Ten players ejected at once as Panthers pounce on Senators with shutout rout
In a penalty-filled game that was highlighted by 10 players getting simultaneous game misconducts in the third period, the Senators showed their lack of maturity and discipline.
While the Senators hadn’t looked very impressive in the first 40 minutes and trailed 3-0, there was plenty of time to turn things around in the third until Zack MacEwen took a match penalty at the five-minute mark for going after Matthew Tkachuk.
From that point on there were a multitude of penalties, including Jake Sanderson dropping the gloves with Tkachuk.
Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk was in the middle of things as well and was largely responsible for the scrum that led to the misconducts.
“I mean, I don't think it's bad to play with emotion,” said Tkachuk. “I think, when this group plays with emotion we’re a tough team to beat and I think we rely on our emotion and it shows that we care, shows that we care about what we're doing here and about the guy next to us.”
Senators head coach D.J. Smith didn’t disagree when asked if he felt his team showed a lack of maturity on this night.
“Yeah, yeah, that’s fair,” said Smith. “You know, I just thought at 3-0 we came up with some really good shifts. We were aggressive. We were, you know, in the game, lots of game left and then we take a five-minute major and that takes you right out of the game.”
Watching the unravelling of his team in the third was disheartening for Smith.
“As the head coach you realize you're throwing away an opportunity,” he said. “You have to just keep playing. And, you know, I don't know what went on between periods. We came out, I thought ready, and then you know that final whatever it was, after we took the five-minute major you don't give yourself a chance to win and you can't play like that in the NHL.”
From the start the Panthers looked like a team determined to win.
Sam Reinhart scored his first of two on the power play just 88 seconds into the game.
Ottawa had the perfect opportunity to respond when Reinhart was assessed a double minor for catching Tim Stutzle with a high stick, but Ottawa managed just one shot on goal.
The second wasn’t much better for Ottawa.
The Senators failed to record a shot on goal on an early power play and forced Joonas Korpisalo, who stopped 33 shots, to make a couple of big saves.
Korpisalo was beat by Reinhart, with a wraparound goal, after trying to clear the puck behind the net on the power play to make it 2-0.
The Senators challenged the goal for being offside, but after a lengthy review it was deemed onside and Sam Bennett went on to make it 3-0 on the ensuing power play.
“The first few special teams put us in a good position,” said Reinhart. “We came out with a playoff mentality, trying to get our power play going a little bit.”
The win allowed the Panthers (13-7-1) to snap a two-game losing skid as they kicked off three straight road games within the division.
“It’s good that our power play, our special teams, in the end, won us the game,” said Panthers coach Paul Maurice. “Our goaltender made a couple of saves that he had to make to keep it right. But our penalty kill was as good as our power play tonight and that won us the game.”
This game was meant to be a measuring stick for the Senators and they failed to meet the challenge.
“We definitely fell tonight,” said Ottawa’s Claude Giroux. “But saying that, you know, sometimes the best way to learn is to fail really big so we can lose 3-2 and not learn from it. But you know, we lose the way we did (Monday) and we have to learn from it.
"So, we're gonna stick together here. There's no doubt we're gonna come out and play hard on Friday. I think that’s when our next game is and, you know, we're going to stick together no matter what here, so I'm not worried about that.”
The Senators head to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets Friday night. The Panthers are back in action Tuesday against Toronto.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2023.