Ottawa’s brutal 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers will be one of the most painful losses of their start to the season. The Senators were cruising in this game, leading 2-0 late and in total control with goaltender Matt Murray playing “the lights out” as Nick Paul described it.
But in the final six minutes of the third period, the Rangers scored a power-play goal from Chris Kreider to return to the game and lost Murray to an apparent head injury as Kreider’s knee suffered. bumped into Murray as the goalie was lying down trying to make the save.
Anton Forsberg arrived cold on the bench and the Rangers hit him for two goals on three shots to win the game. In addition to the insult and injury, Kreider won the match.
“We go on playing for 54 minutes and make a few bad plays, and we end up losing a game that you shouldn’t lose,” said coach DJ Smith.
The Senators and the over 11,000 fans in the building let the Canadian Tire Center sting for three things:
- Murray’s injury. There has been no update on his condition, but he has a history of concussions. Hopefully he can bounce back as Murray was at his best, stopping 22 of 23 shots, including a couple of spectacular saves.
- A beautification call to winger Tim Stützle, during a trip by Jacob Trouba at 3:22 p.m. of the third, when Trouba’s stick was right between Stützle’s legs and was left lying on the ice as evidence. It nullified the Senators’ man advantage and changed the course of the period.
- A Nick Paul bout in the third period that kept key Ottawa center (with injured Shane Pinto) out of the ice for several key minutes, including around New York’s opening goal.
“It’s a game we should have had,” said Paul. “We didn’t have the best third and let the momentum wobble. But we have to have that, to be mature as a team – including myself.
“I’m a third period guy, I drive the pucks deep, I block the shots, I can’t drop the gloves (with Sammy Blais) and let my emotions get the best of me. This is not a good play from me.
For a player who has yet to score a goal this season, Stützle continues to make his presence felt. By clever, shake and bake in the oven. And few delays to create space. And by advancing in forward leaks which lead the teams to draw penalties on him.
Stützle had his fingerprints all over that game the Senators let slip away.
The second-year NHL player was visibly upset by the result, and especially by the beautification call, which he approached with maturity in his post-game availability.
Both Smith and Stützle said there had been no warning from officials that the winger was going down too easily or that they were watching him for dives.
“I mean, they’re probably going to see him again,” Stützle said. “Maybe they will think differently afterwards, and it would have been a lot better for us as we had a power play (on the tripping call to Trouba). But we cannot change it.
“I was obviously not happy with the call, but. . . people will make mistakes. I don’t know now what they think, but it probably cost us the game.
As Smith said, “Timmy went two on one and we have a chance to score. “
In other words, why the hell would he come down on purpose?
“So it’s a tough game for us,” Smith said.
In the first minute of play, after the Rangers took control of the Senators’ side, Stützle exploded on the left wing to create a chance that would not have been available to most players. After crossing the New York blue line, he passed a pass to Paul who beat Alex Georgiev high on the glove side for a goal that held up for most of the game.
Stützle, who now has two assists but no goals in five games, saw the Rangers take penalties as they stretched, grabbed and tripped No.18 in an attempt to slow him down.
The 19-year-old continues to wow fans and his teammates, and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out. Not that Stützle was in the mood for the good sides after that tough loss.
“We all played pretty well today on our line,” said Stützle, after playing alongside Paul and Connor Brown. “We played against (Artemi) Panarin, Kreider and (Mika) Zibanejad all night. I think we played pretty well, we slowed them down all night. In the end, it’s just like that right now.
Smith called Stützle the best player on the ice in Thursday’s game against San Jose, a 2-1 loss to Ottawa.
“He’s dangerous, he just has to stick with it. The dam will break and he will have a bucket full of it. “
FEEL SEEING NEW OPPONENTS
For a team that played most of its early season games at home, the Senators have had a good tour of the NHL so far.
When the Rangers hit town for a Saturday morning, that meant the Senators had already faced opponents from both conferences and the four divisions in their first five games.
After playing their first two games against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Senators faced three opponents from the United States, with a fourth over the Washington Capitals on Monday.
This is a big change from a year ago, when Ottawa faced only the North Division, opponents based in Canada during the pandemic.
Smith enjoys the opportunity to play against a wide range of styles and teams, including opening games against opponents from the Western United States such as Dallas and San Jose.
“The western teams are physical,” said Smith. “They play north-south, they type, they work.
“We haven’t yet faced a team where there is a lot of room there. We are starting to get used to the difficulty of the NHL.
Saturday was yet another example of tight defensive play and little leeway for either team. Ottawa dominated New York 28-26.
After those quick two games against the Leafs, the Senators won’t face another Atlantic Division rival until Nov. 6, with the Tampa Bay Lightning in town. Ottawa only has one more divisional game in November: the Boston Bruins on November 9.
Veteran winger Connor Brown said the players look a lot like fans when they want to see a variety of teams. He remarked that he was playing against an “older and bigger” team like the Dallas Stars – last week and again next week:
“I like playing with a new team, something different,” said Brown. “I think they play a different style of play than we faced in the North last year, so it was good, the way our game held up against them. It has been a long time since we played a lot of teams in this league.
PINTO NEEDS TIME TO HEAL
There was good news and bad news regarding rookie center Shane Pinto. While there is no sign of structural shoulder damage he injured against San Jose, Pinto did not play on Saturday, will abstain against Washington on Monday and will likely not join his teammates in the event. of a road trip that begins in Dallas next Friday.