The Senators are in a rebuild year and have only won three games in their last 20. They’re third from the bottom in the league and 23 points out of a playoff spot. Not technically mathematically eliminated, but certainly close.
Of course, those who watch the Dallas Stars know not to get too comfortable when told the odds. A game they’re expected to win seems to (at least recently) be the kind of game they’re sure to lose.
The Stars have Jason Robertson, newly brought up from the AHL back in the lineup tonight as Justin Dowling and Alexander Radulov are again unavailable due to injury. Andrej Sekera took a seat tonight in favor of Roman Polak.
Less than three minutes into the game, the Senators had five shots on goal to the Stars’ zero. Given that the Senators aren’t very good this year and are currently seeking to rebuild with a high draft pick, this was less than ideal for the Stars. However, the Stars did draw first blood a few seconds past the three-minute mark when John Klingberg took a shot from the top of the zone.
No need to ask how. Just be happy— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) February 16, 2020
Klingberg fires one towards the net, the puck pinballs off of some skates, and finds its way in! Just like that, the @DallasStars grab an early 1-0 lead! #GoStars | : FSSW pic.twitter.com/ThmkL2S192
This bounced off a few Senators players on its way in with no way for Craig Anderson to track it.
Jamie Benn scored while backing into Anderson, who he ended up butt-checking in the head. The goal was waived and Benn ended up in the penalty box for goaltender interference. While Josh Bogorad was talking about the fact that the Senators currently have the 29th ranked power play in a league of 31, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored on a tic-tac-toe in front of the net.
Shot count: at eight minutes in, the shots were 11-4 in favor of the Senators.
The next 10 minutes weren’t very exciting. For all that this was a high-event period, the overwhelming majority of the shots were taken from the top of the zone, and this was true for both teams. They both played last night, the Stars in Montreal and the Senators at home against Toronto. So both teams were playing tired but only one team is currently on the road.
Thus, all of the energy in the first was really on the side of the Ottawa Senators. A little over 18 minutes in, the Senators got the puck out of the corner and cycled it through the zone. Anton Khudobin, historically rather good against the Senators, bit hard to the left on the puck. When it rebounded, Stephen Johns and Miro Heiskanen were facing the net. Heiskanen turned around in time for Brady Tkachuk to slam the puck into the empty net behind him.
However, 30 seconds later when the play had returned to a face-off in the Ottawa zone, Tyler Seguin won the face-off, Heiskanen got the puck to the top of the zone and found Johns there with an open lane in front of him.
It really is good to have Johns back.
The shots ended 12 to 19 in the first.
At 45 seconds into the period, Corey Perry took a tripping penalty against Brady Tkachuk, who took an offsetting embellishment minor. No one scored in 4-on-4.
Other than those moments of excitement, the rest of the second was a lot of the Senators fighting themselves and the Stars trying to keep up. While the Stars did break up some scoring attempts, the Senators were mostly the victims of their own misses, or the game would have been lopsided by the end of the second.
The shots were still lopsided but not by as much, ending the period 33-23 in favor of Ottawa. The Stars took 11 shots in the second, the Senators 14.
Thirty-nine seconds into the period, Khudobin took an interference penalty against Tkachuk. The Senators didn’t make anything of the man-advantage and only got one shot on goal in the two minutes.
A little under halfway through the third, Tyler Ennis picked up a loose puck on a rebound and scored around Khudobin to get the go-ahead goal.
Tyler Seguin, who recently finally kicked his goal drought, hit two posts in quick succession in an attempt to tie. Several minutes later, Jamie Oleksiak missed on two close-in shots on a wide-open net.
Thankfully, Joe Pavelski was available to save the day.
Despite some desperate chances on both sides (including a breakaway from Anthony Duclair that ended on Khudobin’s right leg), this game needed extra time for a decision.
Overtime was more of regular time, only with fewer players on the ice: low-event due to fewer players but still kind of sloppy. It ended on a shot from Artem Anisimov for the 46th shot on goal for the Ottawa Senators tonight.
Still, the Stars got another important point in this race to the playoffs. The St. Louis Blues lost to the Nashville Predators tonight, and the Stars have tied them in points. The Blues still hold the top spot.
The Stars will be back in Dallas, facing off against the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night.