FIVE QUICK THOUGHTS
-There are stolen points and then there’s last night.? The Ottawa Senators hung on for dear life for approximately 62 minutes and in the end, came away with a single point.? If not for the outstanding effort of Craig Anderson, this game gets away from them early on and probably ends up being a five or six goal loss. Instead, it’s one point in a building that can pretty tough under the best of circumstances.? The Golden Knights have sputtered a little bit early in the 2018/2019 regular season but they looked the part of a contender last night. A franchise record 53 shots on goal and a dominant 62:24 second effort.
-As good as the Golden Knights looked last night and as much as they carried the play most of the way, the game was actually there for the taking.? In fact, for a second straight game, the Senators actually had a two goal lead they probably didn’t really deserve. Not that it ever felt like a comfortable lead but it was a two-goal lead just the same.? It’s not that the Sens sat back when they got up a couple but more than the Golden Knights dialed it up a notch.? And Guy Boucher’s team just had no answer.? Safe to assume they’ll be pretty happy to come away with a single point on a night when they were outclassed most of the way.
-Thomas Chabot’s ridiculous start to the season continued last night.? He now has 13 points in the first 10 games of the season including at least a point in 9 of those games.? When Erik Karlsson was traded this summer, it opened up the door for a few young defenceman in Ottawa. Chabot has kicked that door open and is quickly becoming one of the game’s brightest young stars.? At just 21 years of age, it’s pretty incredible to be putting up numbers like that and to be consistently logging 20+ minutes a night. He was up over 25:00 last night, actually.? The Senators deserve some credit for being patient with Chabot and bringing him along slowly last year. Not many 21 year old can step into a number one defenceman role as seamlessly as Chabot has this year.
-So uhh last night’s officiating was sort of garbage. Over the last couple years, I have made a conscious effort to dial back my criticism of the officiating in the NHL. Not because it’s getting any better (in fact, it’s probably getting worse) but more because I’ve sort of accepted that it’s part of being a hockey fan. That on any given night, I will have no idea what’s a penalty and what isn’t. Exciting, right?!? The holding call on Chabot? The interference call on Wideman? The penalty shot call in overtime? Hell, even the Mark Borowiecki hit on Cody Eakin. Last night those were penalties. Will they still be penalties on Tuesday? No idea.
-Speaking of Mark Borowiecki, he’s likely in hot water with the league again. Just a few days removed from the second suspension of his NHL career and playing his first game since, Borowiecki again found himself at the centre of a controversial play.? Borowiecki made contact with the head of Knights’ forward Cody Eakin and received a five minute major and a game misconduct. This a tough one. While there’s no doubt that Borowiecki made contact with Eakin’s head, it wasn’t the principle point of contact and he certainly wasn’t “targeting the head”. It was just…a really big hit. Given that he was just suspended, I suspect the league will take a serious look at this one. Boro came a long distance to make the hit on an unsuspecting player and it resulted in contact with the head. Often that’s enough for supplemental discipline. Whether they mean to or not, the NHL is gradually eliminating open ice hits from the game.