NHL Game Recap: Edmonton Oilers vs. Ottawa Senators | 03/24/2024

(Justin Tang)

Evander Kane was out of this game for a maintenance day, so Derek Ryan drew into the lineup. Calvin Pickard got the start for the Oilers after coming in relief of Stuart Skinner in Toronto the night before. Joonas Korpisalo started for Ottawa in New Jersey the night before; this was a back-to-back start for him. Let me take a moment to congratulate Senators team doctor Donald Chow for being inducted into the team’s Ring of Honour before puck drop.

First Period Summary:

Edmonton started the game hot with grade-A scoring chances around the net. Evan Bouchard had nice patience at the blue line without losing the puck before making a backhand pass to Mattias Ekholm. Then Ekholm held it for a bit before finding Adam Henrique in front of the net. Henrique tipped the pass into the net for his 20th of the season and second, as an Oiler to make it 1-0. However, the lead wouldn’t last long. The Senators went on the powerplay just under two minutes later, and it only took them 7 seconds to score on it. Drake Batherson was beside the Oilers net with the puck and made a nice saucer pass above a block attempt from a sprawling Vincent Desharnais to feed Jakob Chychrun and tie the game 1-1. With less than 6 minutes left in the period, the 4th line nearly converted for a go-ahead goal. Ryan started a passing sequence in the offensive zone, Sam Carrick has his shot stopped by Korpisalo, who then made a great sprawling save on the rebound shot by Connor Brown. Desharnais took an interference penalty after upending Sens captain Brady Tkachuk, but the Oilers were able to kill this one off. With 6 seconds left in the period, Erik Brannstrom took an interference penalty of his own after taking down Henrique. Bouchard got one point shot away before the final horn that hit a body along the way, but Korpisalo stopped it, and both teams headed into the first intermission tied 1-1. Shots on goal were 13-5 for Edmonton.

Second Period Summary:

The Oilers started the period continuing their powerplay and Leon Draisaitl converted from his office at the edge of the face-off dot to make it a 2-1 game. Edmonton got on the man advantage again after a penalty was taken by Ridley Greig. Zach Hyman buried a pass from Connor McDavid and tapped it in for his first 50 goal season. The 2-goal lead would be short-lived as Mathieu Joseph made a stretch pass from his zone to Tim Stuetzle, who went on a rush and beat Pickard short-side to make it a 1-goal game again. Stuetzle almost tied the game after getting a great pass from Claude Giroux, he was unable to get a tap in. Then McDavid went the other way and fed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who hit the post on that scoring chance. Desharnais received his second interference penalty of the game, and Drake Batherson fired a hard wrist shot to tie the game 3-3. The period ended with the shots total favoring Edmonton 31-12.

Third Period Summary:

Less than a minute into the period, Thomas Chabot received a high-sticking penalty, but his team was able to kill it off. Halfway through the third period, the shots on goal were only 3-1, but Edmonton had countless pressure in the offensive zone. Ottawa, with so much tiredness in those shifts, bent but didn’t break. Ekholm took a holding penalty late in the period, and Chychrun scored his second of the game on the powerplay to give Ottawa their first lead of the game. Parker Kelly scored an empty net goal to seal a 5-3 win for the Senators. Final shots total was 36-16.

Final Verdict:

This is the first awful game I’ve seen Pickard play as an Oilers goalie. That says a lot because he’s the backup that helped save Edmonton’s season. But unlike other games where stats weren’t the fanciest, and yet he still made key stops, three goals allowed on 15 shots is so far below any recipe for wins. Korpisalo was the difference in this game with 33 saves. On a more sentimental note, this was the 2 year anniversary of Ben Stelter’s pre-game skate with the Oilers. Two years later, remembering Hyman’s post-game interview with Ben sitting beside him, he is now a 50 goal scorer.

Stephen Vani

Oilers fan in Toronto. Staying up past my bedtime for Western games since the mid 2000s.

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