The Ottawa Senators played their second straight game tonight against the Vancouver Canucks after a tough 3-2 overtime loss on Monday night. This St. Patrick’s Day game provided us with an interesting match up. These are two young teams that are trying to find a way to make their mark in a competitive Northern Division. Although they are in similar situations, this Senators team has yet to crack two points over the Canucks this season.
By Tyler McIsaac
Between the pipes tonight, Ottawa opted to go with the rookie, Joey Daccord whereas Vancouver continued to ride the hot hand in Thatcher Demko. Demko’s campaign this year has been one of the more prominent narratives this season seeing as he has won six of his last seven starts. Ottawa goaltender, Matt Murray was still unavailable tonight with an upper body injury and remains day-to-day. Vancouver is without their franchise player, Elias Pettersson. He has also been sidelined since March 2nd after suffering an upper body injury and did not travel with the team as a result. While Ottawa has been enduring some tough losses, this young Senators team has shown a lot of promise in its youth with strong campaigns from Tim Stützle, Drake Batherson and of course, Brady Tkachuk.
At just over 2 minutes into the opening period, Vancouver found themselves on the score sheet after a costly giveaway by the Sens. Brock Boeser scored his fifteenth of the season after a quick feed from Canucks captain, Bo Horvat. Ottawa tried to respond but Demko continued his strong play in the Vancouver net. With 11:34 left in the first, the Canucks tallied their second of the night. After a questionable sequence between Nils Höglander and Thomas Chabot, Höglander was able to carry the puck up the ice and dish it to Bo Horvat for his thirteenth of the year. With just under 3 minutes left in the first, Ottawa found themselves on the power play after a holding call against Canucks defenceman, Jordie Benn. They were unable convert but ended the period throwing everything they could on net finishing with a 9-7 shot advantage over Vancouver and trailed at 2-0.
Early in the second period, the Senators gave themselves some life after making it a one goal game. A cross ice pass led to a rush where Ryan Dzingel found a rebound to beat a vulnerable Demko for his sixth of the season and making it 2-1. Clark Bishop and Christian Wolanin were credited with the assists. Both teams continued to exchange quality chances in each others zones with Vancouver maintaining their one goal lead. At just over the halfway mark in the game, Ottawa went on the penalty kill after a tripping penalty taken by defenceman, Erik Gudbranson. Not only were the Senators able to kill off the penalty but with just over six minutes left, Drake Batherson came close to finding the equalizer on a breakaway chance. After coming up short, the Senators would finish the period on the attack when Canucks defender, Quinn Hughes went to the box for a hooking call. Although the Senators couldn’t convert, they once again finished the period with the shot advantage (22-20) and still trailing by one.
In the third period, Ottawa’s goalie tandem suffered another blow after Joey Daccord went down with what appeared to be a lower body injury. In relief for the injured rookie, Filip Gustavsson went in for his NHL debut. Shortly after Daccords exit, the Senators were able to tie the game at 2-2 with Josh Norris scoring his seventh of the season. Tkachuk and Zaitsev assisted on the play. With the game now tied, both teams stayed on the attack keeping their shot totals close. After a tripping call against Dzingel with just under 9 minutes left to play, the Senators went on the penalty kill once more. Luckily they killed off the penalty and avoided the box for the remainder of the period. With neither team scoring in the closing minutes, the Senators and Canucks found themselves heading into overtime yet again.
Ottawa controlled the puck for approximately half of the overtime period but were unable to convert. When the Canucks finally regained control, Brock Boeser came close to scoring his second of the night but instead deflected off the post. In the final minute of overtime, Ottawa turned up the pressure and tried to create a 2-on-1 rush but unfortunately, the play was called offside. That did not stop Brady Tkachuk from trying to get one more quality opportunity but Demko ensured this one was heading to a shootout.
After a hard fought regulation and overtime period between both teams, it was only fitting that this game would result in a shootout. Filip Gustavsson and Thatcher Demko put on quite the shootout performance. After the first 3 rounds, neither goalie allowed any shots to get past their crease. This game would demand a round 4 for us to see a victor. After scoring for his team tonight, Dzingel was selected to shoot fourth for Ottawa but was unable to beat Demko. The Canucks opted to go with their forward, Adam Gaudette for the fourth round. When Gaudette came up with the puck, he was just able to trickle a shot through Gustavsson and secured Vancouver’s third straight win with a final score of 3-2.
Despite the loss, Ottawa still managed to walk away from tonight with a point. On an even more positive note, rookie netminder Filip Gustavsson showed strong promise by keeping Ottawa in this one. With the Senators unfortunate luck with injuries in net, they will need to see this type of play continue from their backup goalies if they hope to move forward. The Senators will resume action on Monday night when they host the Calgary Flames. Catch them at 7:00 P.M. Eastern Time for what is sure to be another well fought battle.