The Senators woes continue as their losing streak hits a season worst seven games.
Despite a strong opening period where they took the lead, they couldn’t maintain that into the second period. Quickly, the Wild tied it and the Senators found themselves in the penalty box twice early in the period. The home team couldn’t overcome the momentum swing of the second period, despite a bounce back effort in the third.
Codi Ceci would pinch in and putting the puck on net leading to a Mark Stone deflection past Devan Dubnyk, to pull the Senators back within a goal with just under 10 minutes on the clock.
Their best chance to even the score was a mad scramble when Dubnyk left the net to play the puck. Despite utter chaos in the Wild crease, no Senator could shovel the puck in with two Wild defenders, Dubnyk, and Senator Chris Tierney in the pile as well.
The Senators tried to generate some momentum to start the third period. But their puck possession didn’t translate to shots and breakdowns in the defensive zone would prove costly. Zach Parise would be the beneficiary of sloppy play and missed defensive assignments as he took the rebound from Charlie Coyle alone in front and put it over top of Andres Nilsson’s outstretched glove, giving Minnesota a two goal lead at the six minute mark of the third period.
Wild set the tone early in the second
Jared Spurgeon would make the most of an early chance and even up the score to start the second period. Spurgeon’s goal came just 41 seconds after the puck dropped to start the second. The Senators seem to let the wild establish themselves offensively, fears of a period getting away from them after an early goal and two penalties crept in. But they would kill both penalties and fought their way back into the period.
Ryan Dzingel would put the Sens back in front with sixteenth on the season at 8:08 after the Senators kill the penalty to Bobby Ryan, who assisted on goal for holding. Colin White had a grade ‘A’ chance halfway through the second on a partial break, forcing Dubnyk to make a big save, keeping it a one goal game.
The Wild would tie the game just after the fourteen-minute mark on a scramble play in front of Nilsson. Ottawa’s goaltender made the initial save on the play, but Jordan Greenway would slide it past Nilsson, for his seventh of the season, as both teams collapsed in front the Senators net.
Nilsson would give up his third of the period on a bad-angle shot from Jared Sturgeon, his second of the night, that would squeeze through on the far side. Nilsson was very much par for the course when compared to his teammates in the second, with early penalty trouble and giving up three goals, the Senators very much invited the Wild back into game after they had set the tone in the first.
Duchene responds after penalty
Matt Duchene would get called for hooking late in the first period, a call he clearly disagreed as evident by the banging stick on the glass from inside the box. Upon his penalty expiring he curled at the blueline and receives a pass from Zach Smith. Fighting off two defenders through the neutral zone, as he gains control of the puck Dubnyk charges out from the Wild goal to challenge, but Duchene would pull the puck around him and tuck it into an empty net.
The first period started with a strong performance right from the opening draw, with five shots in the first five minutes of the opening frame – matching their total from the entire first period against the Canucks on Wednesday. Ottawa continued to control puck possession throughout the period playing with discipline while establishing a cycle down low in the Wild zone.
There is no doubt amongst fans that Ottawa’s goaltending situation has been less than ideal this year, as Nilsson. The first period saw Nilsson face minimal action, while the second had him fighting the puck from the opening draw. Even with his key saves that period, he never seemed to establish himself. It can be very difficult when a goalie isn’t engaged in a game early on, but that is no excuse.
The first three goals against Nilsson were saves he needed to make. The fourth goal left him with no chance, he made the initial save when Charlie Coyle was alone left in front, the round found its way to Zach Parise who, with time and space, put it in over a sprawling Nilsson. Overall the performance from Nilsson was underwhelming, though he did battle to keep his team in the game. Nilsson would probably be the first to admit he wanted three of the goals against him tonight back again.