It was a night to remember for Drake Batherson, as he scored his first NHL goal. It also happened to be the game winner…in his first NHL game. Using his tally, the Ottawa Senators put a halt to the Detroit Red Wings four-game win streak, defeating them 2-1 on Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
“We knew this was a fast team, a hot team in our league. We were ready for it. The guys did a good job. I really like the fact that it was 2-1 and it stayed 2-1 in the third. We’ve seen it too many times this year that come the third period we lose the lead“, said Senators head coach Guy Boucher.
With the win, the Senators improve to a .500 team and pass the Red Wings in the standings. The Sens record improves to 8-8-3 for 19 points, while the Red Wings drop a game below .500 to 8-9-2, remaining at 18 points.
It’s Bath Time
19 games into the 2018-19 season and Senators rookie Batherson finally got a taste of NHL action. After not making the NHL club despite a strong training camp, Batherson earned his call-up from Ottawa’s AHL affiliate, Belleville. At the time of the announcement, the young sensation had notched 20 points in 14 games, good enough for second in league scoring.
Senators head coach Guy Boucher gave Batherson all the opportunities to prove himself in the NHL. The native of New Minas, Nova Scotia landed himself on the Sens top line to start the night, right alongside Matt Duchene and Mikkel Boedker. He also found himself on the Sens top power play unit. It was here, where Batherson found mesh 7:05 into the second period when he wired a wrist shot past Jimmy Howard after Duchene won a face-off in the offensive zone.
“You saw it tonight. He gets that first shot, scores a goal, and made some really smart plays with the puck. You’re going to see more and more of that. He’s definitely one of those guys who is a high-end player”, Boucher said in reference to Batherson’s efforts.
Overall, the 6’3″, 187-pound player looked comfortable and poised in his first game. Batherson drew a penalty on Red Wings star Dylan Larkin and finished the game with one goal and one block with 10:42 time on ice, including 3:15 on the power play. Impressively, he was also named the game’s first star.
Anderson Stands Tall
Batherson was not the only hero for the Senators against the Wings. Goaltender Craig Anderson had a huge night in Ottawa’s crease, stopping 34 of 35 shots on goal, in addition to not one, but two penalty shots in the third period.
“I think it’s the first time in the history of the Sens, so, there you have it“, said Boucher regarding the two third period penalty shots.
The first was against Andreas Athanasiou, while the second was against Michael Rasmussen, who scored Detroit’s lone goal of the game earlier in the night. After stopping both penalty shots, the Senators faithful in attendance applauded the netminder. Following the second penalty shot, chants of ‘Andy, Andy’ echoed throughout the building.
Anderson finished the night with his lowest goals allowed on the 2018-19 campaign, including a 1.00 goals against average and a .971 save percentage. He took home the game’s third star.
There was little love shown between these two Atlantic Division teams who are dangerously close in the NHL standings. All game, both sides played an aggressive style of hockey, which included some major hits and a fight. The fight starred Senators top rookie, Brady Tkachuk, and Red Wings Justin Abdelkader, while the biggest hit of the night was arguably Mark Borowiecki‘s against Abdelkader along Detroit’s bench in the first period. In the second, Abdelkader retaliated by checking Borowiecki from behind on a dangerous looking hit that went uncalled by the referees.
- Earlier in the day, Tkachuk was informed he had earned a full-time position on the Ottawa Senators.
- It was Hockey Fights Cancer night at Canadian Tire Centre. The Senators wore purple warm-up jerseys and distributed cards to acknowledge those battling cancer, as well as those who have survived cancer.
- Zack Smith returned to the line-up after missing the last nine games with a facial injury. He wore a full cage as he continues his recovery.
- The Senators were bit again by another odd goaltender interference call. The original call on the ice was ruled a good goal for Dylan DeMelo, until Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill issued a coach’s challenge and won.
- This game was the lowest scoring match of the season to date for the Senators, which had a total of three goals scored.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
- Drake Batherson, Ottawa (1G, including the game-winner)
- Matt Duchene, Ottawa (2A)
- Craig Anderson, Ottawa (1.00 GAA, .971 SV%)
The Senators welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to Canadian Tire Centre for a game of Saturday night hockey.
|1||Ottawa||1-0||19:21||Cody Ceci (3)||Matt Duchene (14), Mark Stone (14)|
|2||Detroit||1-1||3:55||Michael Rasmussen (4)||Mike Green (7), Trevor Daley (3)|
|2||Ottawa [PPG]||2-1||7:05||Drake Batherson (1)||Matt Duchene (15)|
Cover Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.