It took a few games, but we can finally say it: these are not DJ Smith's Ottawa Senators.
How many times have we watched this team surrender an early lead and just turtle? Or put together a half-hearted comeback with five minutes left in the game and ultimately surrender an empty-net goal? Too many times to count. So it felt amazing to finally watch Ottawa pull themselves together and tie the game before it got out of their hands. It's still too early to say they've turned a corner, but things are certainly looking up.
The goaltending has been under a lot of scrutiny recently, with Korpisalo taking heat for his less-than-stellar performance on Saturday. Mads Sogaard had a chance to give us all a bit of hope, getting the start against Nashville.
Unfortunately, the young goalie prospect didn't do any better than Korpisalo did last game, letting in three goals in just the first period before getting pulled. I'm not usually in the habit of posting videos of goals scored against the Sens, but I need to post the first one just to show the extent to which this was Not The Skaters' Fault.
YESSIR pic.twitter.com/KyR2cxjzRs— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) January 30, 2024
The second goal was a legitimately good goal, but the third was not. The Sens went into the dressing room trailing by three.
Korpisalo took the net in relief in the second period, and he did his job perfectly, allowing the Sens' offence to thrive. They looked like the better team in the middle frame, and it took just over five minutes for them to get one back.
Ottawa kept the pressure going, as Tim Stützle brought them within one with a great snipe.
Things got scary when Chabot went to the box for a penalty, but Korpisalo did great work on the penalty kill, and the Sens came storming back as soon as they got back to even strength. For the rest of the period, it was obvious they were going to tie it, and they did eventually. Who else but the captain to score the equalizer with just over two minutes left in the second?
It's so rare for the Sens to bounce back so quickly and decisively that I, for one, had no idea what to expect for the third period.
What eventually happened was a great 20 minutes of hockey. Ottawa looked extremely solid, and Korpisalo held down the fort in net. It felt like the Sens had more chances, though, and like it was really only because of Saros that Ottawa didn't take the lead. They had some especially heart-stopping chances right at the end of regulation.
Ultimately, 60 minutes wasn't enough, and so the game went to overtime. Korpisalo kept making the saves he needed to, and Giroux played the hero. What a game!
- Brady Tkachuk was a FORCE all night long. He's been quiet lately, so it was nice to see him show up in such a big way.
- There was a little bit of controversy right at the end of the second period, when Ridly Greig took a vicious slash to a very sensitive area and executed a positively Stützle-esque fall to the ice. The controversy is that he got an embellishment penalty on the play, despite being in very obvious pain.
- Speaking of diving, Tim Stützle drew an absolutely hilarious penalty about halfway through the third period. Juuse Saros made an amazing save on what looked like a sure goal, and Stützle tripped on his pads, so Saros got a tripping penalty. Kind of a bad call, but hilarious in that it'll surely piss off the right people.
- Brady Tkachuk tried the between-the-legs move on that powerplay by the way.
- I don't know what was going on with Chychrun's hands, but he kept fanning on shots for some reason. It wasn't a bad game for him; it was just that one strange thing that kept happening.
- Korpisalo deserves tons of credit for an incredible bounce-back game.