OTTAWA — Three hours before dismissing the overtime winner over Casey Dessmith, Brady Tkachuk celebrated with an emotional finish to the same goal at the Canadian Tire Center.
Seven-year-old Daniel Maloney slid a forehand shot into the empty net as the Senators wrapped up their warm-up on the ice home end. Participating in unique game day experiences, including coming out to do rookie raps below. And when Daniel wrapped up the senators warm-up by scoring, he skated on the ice with Tokachuk to a roaring ovation from thousands of fans who cheered at the moment. I took a bath.
“We’re telling our fanbase how passionate they are and how they’re participating in making the kids’ special day,” Tkachuk said. made it great for Daniel, and it meant a lot to me today.”
At the morning press conference, Daniel sat on the podium and confidently answered questions from the media.
He told reporters that his age is actually “7.5 inches” and that Tokachuk is his favorite player “because he is tall.”
Later, Daniel sat down with DJ Smith during the press conference.
All smiles and joy are here. 🥰
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 19, 2023
And it was precisely the hockey gods that gave Tkachuk a signature, feel-good moment in the lead role. With just his 25 seconds into the extra frame, Tkachuk wired his wrist shot past his DeSmith blocker side, giving the Senators a crucial 5-4 win over the Penguins. Tkachuk not only scored the winning goal, but also scored his career-high four goals in one match.
And after the game, Tkachuk was quick to credit the youthful vigor Daniel had infused into the Ottawa locker room.
“He’s our lucky charm,” said Tkachuk with a wide smile. “I think it’s because of him that we won tonight.”
Though his team has barely stayed on the fringes of playoff racing, Smith has embraced Daniel’s presence at his hockey club.
“A lot of people will say we’re trying to win the game, but this is a distraction. I don’t know,” Smith said. “I had the opportunity to make a Children’s Day. No one does it better than Brady and the leadership group that always makes way for these men and women.”
While Danielle’s family was soaking up a fairytale night at the Canadian Tire Center, Mathieu Joseph’s family was probably experiencing emotions at the other end of the spectrum. This was to be Mathieu’s first meeting with his younger brother Pierre Olivier at NHL level. As such, dozens of family and friends flooded the arena hoping to experience that special moment firsthand.
Before the game, however, Smith drowned out all the excitement about Joseph’s first sibling showdown by announcing that Joseph would be a healthy scratch against Pittsburgh. Smith simply replied, “No.”
Even setting aside the obvious family angle, scratching Joseph was a bold and important move given Ottawa’s precarious position in the standings. I found myself trailing Pittsburgh by 9 points in the card spot. Smith has continued to preach that this Home and Home with the Penguins he should treat the series as a “mini-playoff series.”
Tkachuk went one step further on Wednesday, stating: So we are treating this as a do or die. “
So the decision to scratch Joseph, who hasn’t played since suffering a lower body injury on December 8th, is even more puzzling. — otherwise To Fully manage. Smith was desperate to bring Joseph’s speed and attacking power back into the bottom six group, which had been pretty underpowered recently. It is unconscionable and highly implausible for Smith to go rogue and make such a bold decision on his own. Joseph is clearly one of the nine best forwards on this team, signing his new four-year contract with AAV for $2.95 million.
If the Senators are looking to win a hockey game, their best chance is with Joseph in the lineup. There are times when coaches want to message players about their performance, but this felt like an inappropriate backdrop for a myriad of reasons.
This game was important in the standings.
The Senators have struggled to score on equal strength, with virtually no goals taken from the bottom six in recent games.
If you want to add a family angle to the mix, you can add that to your list as well.
Most reasonable signs point to Joseph wearing a suit on Wednesday night, which makes his absence all the more interesting. , Senators welcomed Josh Norris with open arms. I was.
“You don’t want to hear that you need surgery. That’s why you see multiple people,” Norris explained Wednesday morning. I feel good now, and I’m glad we trusted him.”
Norris played in 19:14 ice time, playing in the center of the line alongside Alex Devlincat and Claude Giroud. He tested his left shoulder by performing a body check on Evgeny Malkin midway through the first period, giving Norris a boarding penalty.
“I don’t think Norris scored any points tonight, but having him is a big difference,” said Smith. “That line looked dangerous every time they were there. Norris, the way he checks and skates makes a big difference.”
Despite playing in the center position, Norris did not face off, instead leaving that responsibility to Giroud on his line.
“It’s about to come,” Norris said of his showdown earlier in the day. “Of course I want it back.”
The two centers around him scored goals while Norris was kept off the scoresheet. Tim Staetzl, who clocked his 26:29 ice time, the second longest of his entire NHL career, scored a spectacular power play in the first period to score his goal, and at the blue line Sydney he won Crosby. , then dodged Dessmith and fired a shot.
And Shane Pinto came out of a goal deficit of 14 games by also recording his own power play marker in the third period. Pinto admitted he was glad he was able to “get the monkey off his back” and credited Norris’ presence on the power play as a factor that contributed to his goal. It was placed in a featured power play unit.
“He’s very open with us,” Pinto said of Norris. “They were worried about him firing, but that opened up another possibility.”
The Stützle and Pinto markers were part of a lethal power play attack that produced four goals. Ottawa struggled with his 5-5 scoring streak and fell short as he beat Pittsburgh 25-10. However, their special team his unit relieved them and for the first time since December 17, 2005, his four power plays scored his goal in the same game.
The Senators also won the game, although several shaky goals were allowed by Cam Talbot. Smith said he never considered pulling his own netminer, as Talbot saved Jake Guentzel with a spectacular glove to keep the score 4-4 in the final minutes of regulation time. His trust was rewarded when he did.
“He had a bad bounce,” Smith said of Talbot’s performance in stopping 15 of 19 shots against Pittsburgh. “He’s been great to us. And in my opinion, it’s time for us to win him the game.”
The win over Pittsburgh left the Senators eight points behind the Penguins for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. If Ottawa can pull off the feat in regulation time, a win over the Penguins in a return engagement at the PPG Paints Arena on Friday could cut that gap to six points.
“It’s a mini playoff series. DJ tells us so,” Pinto said. “We have to go out there and play well in their barn and hopefully get two points.”
(Photo of Brady Tkachuk after scoring in extra time against the Penguins: Marc DesRosiers/USA Today)