stops all period. Goalies are so weird. 3-3.
Ottawa immediately woke up, and would have taken back the lead if not for the bizarre curse on Alex DeBrincat that makes goaltenders save every single one of his shots. Regulation solved nothing, and we were headed to overtime.
Timmy got things started off on the right foot with an excellent drive to the net that he couldn’t quite finish. The Sens had possession for approximately the first half of overtime, but eventually Dallas took over, and Forsberg made a bunch of amazing saves before Seguin ended the game just seconds before it would have gone to a shootout. A disappointing end to a very, very strange game.
- That first line. What is there even left to say? Tim Stützle might have deked out every single player in the Stars’ lineup at some point tonight. Brady Tkachuk could have had two goals. Giroux was himself. It’s great to have a line so good that as soon as you see them hop over the boards you know the team is headed for the offensive zone.
- Thomas Chabot has been fantastic since coming back from his injury, and tonight was no exception. A dominant game all around from him.
- Jake Sanderson continues to impress. He was especially noticeable in overtime, where he had two good scoring chances and did a good job of keeping possession.
- In case you couldn’t tell from the recap, I don’t know how to feel about Forsberg’s game. He kept them in it at times, but he also let in at least two soft goals. Maybe it all evens out and the score was what it would have been if he’s played a normal game. I don’t know./