The Vegas Golden Knights held on to win 5-3 against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night amidst a furry of controversy late in the game. With the win, Vegas improves their record to 7-8-1, while Ottawa drops to 6-7-3. Both teams have 15 points in the 2018-19 campaign.

Slow Start for Sens

As sinister as the game ended for Ottawa, it started off innocent enough for both hockey clubs.

From the moment Vegas hit the ice, however, they were the faster team. Ottawa in comparison, did not look as fast as they did against New Jersey in their last game. Rather, they looked flat.

We took too much time to get going on the physical side, and we didn’t have everybody at the emotional level that we needed against them for the first two periods”, observed Senators head coach Guy Boucher after the game. “I felt the first two periods, we played good by spurts, but not enough”.

The Senators were also shot-shy in the first half of the game. On many opportunities, they possessed the puck but failed to get a shot off. It seemed they were opting for the perfect pass, or the perfect play, when really, they needed to test Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. After two periods, Ottawa trailed Vegas on the shot count, 18-28.

The Comeback

It took nearly 40 minutes for Ottawa to get on the scoreboard. By that point, the hockey team from Nevada held a 3-0 lead, with goals from Jonathan Marchessault, Shea Theodore, and Nick Holden.

The Senators comeback was initiated after tough customers Mark Borowiecki and Ryan Reaves dropped the gloves. Without question, the heavy weight tilt had an effect by energizing the crowd and firing up the home team.

Before time ran out in the second, Matt Duchene lit the lamp for Ottawa’s first goal of the night. The Senators momentum carried into the third, when Ryan Dzingel drew the Senators within one. Shortly after that, NHL point leading defenseman, Thomas Chabot, nearly blew the roof off Canadian Tire Centre when he tied it up.

By the third period, we pushed. Some great looks made it 3-3, and to be really honest with you, I thought we were going to take this game”, said Boucher. “We definitely had momentum. Guys were alive. Nobody on this bench going into the third period thought that we weren’t coming back. Everybody thought we were coming back. You could feel it. I think that fourth one, it was our fault, we weren’t strong enough.”

Unfortunately for the Senators, just over a minute after working hard to overcome a three-goal deficit, William Carrier pushed Vegas ahead by one goal, and Sin City took a 4-3 lead.

Controversy Strikes

At exactly 12 minutes into the third period, controversy struck suddenly on the eighth and final goal of the game, which also happened to be the insurance marker for Vegas.

Listen, I don’t know anymore. All of us together, we just don’t know anymore. I just let them decide, and that’s it. Whether it’s our game, or somebody elses game, I guess that’s why I’m not paid for those decisions”, said a defeated Boucher. “I was 100% sure this was going to be goalie interference.

From the Senators perspective, Carrier fell on top of their goalie, giving Craig Anderson zero chance at saving a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare shot. However, from the Vegas perspective, Anderson was at fault because he stuck his leg beyond the crease perimeter, tripping Carrier, who happened to fall on to him as Bellemare shot.

On the play, Boucher rolled his dice and issued a coach’s challenge. After a few minutes of review with Toronto, the NHL ruled in favour of Vegas and the goal was deemed a good goal. As per, “[a]fter reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Referee, the Situation Room determined that Anderson initiated contact with Carrier, who was outside the crease prior to the goal. Therefore no goaltender interference infractions occurred.”

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Upon the ruling being announced, Anderson and the Senators bench went irate, as did the Senators faithful in Canadian Tire Centre. Fans howled an ear-piercing chorus of boos, followed by a loud and united, ‘Ref you suck’ chant that lasted for minutes. The ruling rattled the Senators. It took them most of the remaining time to get refocused. However, by then, it was too late. Vegas had played their last hand and cashed out their two points.

Snap Shots

  • Brady Tkachuk and Borowiecki both returned to the Senators line-up.
  • Chabot now has 22 points (5G, 17A) in 16 games. Impressively, he is tied with Nathan MacKinnon for third in the NHL for points, only two behind Connor McDavid, who leads the NHL in this category.
  • The infamously terrible Ottawa penalty kill was an abysmal 0-2 this game.
  • Oddly enough, Ottawa has suffered two abnormal losses to Vegas this season. The controversial no goaltender interference call this game is in addition to the rare overtime penalty shot loss in Vegas on October 28.

Official 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Vegas (1G, 1A, 3 Shots)
  2. Thomas Chabot, Ottawa (1G, 1A, 5 Shots)
  3. Johnathan Marchessault, Vegas (1G, 5 Shots)

Up Next

The Senators are away on a two-game road trip through the State of Florida. They take on the Tampa Bay Lightning this Saturday, their second match-up against the first-place NHL team this week. The Bolts defeated the Sens 4-3 in overtime last Sunday.

Scoring Summary

Period Team Score Time Goal Assists
1 Vegas [PPG] 1-0 15:26 Jonathan Marchessault (7) Colin Miller (3), Alex Tuch (3)
1 Vegas [PPG] 2-0 19:40 Shea Theodore (2) William Karlsson (8), Brad Hunt (2)
2 Vegas 3-0 17:21 Nick Holden (1) Cody Eakin (2), Alex Tuch (4)
2 Ottawa 3-1 17:50 Matt Duchene (5) Thomas Chabot (17), Mark Stone (13)
3 Ottawa 3-2 6:57 Ryan Dzingel (7) Mark Borowiecki (1), Chris Tierney (13)
3 Ottawa 3-3 8:01 Thomas Chabot (5) Unassisted.
3 Vegas 4-3 9:16 William Carrier (2) Unassisted.
3 Vegas 5-3 12:00 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (3) Colin Miller (4)

Cover Photo Credit: Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.

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