Sens Streak Stalled in St. Paul

Ottawa's win streak comes to an end in a loss to the Wild.

Sens Streak Stalled in St. Paul
Photo by Matthew Henry / Unsplash

One team was focused on chasing the playoffs, while the other was looking to what they can put in place to be prepared for puck drop in October. Tonight, the Ottawa Senators visited the Minnesota Wild for a dance between two teams that have underperformed pre-season expectations.

The good news for fans of the Senators is that I would say they were, inarguably, the better team in the first period. The bad news, of course, is the only puck to cross the line in the opening frame happened to go behind Joonas Korpisalo. The Sens were strong at even strength, handily winning the battle on the spreadsheets and on the shot clock. Unfortunately a long cross crease pass made its way perfectly onto the stick of Mason Shaw at the 12 minute mark, giving the Wild the 1-0 lead after 20. The goal was against the run of play, and credit to Minnesota for executing, but the transition defense from the Sens left something to be desired.

It was a tough start to the second period for Ottawa, as well, as Minnesota scored on just their sixth shot of the game. The Senators, however, got right back to work. While they weren't scoring goals, they continued to carry a lot of the play. On a penalty drawn by Tim Stützle streaking through the middle of the offensive zone, Drake Batherson nabbed his 27th goal of the year. Talk about some excellent powerplay work from the top unit.

The Sens dominated shots and chances in the second frame as well but still trailed 2-1 after two.

The final stanza began with a powerplay for each team and, while the Wild were unsuccessful, Ottawa's hard work paid off when Jakob Chychrun was the final piece of a beautiful tic tac toe with Batherson and Stützle.

Later in the third, Kirill Kaprizov thought he should have had the go ahead goal - and, well, he was probably right - but the official blew the whistle when he lost sight of the puck. Since there's nothing that can be done to reverse that early whistle, the no-goal call stood. Unfortunately for the Senators, Minnesota ended up grabbing that 3-2 lead only a few minutes later on a truly bizarre sequence that started with a Shane Pinto whiff on a pass, continued with Erik Brännström falling over, and culminated in Batherson literally throwing the puck to a wide open Wild player who calmly tucked it into the net.

In the dying seconds of the period, the Sens made one last valiant effort to even things up. With the net empty, the team cleanly dished the puck around Minnesota's perimeter, firing shots on net and getting high quality chances along the way. That effort was not rewarded and the Wild took this one 3-2.

Game Notes

  • Brady Tkachuk's second period assist brought the captain to 14 points in his last 9 games. After a mild slump, the Tkaptain is back in a big way.
  • Batherson kept his streak of solid offensive contribution up as well, with his goal and assist bringing him to 9 points in his last 6 games.
  • Korpisalo came back down to earth after four really solid starts in a row. The netminder once again allowed a goal on the second shot he faced, continuing a trend that has haunted the Sens much of the year. Through the remainder of the game, Korpisalo picked up his play and gave his team a chance to win with some timely saves but the final tally of three conceded on 20 shots will be tough to swallow.
  • Angus Crookshank ended up playing just over three minutes before leaving the game with a lower body injury. He didn't return, his status is currently unclear.
  • It's frustrating to have a team win the shot battle at even strength and go two for three on the powerplay but still lose the game.
  • I'd argue that this was a noticeably poor game for Shane Pinto. A player who has been incredible, particularly after missing 41 games, Pinto wasn't on it tonight.
  • I thought the pairing of Brännström and Tyler Kleven played their roles near perfectly tonight. They moved the puck swiftly, didn't force any errors and, overall, had a strong third pairing night. You can quibble with the final goal against, but hard to pin anything at either of their feet aside from it.

Game Flow

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