FIVE QUICK THOUGHTS
-Like I said, Elias Pettersson is worth the price of admission on his own. Unfortunately last night the Ottawa Senators had a front row seat.? Pettersson notched his first career hat trick and basically toyed with the Ottawa defence for most of the game.? Pretty incredible that he is able to dictate the pace of a game at just 20 years of age but he basically looked unstoppable. Scored three and probably could have had a couple more including two instances where he hit the post. Once the overtime started it didn’t feel like a case of IF he would score the winner but how. There was a brief moment earlier in the year when it was two-horse race between Pettersson and Brady Tkachuk for Calder Trophy honours but the Canucks rookie has run away with it ever since.
-If not for Marcus Hogberg, the Canucks probably lead this game by five goals at the half way mark.? He really was the only Senator that bothered to show up for sixty minutes.? The Sens managed to hang around and make a game of it in the third period but the first half was just nowhere near good enough. From any of them.? Which is why the performance from a rookie goaltender was that much more impressive.? From the moment Ottawa traded for Filip Gustavsson, it was sort of assumed that he was the goalie of the future for this organization. And given his track record, it was a more than fair assumption.? But Hogberg has done a great job forcing his way back into the conversation.? Goalies take a little more time to develop than and it’s clear that Hogberg still has some room to grow.? Last night was certainly his best performance to date.
-At some point in the not too distant future, NHL players will realize that it is a really bad idea to fight Ben Harpur. Harpur wasn’t really known for his fighting ability coming into this year but after watching his last few scraps, he suddenly looks like one of the league’s most dangerous guys with his gloves off.? It’s reached a point where you can’t help but cringe a little bit watching him fight because there is just so much force behind his punches. And for whatever reason, nobody seems to see those upper cuts coming. The role of fighting in hockey has altered drastically over the years but there are still some guys that are just damn good at it. Ben Harpur is one of those guys. Still not sure about the gloves on part of his game though.
-A lot of the talk leading up to this one circled around the pre-game swap these two teams made earlier in the day.? It’s no secret that the Senators had a pretty desperate need for an NHL goalie and it just so happened that last night’s opponent was trying to get rid of one. A win-win as they say.? The Senators sent Mike McKenna, Tom Pyatt and a 6th round pick to the Canucks in exchange for Anders Nilsson and Darren Archibald. Not exactly a blockbuster but it does give the Senators a younger goalie with some NHL experience that can fill the void until Craig Anderson returns. Which may end up being a little longer than the organization is letting on. Nilsson has lost his last nine starts with the Canucks but that’s at least in part due to the league’s worst offensive support. His save percentage at 5-on-5 has actually been pretty good over the last few seasons which suggests he may actually be worth a gamble. Nilsson’s contract is up at the end of this season.
-Yesterday afternoon, the NHL announced the All Star representatives and Sens defenceman Thomas Chabot is the one getting the call for Ottawa.? Mark Stone and Matt Duchene have both turned in All Star calibre performances in the first half of the season but in the end, it’s hard to argue with Chabot edging out the other two. His emergence as one of the game’s top defenceman has been one of the most unexpected and pleasant surprises for the Sens this year.? Think most fans knew Chabot was going to be a hell of a defenceman but maybe not this good and maybe not this quickly. Chabot is currently dealing with what is believed to be a shoulder injury but he should be back in time for the All Star festivities in San Jose at the end of the month.? Meanwhile Mark Stone still has a chance to crack the line up through ระดับรางวัลthe “Last Men In” vote that starts this afternoon.