It’s been a wild stretch of games for the Ottawa Senators, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they dialed up the weird ahead of tonight’s game. We had an ABBA cover band playing at intermission, with Daniel Alfredsson and the Swedish Embassy in the stands. The vibes, they were immaculate.
Nick Holden is a vibe. 🕺 pic.twitter.com/xfaFdh0fz8— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) April 8, 2022
Nick Holden enjoyed some ABBA music before the game, and Cole Reinhardt stepped onto the ice alone for his rookie lap. You could say that the super trouper lights found him, smiling, having fun.
My my, I tried to hold you back but you were stronger
Oh yeah, and now it seems my only chance is giving up the fight
Despite the good vibes in the arena, the first period was pretty boring. Maybe this happened because the Sens DJ refused to fully commit to the bit by playing ABBA during stoppages. Yes, this is a callout.
The first interesting thing to happen was a penalty to Connor Brown, which allowed Formenton and Joseph to work some magic on the penalty kill. They didn’t score, but they made things fun.
What happens when you bring together the teams that are #1 and #2 overall in hits? You get a fight, obviously. Brady Tkachuk took issue with a hit from behind by Lauzon, and the two players dropped the gloves before 10 minutes had elapsed in the game.
Actually, Brady only dropped one glove, but you get the point.
Tkachuk fights Lauzon after a hit from behind, but Brady can’t use his left hand because of an injury.— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) April 7, 2022
Kind of an awkward fight as a result. pic.twitter.com/PPTDW26EBj
With both players still in the box for the fight, Matt Duchene struck first for the Predators. The man refuses to leave us alone. Bad vibes all around. 1-0 Nashville.
The counteract those bad vibes, the Sens played an incredible tribute video for Mark Borowiecki.
Another fight happened with just under 7 minutes left in the period, this time involving call-up Mark Kastelic. Nashville got the extra penalty, but with 3/5 of their first powerplay unit out with injury, the Sens couldn’t get much going.
They got another chance on the powerplay before the end of the period, when Mark Borowiecki decided to scope out the visitor’s penalty box in the arena he knows so well. That’s our guy!
That powerplay turned into a brief two-man advantage when Connor Brown got kneed and dove all over the ice. You know, when Brendan Gallagher was ten years old, his coach had this rule…
Anyways, Juuse Saros turned away a few lethal Josh Norris shots, and when the first intermission ABBA concert started, the Sens were trailing by two.
Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight
Won’t somebody help me chase the shadows away?
As can be expected from a game between the most penalized team in the NHL and also the Ottawa Senators, things got silly, fast. The Ottawa powerplay that had carried over from the first period turned into another 5-on-3, Norris kept getting turned away, and before anyone even knew what was happening, Zub was in the penalty box and the Sens were killing off a penalty. You could say there was something in the air that night.
It soon became clear that the power of ABBA had given Ottawa a boost, as Tkachuk and Joseph both got great scoring chances, and Reinhardt came close to scoring his first NHL goal on the very next shift.
Another Sens powerplay was wasted, and then we got some absolutely ridiculous back-and-forth for pretty much the rest of the period. It was breakaway after breakaway, including one incredible sequence that went: Austin Watson, then Matt Duchene, then Alex Formenton. The three types of hockey players.
Even with arguably their three best players all out of the lineup, the Sens were putting on a show, with breakaway after breakaway. They were setting the pace, running the gauntlet, extreme, if you know what I mean, etc. etc.
It was Mathieu Joseph who finally got the Sens on the board, picking up a beautiful stretch pass from Erik Brännström that was maybe a little bit offside, but that’s okay. The Sens are allowed to be offside on a Brännström assist on Swedish Heritage night. As a treat. 1-1.
The period ended with a bit of a scramble around the Sens’ net, where Anton Forsberg maybe got a bit banged up at the hands of Filip Forsberg. On Swedish night??
The winner takes it all, the loser has to fall
It’s simple and it’s plain, why should I complain
Fueled by the good vibes of another ABBA concert, the Sens had lots of jump to start the third. That’s twice they’ve outplayed the Nashville Predators in like a week, so I’m thinking these guys are not very good.
Josh Norris had been all over the puck all night, so it came as no surprise when he finally found the back of the net with a wrist shot. Cue the pan to Pierre Dorion looking Extremely Stressed in the press box. 2-1 Ottawa.
I’ll bet Josh Norris had one song stuck in his head tonight:
Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man’s world
Unfortunately, Nashville struck back in no time. Roman Josi set a new Predators franchise record for points, with a laser beam from the point. I’ve heard he’s good. 2-2.
The Sens’ passes remained crisp and the odd-man rushes kept coming. Brady Tkachuk got stopped on a breakaway. Play just kept going back and forth, until Reinhardt took a questionable penalty and the Predators took back the lead on a weird bounce. Tough luck for the kid in his first NHL game. 3-2 Nashville.
With just under four minutes left, Ekholm got hurt on a weird play, where Tkachuk and Joseph both hit him at the same time. The penalty ended up going to Tkachuk. Going after a Swede on ABBA night is truly indefensible, so I see where the refs were coming from here.
Once the penalty had been expertly killed off, Ottawa called a timeout and pulled their goaltender, hoping for the season’s first late-game comeback on this very special night.
Alas, the history book on the shelf just kept repeating itself. The Sens stood around in the offensive zone, got maybe one shot off, and ended their winning streak.
- The entire first line had an amazing night. At the beginning of the season, I honestly thought Batherson was the main driving force on that line, and maybe he was, but Norris and Tkachuk have been truly excellent together no matter who has been on their line. And of course Joseph has been a revelation.
- Alex Formenton also had a great night. He had several breakaways, and generally looked good all game./