The Ottawa Senators won the game, but they had to hold on by dear life to do so. The Senators took a 4-1 lead when Colin White, Vladimir Namestnikov, Artem Anisimov, and Brady Tkachuk scored. Then, lightning struck and Nashville tied the game with three goals in the third period. Finally, that wouldn’t be enough when Anthony Duclair scored an overtime, power-play goal for the winner.
At least two things were noteworthy about the game. First, it was young goalie Marcus Hogberg’s first NHL win. Second, 24-year-old, Pointe-Claire, Quebec native Duclair tied his career-best goal-scoring season by scoring his 20th. He had previously had 20 goals (and 24 assists) with the Arizona Coyotes in his rookie season of 2015-16.
In this post, I’ll review the game and offer notes about those players who had a hand in the victory.
Key Player #1: Goalie Marcus Hogberg
Marcus Hogberg was supposed to be the backup goalie because he had started on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he was moved to the starter’s role after Anders Nilsson became ill during the day. The 25-year-old Hogberg had played a solid game against the Lightning on Tuesday night, but the Senators lost 4-3 in overtime. This time, he won.
In fact, Nilsson later was diagnosed with a concussion and the Senators’ general manager Pierre Dorion announced that Nilsson would be placed on the injured reserve list. Fortunately, Craig Anderson just became available and will be activated from the injured list. Sadly, for Nilsson, what was first described as an “illness” turned out to be worse.
Hogberg made 33 saves for the victory. The team obviously wanted to win the game for him because, as Jean-Gabriel Pageau noted, “With two two-goal leads they were able to come back, but obviously we wanted to win that one for (Hogberg). He’s been solid every time he’s come up here. He’s worked hard every time and finally, he got his first win.”
Hogberg talked his way to the victory, suggesting that “I said to myself to just be patient and try to play my game and focus on the next save. This was my first win and I’m just really happy.”
Key Player #2: Anthony Duclair
Anthony Duclair scored the game-winning goal in his team’s 5-4 overtime victory. Duclair also had an assist on Brady Tkachuk’s goal to start the third period, which gave him eight assists for the season. Duclair scored on a slapshot to end the overtime.
Duclair’s game-winning goal was his 20th of the season, which tied his career-high set during his rookie season in 2015-16. He’s been on a scoring streak of late with 10 goals and three assists in his past 10 games. He leads the Senators in goals and points, although teammate Jean-Gabriel Pageau is only a single point behind after his own three-point game against the Predators.
How did Duclair feel about his game-winning goal? Obviously, he was happy. However, he also commented that he never imagined hitting the 20-goal mark before Christmas. Specifically, “I didn’t really have any expectations coming in this year. The only thing I wanted stats-wise was 82 games. I had 81 in my rookie year, I missed one because I was sick, but stats-wise that’s what I’m aiming for. If I’m in the lineup it means I’m being consistent and helping the team win.”
Key Player #3: Jean-Gabriel Pageau
Jean-Gabriel Pageau had three assists in the 5-4 overtime win against Nashville. Pageau’s had a strong season and during this game, he was especially strong playing on special teams. He had two power-play assists and one shorthanded assist. He now has 16 goals, 11 assists, and 27 points in 36 games this season.
What’s Next for the Senators?
The Senators play three home games over a bit of an elongated Christmas break. Should the team win all three games, it would have an 18-18-3 record, which is far better than anyone would have thought when the season began. The team, under head coach D.J. Smith, is playing other teams tough. They are hardly the pushovers everyone expected them to be. Kudos to the entire organization for that accomplishment.
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