The Ottawa Senators dropped their seventh straight game on Saturday afternoon, when they were defeated by the Minnesota Wild in a one goal game at Canadian Tire Centre.

We weren’t obviously at our best for 60, but we had a great first. Almost a little unfortunate we only had one goal to show for it. In the second, we got away from what we were doing when we were successful. We weren’t playing bad, but we weren’t playing like we were“, said Senators assistant captain Matt Duchene as he summed up the game after.

Notably, this game was Anders Nilsson’s first as an Ottawa Senator. The 28-year-old Swede was acquired on Thursday just prior to the game between Ottawa and his former team, the Vancouver Canucks. Despite the loss and permitting some regrettable goals, Nilsson had a few nice saves this game, including a flashy glove save on a backhand shot from in close. The 6’6″, 232-pound goaltender finished the game with a 4.07 goals against average and .846 save percentage..

With the loss, the Senators record drops to 15-22-5 and they remain stuck at 35 points. Dead last in the league. The Wild, meanwhile, improve their record to 20-17-3 and 43 points, which places them just two points out of the Wild Card race in the Western Conference. Overall, Minnesota is ranked 19th in the NHL.

Senators Open Scoring

Ottawa opened this game with a strong first period. They nearly doubled the Wild in shots on goal, 15-8, and skated away with a 1-0 lead. Despite the offensive opportunities throughout the period, the real action started late in the frame.

With 16:57 remaining, Duchene was questionably called for hooking. When shown the replay of his infraction, he became incensed, standing up in the penalty box and banging his stick on the glass, before voicing his strong disagreement to the officials through a gap in the glass.

Immediately after serving his two minutes, the 27-year-old found justice. Upon exiting the box, Ottawa penalty killer Zack Smith spotted him with a great pass up the centre of the ice. Using his burst of speed, Duchene received the pass, while simultaneously splitting the Minnesota defencemen. Anticipating the impending threat barrelling down on him, Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk came out to the hashmarks to intercept the Senators weapon. However, Duchene made easy work of him on the breakaway, as he stick handled around the vulnerable goalie, before simply sliding the puck into the empty net.

Wild Storm Back

After getting beaten bad in the first period on the shot count, and taking on a 0-1 deficit on the scoreboard, the visiting Wild stormed back in the second.

They wasted no time tying up the game when Jared Spurgeon struck in the opening minute of period two. After receiving a pass from Luke Kunin, the 29-year-old made a great move to beat Nilsson for his sixth of the season.

The Senators responded almost eight minutes later, when Ryan Dzingel banged home a corner pass from Bobby Ryan, pushing the home team ahead again.

With some good fortunes on their side, the Wild tied the game for the second time. In their defensive zone, the visiting team got away with a similar hooking call that was made against Duchene. Then, on the ensuing Wild rush, Mikael Granlund passed it to Jordan Greenway, who was left all alone in front to shoot on Nilsson. Nilsson had a difficult time tracking the puck after it hit him, and after a lot of commotion and movement, the puck crossed the line.

Minutes later, the determined Wild pulled ahead on the scoreboard, when Spurgeon buried his second of the game off a bad angle shot from the Senator’s corner, which somehow found its way through Nilsson.

By the end of two, Minnesota led 3-2 on the scoreboard and 21-19 on the shot count, while the home team’s offense dried up. Ottawa only tested Dubnyk four times in that 20-minute span.

Wild Push Ahead

The Wild attack carried through the second intermission and continued in the third. At 6:07 into the period, Zach Parise silenced the Senators faithful when he scored his ninth of the campaign off a cross-crease pass from Kunin. The goal, which ultimately became the game-winner, was also Parise’s third point of the afternoon. He was named the second star of the game for his efforts.

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At 10:10, the Sens pulled within one, when Mark Stone tipped a Cody Ceci shot-from-the-point from in close. With his 20th of the campaign, the Senators leading goal scorer has recorded at least one goal against every opposing team in the NHL.

For some time after, it appeared as though Ottawa would complete a late game rally and force their second straight overtime game. Unfortunately for the home team, their efforts fell short, as Minnesota secured the regulation win.

Snap Shots

  • Rudolfs Balcers made his NHL debut. The 21-year-old Latvian was acquired from the San Jose Sharks prior to training camp as part of the infamous Erik Karlsson trade.
  • In only his second game of the season, Belleville call-up Christian Wolanin was quaterbacking the Senators first unit power play. For the most part, he appeared very comfortable, poised, and capable handling the responsibilities in this position. The 23-year-old recorded an assist in this game, and now has two points (1G, 1A) in four NHL games this year.
  • On three occasions in this game, the Senators had offensive opportunities when exiting the penalty box. Duchene capitalized on his, while Max Lajoie and Ryan also were able to generate rushes into the Wild zone, coordinating nicely with their team’s penalty killers.

Official 3 Stars of the Game

  1. Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota (2G, 3 Shots, 2 Hits, 3 Blocks)
  2. Zach Parise, Minnesota (1G, 2A, +3, including game-winner)
  3. Matt Duchene, Ottawa (1G)

Up Next

The Senators return to action on Sunday to take on the Carolina Hurricanes at Canadian Tire Centre, where Jean-Gabriel Pageau is expected to make his season debut. This game will be the second of back-to-back matinee games for Ottawa this weekend, and will also conclude their three game home stand. The Hurricanes are six points ahead of the Senators with 41 and own a record of 18-17-5.

Scoring Summary

Matt Duchene (17)Zack Smith (9)

Jared Spurgeon (6)Luke Kunin (3)
Zach Parise (18)

Ryan Dzingel (16)Bobby Ryan (17)
Dylan DeMelo (7)
Jordan Greenway (7)Mikael Granlund (27)
Eric Staal (13)
Jared Spurgeon (7)Charlie Coyle (14)
Zach Parise (19)
Zach Parise (9)Luke Kunin (4)
Charlie Coyle (15)
Mark Stone (20)Cody Ceci (6)
Christian Wolanin (1) 

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.

Billy Morrison

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