The NHL kicked off the Global Series this afternoon with an Atlantic Division clash between Detroit and Ottawa. Going into this game, the Red Wings were sitting in third in the division while Ottawa's been hanging out in the basement. Upon closer inspection, though, the Senators have played two games fewer than their Motown counterparts, making the six point difference between the clubs potentially smaller than it appears.
In the early goings of this game, you wouldn't have been able to tell that it was any different from your average game at the Canadian Tire Centre. Both teams came out flying, exchanging chances and being physical. Early in the first, a scramble around Joonas Korpisalo almost opened the scoring in favour of the Red Wings. On the very next shift, a Brady Tkachuk rush led to an open net chance for Artem Zub which ultimately got blocked on its way to the twine.
On their first powerplay chance of the day, the Senators wasted no time being the first ones on the board.
Almost immediately following this goal, the Wings headed on a powerplay of their own. Fortunately, they were unsuccessful and the Senators maintained their 1-0 lead.
Fans in Stockholm were about to burn the building down when the referees didn't call an almost identical trip on Detroit that Ottawa was just punished for but that anger was short lived, as the Tkaptain made it 2-0 moments later.
After David Perron was David Per-wrong in celebrating a goal that didn't count, Jake The Snake™ made it 3-0.
Early in the second, Josh Norris kept the party going.
About halfway through the second period, Detroit's only Swedish player Lucas Raymond scored on home soil, reducing Ottawa's lead back to three. With six minutes left in the second, David Perron got on the board after a puck hit his torso and popped up over and behind Korpisalo. In the final few minutes, Alex DeBrincat brought the Wings within one. On the very next shift, Detroit scored again.
A 4-0 Ottawa lead turns into a 4-4 game after 40 minutes.
That second period performance got major attention from Cheryl Pounder at intermission.
The third period looked mildly better, in part because the officials gave Ottawa a 5-on-3 powerplay, enabling them to put their skill to good use with little probability that their defensive structure would be called upon.
Much of the third period was uneventful following a string of early penalties. There were a few chances exchanged but, for the most part, it felt like both teams were just biding their time, trying not to make a mistake and hoping for a bounce.
In the final five minutes, the Senators were gifted two different powerplay opportunities - one for too many men, one for a puck over the glass - and were unable to capitalize on either, forcing this game into overtime.
With a chance to grab the hat trick and game winning goal, Tkachuk saw himself on a breakaway 90 seconds into the overtime period where he wasn't quite able to tuck the puck through the legs of James Reimer.
In the dying seconds of overtime, it was Tim Stützle playing hero with incredible hand-eye contact to bat a puck out of mid air and beat Reimer for the win.
*sigh of relief*
- Despite allowing four goals in the second period, Joonas Korpisalo was a critical reason the Senators were even in this game after 40 minutes. In the first period, Korpisalo made a number of saves and kept the puck out of the net after defensive lapses in front of him created a scramble.
- Tim Stützle put up another three points today, including the game winner. He's pretty good.
- Brady Tkachuk now has ten goals on the season but, funnily enough, has only done it in pairs. He has yet to play in a game this season where he scores just one goal. It's two or nothing, there is no in between.
- After three games off the scoresheet, Josh Norris found his way back on with a goal and an assist this afternoon.
- Mathieu Joseph continues to quiet the crowd who felt last season was a true indication of how much he could contribute to this team getting another assist and continuing to sit just below a point per game on the season.
- Roby Järventie, Dominik Kubalik and Jake Sanderson were the only three players who survived regulation with their heads above water in the corsi battle. The rest of the Senators lineup was below 50 CF% through 60 minutes.
- There isn't an easy way to explain what happens to the Ottawa Senators in the second period. They consistently take their foot off the gas, whether they're winning or losing, and then have to get themselves back into the game in the third, when it's often too late. Thankfully, the team was able to scrape out two points.