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For just the 4th time this season, Ottawa actually won a game on the road. Granted, it was against one of the worst teams in the league in the Detroit Red Wings, but a win is a win.
Here are some thoughts from tonight's game:
---Tom Pyatt was a healthy scratch tonight. Yes, you read that correctly. I had been talking about the fact that Pyatt had never been a healthy scratch as an Ottawa Senator (and missed only one due to illness), but today that changed. Obviously one game is an incredibly small sample and correlation does not equal causation, but...Ottawa played a pretty solid game tonight, especially defensively. I wonder how Boucher will deploy him in the future.
---The 4-2 win was impressive enough, but what was also nice to see was that for just the fourth time this season (!), Ottawa allowed fewer than 30 shots on goal, with 28. Considering who is out of their lineup right now, that is quite impressive. 28 shots is what you expect in a normal game, but for the Senators, that is well above average. The shot map looks good too, as Ottawa was able to get more quality scoring chances:
---The Senators also won the possession battle at 50-47 at 5v5, which is just the fifth time that has happened this season.
---Brady Tkachuk was held pointless for the eighth straight game, and this stretch is occurring immediately after people began to talk about him winning the Calder trophy. Not great timing for him, but at the same time, he also registered three high-danger scoring chances, the only player on the team with more than one. He is getting some chances, and the points will come.
---Thomas Chabot leaped over Morgan Reilly for the league lead amongst defensemen in points with 34. Not too chabby.
---Ottawa has to lead the league in reviews going against them. They have to. I don't think Mark Stone's disallowed goal went in, but it's just incredible how many times calls have gone against them this season. Sometimes they are valid, and sometimes they aren't. Even the valid ones are frustrating though because it seems like they aren't getting any calls the other way to balance things out. Luckily for Stone, he scored the game-winning goal later in the game anyway because of course he did.
---Nick Paul played only 6:24 tonight as there were only 11 forwards. He's played surprisingly well on the 4th line, but he isn't being given much rope.
---Chris Tierney potted two goals tonight, which finally got him to five on the season. He has 17 assists already though, and his 22 points in 33 games is surely good enough to surpass his career high in points of 40 from last season.
---Ben Harpur can really throw down in a fight. We know that he is an incredibly strong player, and Michael Rasmussen probably regrets going after him after Harpur's initial hit:
We can talk about how tough he is, and that's fine, he has earned that reputation. What frustrates me though is that people will use that fight as evidence that he is a good defenseman or that he "cares" more or that he is a good leader. I'm not in the dressing room every day, and maybe he does care more and is a good leader! But I know that his ability to win fights is going to be a reason why people like him, even though that has nothing to do with his on-ice results. If you can separate those two things, that's fine, you're allowed to like fighting. But just don't fawn over his ability to defend
simply because he can knock somebody out. TSN analyst Dave Poulin seems unable to grasp that concept.
---Unrelated to the game tonight, but bad news for Senators fans, as Alex Formenton was ruled out of the World Juniors for Team Canada after suffering a leg injury, and Jacob Bernard-Docker was amongst one of the final cuts. So there won't be any Senators prospect to watch on Canada, but Josh Norris will certainly be someone to watch on the United States.
---Let's finish this off with some Christmas spirit!