After the theatrical game on Broadway, the Ottawa Senators welcomed Erik Karlsson and the San Jose Sharks to the Canadian Tire Centre tonight. With Artem Zub out and Anton Forsberg between the pipes, the Sens were looking to build off a big win in New York against the similarly ranked Sharks.
The game started out with San Jose drawing first blood. With Brady Tkachuk in the box for a rare undisciplined high stick, Tomas Hertl found the puck bouncing off the end boards and buried his eighth of the year. Fortunately for the faithful in attendance, Tkachuk made up for his penalty by scoring yet another goal, this time on a rebound on the powerplay.
A mere few minutes later, we got a glimpse of vintage Karlsson as the Sharks were able to regain their one goal lead.
Through the first period, a familiar narrative started to build. While heading into the locker room trailing by one, Ottawa dominated the chances in the first period and were clearly the better team. At even strength, the team recorded a 60.71 CF%. The pairing of Erik Brännström and Nick Holden played particularly well, allowing just one chance while they were on the ice at even strength.
The second period started like the first. The Sens were buzzing, the Sharks had some chances, but ultimately it was Ottawa who fired the first one of the period home. With a weak turnover in their own end, the Sharks floated a freebie into the slot and Claude Giroux made absolutely no mistake in burying his tenth. And, of course, it was thoroughly refreshing to be on this end of a defensive zone mistake.
With continued sustained pressure, the ice felt tilted in Ottawa’s favour for much of the next ten minutes. With just over four minutes left, Alex DeBrincat drew a penalty in the offensive zone which led to Ottawa’s top unit getting to work. The usual perimeter passing led to DeBrincat finding Drake Batherson who made a perfect one touch pass to Tim Stützle for perhaps the easiest tap ins of his career.
The Sens were the only goal scorers of the second period, putting two behind Kaapo Käkhönen to give them a lead heading into the second intermission. In the world of fancy stats, the Sens managed to continue their domination of the corsi game; outchancing the Sharks 22 to 14 at even strength.
The third period kicked off with some chances going both ways. It wasn’t until five minutes into the period, with the Sharks in the box, that the party got started in this frame. Scoring his fourth of the campaign, Thomas Chabot’s one timer found it’s way through Käkhönen. Another power play point gives Chabot seven points in his last six games.
Shortly after Chabot ended the powerplay early, the Sens special teams group was back at it for another go up one player. This only led to continued pressure and momentum for the hometown club as they were looking to extend their two goal lead. Alas, the score remained 4-2 for the time being.
Much of the third period was a special teams affair. There were 5-on-4’s in both directions, a 4-on-4 and even a 4-on-3 throughout the final frame. It was during the Sharks’ 4-on-3 attempt where San Jose came incredibly close to bringing this game within one.
Once the two teams were back to five skaters each, this game descended into chaos for a minute. There were shot blocks, incredibly chances and then somehow Giroux ended up completely alone with the puck and made no mistake for his second of the night.
CLAUDE GIROUX WITH AUTHORITY 💥 pic.twitter.com/e7IOq1g80K— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 4, 2022
It was smooth sailing following this back breaker for the Sharks and Ottawa picked up a huge two points at home against San Jose.
They’re 4-1-0 since their win in LA last week.
- The captain was back on his BS tonight, opening the scoring after tying and winning the game for the Sens last night. He was a monster, a beast, a man amongst boys. Pick your cliché, that’s what Brady Tkachuk was tonight.
- Claude Giroux was electric tonight. In fact, that entire line with the veteran, captain and kid were unbelievable. Giroux had a pair of goals, Stützle and Tkachuk scored one each, and they made it look like practice with their puck possession.
- Erik Brännström and Nick Holden’s pairing are a big reason why this game finished the way it did. While neither contributed to the goal scoring, the Sharks were left wanting more while this pair was on the ice. At even strength, the pair hit 75 CF%, the highest of any skaters in the game for either team. When you get this kind of play from your bottom pair, you’re probably going to have a good night.
- Anton Forsberg showed up to play today, particularly during the flurry of action in the third period. Through 60 minutes he posted a 0.946 SV%.
- Thomas Chabot had a powerplay goal and somehow only played 24 minutes tonight. What a world we can live in when the team is playing this well.
- The second pairing of Jake Sanderson and Travis Hamonic had the opposite night of their third pair counterparts. They got pretty well caved in analytically. That being said, you saw what that translated to on the ice. There were some chaotic moments, but while being hemmed in Hamonic and Sanderson both made some big blocks and zone exits; while getting bailed out by Forsberg from time to time.
- Tim Stützle’s goal and assist brought him about the point per game mark, with 25 points in 24 games thus far in 2022-23./