The Ottawa Senators and their fans came into this afternoon’s game feeling the best they have all season, as their 3-game winning streak was the longest they have had since November 2019. They were hoping to keep that momentum going, as their 5-2-0 record in the past seven games had shown a completely different team compared to the first 15 games.
It was quite the ugly start though, as Juuso Valimaki put the Flames up 1-0 just 4 minutes in. Johnny Gaudreau danced around multiple Senators as he curled into the offensive zone, and Valimaki came streaking in on the far side. Gaudreau’s saucer pass was laid off perfectly to Valimaki, and he scored the opening goal. Just 47 seconds later, the Senators looked completely deflated...
Andrew Mangiapane (easily one of the best names in the NHL) came down on the left side, and Erik Gudbranson took a brief stumble. That stumble allowed Mangiapane to lay it off to Mikael Backlund a few feet away, and Backlund was able to score off the post and in, as Matt Murray seemed to be caught a bit off guard. In response to the slow 0-2 start, Austin Watson took on Milan Lucic on the very next faceoff, although it didn’t quite go as planned:
You would’ve hoped that the Senators would respond to that in some sort of way, but Calgary immediately went on the powerplay after a Thomas Chabot holding the stick penalty. The Flames were unable to convert, but with 9 minutes to play, Elias Lindholm added another goal to their lead on a confusing shot from the left side that I think Murray thought was going elsewhere. Josh Norris attempted to chip the puck to the boards but Lindholm was right there to intercept it, and his immediate release must have been jarring considering Murray’s reaction afterwards. The 3-0 deficit early on was quite different than the last several games.
Ottawa wasn’t going to go away quietly though, as Drake Batherson was able to extend his goal streak to five games thanks to a Murray save followed up by a powerplay top-corner snipe:
After 20, it was 3-1 for Calgary, with Ottawa showing some life at the end.
Just under 4 minutes into the second period, Nikita Zaitsev took a holding penalty, which ended up leading to the Flames taking back their 3-goal lead. Chris Tierney was unable to clear the puck on the right side of the defensive zone, and just like their third goal, Calgary’s Sean Monahan immediately scored after taking the puck. At 4-1 early in the second period, the game was far from over, especially considering Ottawa’s solid play of late.
Ottawa would go on the powerplay with 11:36 to go, and Evgenii Dadonov was close to making it a 4-2 game. However, just moments after Gord Miller declared that Calgary as a team had never scored a short-handed goal against Ottawa, Mangiapane broke that record and scored his own first career short-handed goal. Thomas Chabot was left alone on a 2-on-1 against, although Tim Stützle and Drake Batherson were able to get back in time. However, both of them peeled away too soon and weren’t there to get the rebound, which led to an easy tap-in for Mangiapane. At 5-1, it was the ultimate “Sens Sicko” deficit.
The Senators were still on the powerplay, and Colin White was able to get the deficit back down to three after a wrist shot off the faceoff went in:
Once again, it seemed like a game within striking distance considering there was about half the game left.
Unfortunately, the Flames had other plans. Calgary didn’t want things to get any closer, and Matthew Tkachuk was able to perfectly deflect a puck in front of Murray right after Stützle failed to clear the zone. It was a shift that was too long for Stützle, and they paid for it. After 40, the Flames were in control at 6-2.
The final frame saw Joey Daccord make his season debut, as there was really no point in giving Murray more ice-time in a lost game. There wasn’t too much action in the third period, although Brady Tkachuk scored his sixth goal in seven games with 10:00 minutes to play on the powerplay. With assists from Batherson and Chabot, it’s always nice when players you care about get on the scoresheet, even if the game is out of reach.
An immediate powerplay after that made things a bit interesting, but unfortunately nothing came of it. With the 6-3 loss, Ottawa’s extremely long 3-game winning streak came to an end.
Despite the loss, let’s take a moment to talk about how sweet this looks:
- It was another ugly game for Murray. I feel bad because I haven’t recapped a single Senators win this season, and I feel like Murray plays poorly every time too. Not all of them were his fault of course (as with any game), but he couldn’t make the saves when Ottawa needed them. He’s had a few good games recently, but he still needs to be better.
- Joey Daccord only saw 5 shots in the 3rd period and he stopped all 5. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t play Monday or Tuesday, and perhaps he’ll get a longer leash if he starts out well.
- I’m loving the Stützle/Batherson connection, and I’d love to see Tim play centre with Brady Tkachuk on the left side for that trio. We know they want to play Stützle at centre later this season, but why not try it now?
- Thomas Chabot has 12 minor penalties this season and 24 PIMs in 20 games. For reference, his PIM totals in his first three seasons were 14, 32, 42, so he’s taking way more penalties than he usually does. He needs to be more disciplined.
- Despite Calgary having a healthy lead for the entire game, there weren’t many score effects today, as the 5v5 shot attempts per period were 14-25, 14-21, and 15-10. Ottawa had been doing decently well in terms of shot and expected goals recently, so it was surprising to see that the 3rd period was the only one where they turned it on a bit, even though they were down much earlier than that.
- Colin White’s goal today puts him up to 3 goals in 2 games and 10 points in 19 games overall. Hard to believe he was scratched four times in six games.
- Drake Batherson is up to 15 points in 23 games, on pace for 53 in a full season.
- As Gord Miller said on TSN, today was the first time this season the Senators have scored 3 goals on the powerplay (and of course it was their only goals). Although they haven’t produced much overall, their puck movement looks better, especially when guys like Stepan and Anisimov aren’t on the first unit. /
The Senators finish their 3-game set against the Flames on Monday, with puck drop at 7:00 EST.