KNIGHTS 4, SENATORS 1
LAS VEGAS _ The Ottawa senators left the Vegas strip empty-handed Wednesday night.
Like so many nights this season, the effort was there, but the result was totally futile.
The odds were already stacked against the Senators who would get into this and they didn’t go down without a fight, but the result was a 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.
This was the club’s third straight loss and the Senators have posted a 3-10-1 record in their last 14 games. The heat is on and everyone is frustrated with only six wins in the first 19 games.
Starting defender Jake Sanderson won’t soon forget this one. He scored his first NHL goal and was the only one to beat Vegas goaltender Logan Thompson.
“It’s disappointing,” said coach DJ Smith. “I thought we were wire-to-wire with them. Their keeper was really good. We worked hard, we tried everything we could, we just couldn’t score. Their keeper was really good.
“All I can ask of the players to do well, and they did. Tried. There’s no question about it, we’re trying. For whatever reason, the goalkeepers on the other team were very good and we haven’t found a way to score.”
Smith added: “We had a lot of chances, a lot of looks and we found a way to lose.”
The Senators came into this game with just one win in 11 lifetime encounters against the Knights. The only win here came on March 2, 2018 with a 5-4 decision.
This road trip started on Monday with a 5-1 loss against the San Jose Sharks. The senators hoped that with more effort they would find a way to get back.
That was indeed the case. No, the Senators aren’t where everyone expected with six wins on US Thanksgiving, but they certainly haven’t thrown in the towel and given the Knights everything they could handle.
“We’ve played good pieces and good games, but we’re just not getting the results at the moment,” said captain Brady Tkachuk. “That is amazing. They are in the top five of the league for a reason. I felt like we were fighting them all night and dictating part of the game.
“It’s a points and win based competition and we’re just not getting the results at the moment. We knew it was going to be a challenge.”
Talbot made his second straight start.
After conceding three goals and seven shots on Monday in San Jose, he wanted a chance to get the net back. He was strong, but conceded a poor goal early in the third period that was a backbreaker for William Karlsson.
It was a good shot, but Talbot had to make that save with the Senators trailing at the start of the third inning. There has been little talk about Ottawa’s goaltending this month and it has not been consistent at all.
It helped that the Senators played solid for him to start this game. For 40 minutes, the Senators outpaced the Knights 25-23, but trailed by a goal.
Ottawa was much better defensively than in the last two games.
William Carrier scored by skating through Thomson and Holden and then beating Talbot at 16:23 of the second. That gave the Knights a 2-1 lead going into the third inning, but Thomson had been solid up until that point.
The Knights had a goal called back with 8:08 left in the second that would have given them the lead. It was ruled that Brett Howdon batted in with his hand and Travis Hamonic was called for interference.
Sanderson made it 1-1 with 18 seconds left in the first inning by throwing a floater on the power play that found its way through Thompson.
Tkachuk immediately picked up the souvenir. Sanderson became the first player born in Montana to score in the NHL. The goal came with his father, Geoff, in the stands.
Sanderson didn’t see it go in, but knew it was when Tkachuk raised his arms.
“I’m just glad I scored and got it out of the way,” said Sanderson. “It was pretty cool. I know my family watches all the games, but to have him in person, it’s lucky he’s here.”
Tim Stutzle had an assist on goal and became the franchise leader in points before turning 21 years old, with 106.
It was Mark Stone, the former Senators winger, who opened the scoring in this one. That came on the power play with 2:58 left in the second period.
They already had a small hand and couldn’t get out of their zone, but the situation was made worse by the fact that Ottawa winger Tyler Motte was stuck there without a stick.
Stone fired a blast through Talbot on the side of the stick.
“I saw a lot of struggle and a lot of struggle. We never came down, we got scored and we just went back to them. We never felt sorry for ourselves and that’s how you have to play,” said Talbot. “There are no silver linings in losses. We need a win.”
The Senators face the Anaheim Ducks on Friday at 3 p.m. EST as this road trip continues.
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