Forsberg stops 39 shots as Senators beat Kraken
OTTAWA — Things haven’t gone as well for Anton Forsberg as he would like this season, but Saturday night the Ottawa Senators goaltender was at his finest stopping 39 shots in a 2-0 NHL victory over the Seattle Kraken.
Coming into the game Forsberg was last in the league among goaltenders who had played at least one game with an .850 save percentage.
“It’s been tough,” admitted Forsberg. “It’s been a lot of ups and downs, obviously. Some good games, some bad games. I’ve got to find consistency, the whole team’s got to find some consistency. We’ve got to win games on a more regular basis here.”
Forsberg is absolutely right in saying there is still plenty of room for improvement from the team.
Mathieu Joseph and Drake Batherson each scored, but the power play was 0-for-3 on the night and once again the Senators had a slow start to the second period. But in the end they played well enough to pick up the win, a rarity of late on home ice.
Ottawa has only won twice in its last nine at Canadian Tire Centre.
The Kraken (8-11-6) didn’t play poorly, but two mistakes were the difference in the game.
The Senators opened the scoring late in the first after Matty Beniers lost an edge and lost the puck. Joseph was in front to pick it up and beat Joey D’Accord — who made 26 saves — for his fifth of the season.
Ottawa made it 2-0 midway through the second after D’Accord went to play the puck behind the net, but a miscommunication allowed Vladimir Tarasenko to pick it up, feed Tim Stutzle who passed to a wide-open Batherson.
Stutzle picked up his 200th career point on the play.
“The rim came and it just hit my stick and bounced in the air and took a really bad bounce,” said D’Accord. “I was trying to corral it and couldn’t corral it and saw (defenceman Will Borgen) coming so I thought he was coming to pick it up and had a bit of miscommunication. He thought I was going to play it, I thought he was going to pick it up and they capitalize. We’ll clean that up and I’ll be better for it.”
The Kraken have lost their last four (0-3-1) and aren’t taking much satisfaction in moral victories these days.
“We’re here to get two points so we’re not really trying to win the game of positives, negatives,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. “We’re trying to win a hockey game.”
Seeing his team stick together was a positive for D.J. Smith, who’s team came in having lost its last three.
“I just thought we stuck with it, blocked a lot of shots,” said Smith. “Obviously, goaltending was a big difference here tonight for us. Penalty kill got a couple of good kills. I thought we got a lot of contributions from a lot of guys away from the puck.”
Trailing 2-0 to start the third the Kraken did their best to get on the scoresheet outshooting the Senators 15-3 in the period, but failed to capitalize on two power-play chances. Forsberg also came up with a number of key saves.
“Capping that off with a win, I think, was big for our group,” said Stutzle. “I think we played pretty well for 60 minutes. I think we could have scored more goals, and our (defencemen) did a heck of a job there blocking every shot, even in the last 10 seconds (Erik Brannstrom) ate one and that shows our commitment.”
The challenge for the Senators is whether they can build off this victory with three games this week.
Ottawa had a brief scare when Thomas Chabot went down hard and left the ice favouring his right leg, but the defenceman returned after a brief absence.
Ottawa’s Matthew Highmore was a healthy scratch. … Seattle’s Brandon Tanev returned to the lineup after missing the last two games. … Justin Schultz played in his 700th NHL game. … Jaden Schwartz is dealing with an upper-body injury and is expected to be out for approximately six weeks.
Senators: Host the New York Rangers Tuesday night.
Kraken: Travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens Monday night.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2023.