With tomorrow’s game postponed due to the storm that’s about to rock Ontario, we tuned in tonight to watch Ottawa host Washington for their final game before a short holiday break. The two big storylines heading into tonight were the return of Tim Stützle and Alex Ovechkin chasing yet another level in the race for the league’s historical scoring title.
The game started off with some low energy. Each team exchanged an okay chance here and a mediocre chance there until Alex DeBrincat got his stick on a Nick Holden point shot to give the Sens a somewhat unfamiliar early lead in this one.
Just a few minutes later, however, the Capitals got an opportunity to respond with the man advantage and did just that, with Evgeny Kuznetsov netting his fifth of the campaign.
The two sides would continue to exchange chances until the nine minute mark of the first frame when the Senators were given an opportunity on the powerplay to regain their brief lead. Heading into this powerplay, the Sens were ranked 4th in the league with a 28.5%. Unfortunately they weren’t successful in flexing that muscle on this or the next powerplay opportunity, which came two minutes later.
There was no more action for the remainder of the first frame. Ottawa came out strong and, overall, played a solid period. They were outchanced slightly by the Capitals at even strength but heading into the first with a tie is a great way to start the game.
As the second frame opened, we learned the both Tyler Motte and Rourke Chartier would not be returning, after getting banged up in the first period. This left Ottawa with just ten forwards for forty minutes of work.
About five minutes into the second, the Caps were buzzing on the powerplay but Cam Talbot said “no thanks” with a flashy save on John Carlsson. Later on the same powerplay, however, an Ovechkin one timer snuck through Talbot’s body and made its way across the goal line. Between Holden and Sonny Milano, it was difficult to tell who actually scored this one and whether or not this was yet another goal for Ovechkin.
Halfway into the second period, the Sens were trailing 2-1 on the scoreboard and 19 to 6 on the shot clock. While the team added some action, shots and effort towards the end of the second period, they entered the second intermission trailing by one. It didn’t matter how many huge saves Talbot made - of which there were many - the Sens needed to put one behind Kuemper and failed to do so through more than once through 40.
Opening up the final frame, the Sens were afforded a massive opportunity when, on the first shift, they were granted a four minute powerplay on a high sticking call. One of the leagues best units got right back to work and Drake Batherson tied things at two, extending his point streak. Stützle, back in the lineup, recorded an assist on the marker.
Following this goal, the game went back and forth for a bit before Washington turned up the heat and had a number of high danger chances right in front of Talbot. Fortunately for the fans at the Canadian Tire Centre, Talbot continue his incredible play and kept the puck out of the net.
The Sens were able to get this to overtime, ensuring at least one point in the affair. Unfortunately, with the majority of possession for the few minutes, the Capitals ended things with a Marcus Johanson snapshot.
- Cam Talbot was excellent tonight. Through 40 minutes, he was the only reason this game was still 2-1; making a number of ten bell saves in the second period. Oh, and then he did it again in the third. While the Sens weren’t able to secure the win, they still walked away with a point largely due to Talbot’s 0.925 SV%.
- Drake Batherson extended his point streak to 10 games with his powerplay marker today. Batherson has 30 points in 32 games, including 13 over this 10 game streak. Batherson also led his team with a 68 CF%.
- With Tyler Motte and Rourke Chartier leaving the game and Erik Brännström already out with a minor injury, we got to see unfamiliar faces in Nick Holden and Travis Hamonic briefly on the powerplay in the third period. DJ Smith didn’t have many cards to play at that point.
- Tim Stützle played a whopping 27 minutes by the time overtime wrapped up, registering an assist and three shots on goal in the process./