The Oilers came into this game on a 5-game losing streak, and with zero wins in 2022 they obviously were desperate. Both Connor McDavid and Tim Stützle were also returning from their COVID-19 protocol absences, so we could perhaps expect some offensive fireworks. Stuart Skinner was called upon by a desperate Oilers team who were looking at the young goalie to bring a spark to a team going through a terrible slump.
The first period was quick-paced with more than a few chances including McDavid getting to the front of the net more than a few times but Matt Murray was in full focus mode. With 10 minutes left in the opening frame, the Oilers took the dreaded delay of game penalty to give the Senators the first power play of the game.
The Senators made no mistake with a play that started with Murray playing the puck perfectly to the offensive zone, then Tkachuk making the incisive pass to Josh Norris who buried it to make it 1-0 Sens.
The Oilers came roaring back and gave the Sens some trouble but both Murray and the goal post saved the day, for that moment anyways. Darnell Nurse had everything set for him for the perfect shot but Murray came up big once again to keep the game 1-0; early on he was really having himself quite the game.
With 3 minutes left, the Oilers were starting to really heat up their play and in a German collision between Tim Stützle and Leon Draisaitl, Stützle found himself serving a 2 minute penalty for hooking his idol. Things got worse for the Sens when Connor McDavid was a bit too much for young Erik Brännström who was called for a hooking call giving the Oilers a 5 on 3 advantage for almost a whole minute. Murray’s heroics helped the Sens get out of the 5 on 3 safely but with 20 seconds left on the 5 on 4 Zack, Kassian ties the game after he was left unchallenged. Oh well.
The Senators started the second period energized and were buzzing around the net until Adam Gaudette took a tripping penalty to break their momentum. McDavid’s speed was on full display and sometimes, when he gets going, it’s just breathtaking, literally. The Senators killed the penalty but the Oilers continued to play like they were on the power play for well after the 2 minutes were up.
Later, after Alex Formenton orchestrated a dominating shift, the Senators were able to get themselves back on the power play. It came at the perfect time as the Oilers were gaining a lot more energy than anyone wanted to see. The passing on that power play was clinical but unfortunately the Sens did everything but score.
While Murray was really having a great game, he just couldn’t stop a surging Yamamoto who slid the puck under Murray’s pad to make it 2-1 Oilers with less than 8 minutes left in the second period after chasing down a puck that was flipped high out of the Edmonton zone. Not the best look for both Josh Brown and Brännström who were caught out.
As the period progressed, the Oilers continued to pile on the chances and shots and the Sens just looked like they wanted the period to end. The second period did end, but unfortunately not before the Oilers made it 3-1 on a quick shot by Perlini.
The third period started the way the second ended: Oilers domination. But after Murray made yet another incredible save, Alex Formenton sprinted into the Oilers zone with Adam Gaudette who roofed it on his backhand to bring the Sens within one goal. A turning point, perhaps?
The Formenton line wasn’t done: less than 3 minutes later Skinner made a critical mistake playing the puck behind his own net and Tierney knocked the puck clean out of the air, and proceeded to set up Gaudette streaking into the slot. While Skinner was able to make the first save on Gaudette coming back, he couldn’t save the rebound shot by Alex Formenton who ties the game. Sicko Nation baby!
Things seemed to calm down after the tying goal with both teams slightly slowing down. As we were starting to settle down from the excitement, Artem Zub reminded us why he is a rare gem when he made the perfect shot to give the Sens the lead with less than 10 minutes left.
The excitement was dampened when Darnell Nurse took Murray by surprise with a quick shot to tie the game up again after a busted defensive zone coverage from Chabot and Norris.
Do you remember Cody Ceci? It seems his loyalties still lie with Ottawa as he gave the Sens an all important power play late in the game after he clipped Josh Norris with a high stick. In pure comedy, the Ceci penalty gave the Sens the lead once again after Stützle’s flawless pass to Norris delivers! Norris wasted no time taking off Gambrell’s helmet, which he borrowed for the power play while his own was getting fixed; it was quite the post goal celebration.
TWO VERY IMPORTANT WORDS:— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 16, 2022
JOSH. NORRIS. ‼️ pic.twitter.com/T4Pg5EMOgW
The Senators completed the third period comeback with an empty netter that was really just a clearing effort by Sanford to make it 6-4. Nobody was having more fun than Tkachuk on the bench who was just having his own party at this point.
Another solid game by Matt Murray even while letting in 4 goals but an even better game by the team as a unit. This? This is fun.