On the cool canvas of the rink, the Ottawa Senators skated into Tuesday’s clash shouldering the weight of consistency, their blades carving echoes of the strong performance they’d left on the same ice just days before. Destined to crest above the .500 watermark, they faced a tempest in the making—the opposing Hurricanes, who themselves were caught in a maelstrom of their recent 4-5-1 turmoil, the storm clouds of their 6-10-0 away game record looming ominously overhead.
The battle commenced with the Senators asserting their physical, solid brand of hockey—a continuation of their previous outing. It was Josh Norris who ignited the spark, lighting the lamp first, channeling a version of himself from seasons past.
However, as the first segment of play drew to a close, the Hurricanes harnessed their powerplay prowess, striking a chord of balance before the teams retreated for intermission. Carolina’s special teams, it would become apparent, had come to play—and play hard.
As if on cue, the Senators’ second-period ghost reappeared, this unwelcome specter allowing the Hurricanes a rapid-fire brace of goals in under two minutes. Another mark in Carolina’s column before the buzzer signaled a 4-1 advantage, a daunting number etched into the intermission’s narrative.
When play resumed, the Senators eyed the fresh sheet of ice with the hope of scripting a comeback. Awarded an early powerplay, they curiously chose a different narrative, letting over ten minutes tick by without the puck kissing the opposing goal. A strategy fraught with anxiety and, frankly, not one I would have endorsed.
Yet, halfway through the closing act, the Senators came alive. With Tkachuk’s one-timer soaring into the fray and Batherson’s feet carving a path for a breakaway, the narrative teased a twist—it flirted with the possibility of heroics. But the fates, or perhaps the adept positioning of the Hurricanes’ netminder, kept the score line static.
Drama peaked under the five-minute mark when officials presented Tkachuk with a penalty shot following an infraction for a “thrown stick.” This crescendoed further as the Senators’ captain found himself ushered away with a ten-minute misconduct, a turn of events that carved deeper valleys into Ottawa’s hopes.
The clock’s hands marched in favor of the inevitable, as sporadic chances bloomed and withered for Ottawa in the waning moments. The Senators and their fans watched the potential for victory fall out of reach, the game slipping through their fingers like so many grains of salt at the center ice dot.
As the final horn reverberated through the arena, the Senators were left to skate back into the underbelly of .500—a place they’ve known all too well this season.
– Those notorious second periods continue to haunt.
– Joonas Korpisalo’s performance belies the stats; his crucial saves in the first twenty kept hope alive, though in vain.
– Josh Norris has rekindled his offensive spark, tallying two goals and an assist over four games, a harbinger of form for the center.
– Claude Giroux, steadfast as December’s star, garners another assist, bringing his monthly total to a glowing four goals and three assists.
– Brady Tkachuk, before his precipitous exit, was relentless both in shots and at the faceoff circle—a model of 100% effort.
– Notably, Giroux, Tkachuk, and Norris departed with positive corsi stats; Stützle held the line, maintaining an even keel.
– The Hurricanes’ powerplay was the blade that cut sharpest, perfect in their execution, while the Senators’ attempts ran aground.
– Ridly Greig’s three penalties spoke of youth and inexperience; discipline must be his lesson, should he seek more time in the spotlight.
– And a word on the fourth line: Kelly, Chartier, and Smejkal—after earning accolades just a day past, found themselves adrift amidst a sea of Carolina chances, the Senators’ fortunes dimming with every shift they skated.