Senators grind out 5-4 win over Kraken

Giroux decided the Sens weren’t losing tonight

It wasn’t pretty, but the Ottawa Senators earned a 5-4 win over the Seattle Kraken. The Sens raced out to 3-0 lead, but slowly watched it erode, falling behind 4-3, before Claude Giroux decided to take over the game. Giroux scored the tying goal, and then his tenacious forecheck earned him an assist on the winning goal. In the end, it earned the Sens a crucial two points, keeping them in the playoff hunt.

It’s hard to imagine a better start to a rebound game than the ones the Sens got. Four minutes in, Shane Pinto swatted in a Nick Holden shot that fell at his feet in the crease. Four minutes later, Jakob Chychrun snapped home his signature slot wrister, giving him two points in the first eight minutes of the game. Then 17 seconds later, Patrick Brown snuck a weak one through Phillipp Grubauer’s arm for his first as a Senator (and third of the season). Here they all are:

Things seemed to get better from there for the Sens, as they got the game’s first powerplay, and they got a flurry of chances. The problem is between those chances, they allowed a shorthanded goal. Thomas Chabot weirdly let Jared McCann walk in on a 2-in-1, only closing off the pass. Mads Søgaard actually got the stop on the shot, but then it took a weird bounce off Chabot’s skate and in behind. It was a combination of bad judgement and bad luck. The Sens got another late powerplay, and got some great looks, but it seemed Grubauer had settled down after a weak start. Still, the score was 3-1 for the Sens, shots were 15-8 for the Sens, and expected goals-for (via Natural Stat Trick) was 75% for the Sens. It was a great rebound period.

The second period saw Seattle tie it up off a couple more awful bounces. First, Chychrun tried to bat the puck out of mid-air, but instead tipped a point shot past Søgaard, and then an awkward scramble in front led to McCann getting his second of the night. The good news was that Søgaard was still 100% on the night on shots that didn’t come off his teammates. The bad news was the game was tied 3-3. And from there, Grubauer continued to shake off his earlier start, making great save after great save. It led to this dumb tweet from some guy on Twitter:

The Sens powerplay crumbled, to the point fans on Twitter were asking if we could decline penalties. I wonder if teams have just adjusted to the Sens’ powerplay, or if taking Claude Giroux off the top unit was a bad idea. This moved them to a stretch of 0/14 on the powerplay on which they’d allowed two shorthanded goals. Søgaard had to make a couple great saves, DeBrincat managed to hit the post yet again, and the period ended 3-3.

Things were tense to start the third period. You could tell both teams felt the pressure to win this one. Sadly for Ottawa, it was Seattle who broke the deadlock, with Vince Dunn skating in, Travis Hamonic watching him do it while backing into his own goalie, and poor Søgaard defenceless against a wicked shot from the low slot. Again on Sens Twitter, people felt like going to bed, but just 38 seconds later, Claude Grioux wired home an awkward pass on a beautiful, beautiful goal.

It meant the Sens didn’t have time to worry about ‘what if’, because they were right back tied. And Giroux again showed his ability to get this team up and running. It was a tight-checking affair through the rest of the third from there. It looked like we were destined for overtime, when the Sens got a fortuitous bounce. First it came from Giroux forechecking while his line changed. He maintained possession, got it back to Jake Sanderson, who passed it down low to Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat tried to pass it to Pinto in front, but instead Will Borgen tipped it into his own net, and the Sens had the lead with 2:20 to play. Seattle pulled their goalie, but couldn’t get the tying goal, and the Sens got out with a 5-4 win.

My Thoughts:

  • Giroux has an incredible ability to motivate this team, and grind out plays. He’s incredible to watch, getting the tying goal and an assist on the game-winning goal.
  • Chychrun is very good with his stick.
  • Søgaard looked nervous early, but he held his cool when it mattered.
  • The powerplay really needs an overhaul, and I think it will get it after this game. Look to see Chychrun with the top unit, if DJ’s really trying to send a message.
  • I’m going to complain about Hamonic, so if you don’t want to read it, feel free to skip to the comments now. But let’s remember he shoved Hyman on top of Anton Forsberg, ending his season. And he slid into Cam Talbot, leading to his three-week absence with a strained oblique. He shoots every puck that ends up on his stick in the offensive zone. Today, there was more than one time that he pinched, and then even when the puck went back the other way, he never got back in position, kind of hovering between playing wing and defence. He let Dunn walk in and score the go-ahead goal in the third. This team has four top-four defencemen, and it’s time to stop exposing Hamonic on Sanderson’s pair (two-goal game notwithstanding)./

Game Flow:

Shot Chart:

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