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Sens Leafs game recap pre-season edition. The first game of the pre-season is in the books with an Ottawa Sens win! Tim Stutzle and Jake Sanderson picked up right where they left off last season, being the two best players on the ice. This was also our first chance to see Anton Forsberg back on the ice since his double MCL tear, and he had an excellent performance. But a few other players had solid games for the Sens and strengthened their case to crack the NHL roster.
Sens Leafs Game Recap
First Period Scoring Breakdown
To start the first period, it was Max Domi picking up right where Michael Bunting left off, taking an unnecessary roughing penalty 13 seconds into the game. Ottawa would fail to capitalize on the power play and took a penalty of their own after Zack MacEwen tripped up William Lagesson.
Neither team would take advantage of their power plays, and the first 5 minutes consisted of back-and-forth play. Anton Forsberg was sharp early, making several impressive saves, and thankfully, he looks like someone fully healthy. Forsberg was moving well laterally and showed no signs of discomfort in his game.
Brady Tkachuk Goal 1-0 Senators
With just under 11 minutes left in the period, William Villeneuve took a slashing penalty against Parker Kelly. The Sens ended up burying the game’s first goal on the ensuing power play courtesy of Brady Tkachuk. The play started with Jake Sanderson at the point, who moved it over to Claude Giroux at the top of the right-hand circle.
Giroux changed his angle to sell the shot before sliding a pass into the middle of hash marks, where Josh Bailey redirected the puck on goaltender Keith Petruzzelli. After the first save was made, Brady Tkachuk pulled the puck out of a scrum and sent it to the back of the net, giving the Sens a 1-0 lead.
The rest of the period was all Ottawa, who didn’t allow the Leafs to register a shot for almost 10 minutes. Keith Petruzzelli did everything he could to keep it a one-goal game until Tim Stutzle found a way past him. With just under 2 minutes left in the period, Jiri Smejkal cycled the puck from behind the net up to Jake Sanderson at the blue line.
Tim Stutzle Goal 2-0 Sens
Sanderson made a short pass over to Tim Stutzle, who was set up to his left on the blue line. Tim Stutzle took a couple of strides in from the blue line before wiring a wrist shot from the top of the circle over the glove of Petruzzelli. This gave the Sens a 2-0 lead, which they would take into the dressing room.
Second Period Scoring Breakdown
The second period was a complete 180 compared to the first. After dominating the Leafs for 20 minutes, it was the Sens’ turn to get hemmed in their end. The scoring started for the Leafs just under halfway through the second period, with William Lagesson finding some room past Forsberg.
William Lagesson Goal 2-1 Sens
Matthew Knies made an excellent play to win a board battle and then moved the puck up to Connor Timmins on the point. Timmins moved the puck over to Lagesson at the top of the left circle, who fired a wrister high short side on Forsberg, bringing the Leafs within one.
The scoring continued with about 2 minutes left in the second period on a Leafs power play. Defenceman Connor Timmins had the puck at the centre of the blue line, where he spotted Roni Hirvonen set up in the middle of the right circle.
Alex Steeves Goal 2-2
Instead of putting a one-timer on net, Hirvonen one-timed the pass through the seam to Alex Steeves. Steeves took the space given to him by the Sens’ defence and made a nice move, pulling the puck into his feet before shooting from the hash marks. The shot beat Forsberg high-glove side, and the game was back even at 2.
But after being under siege for most of the second period, the Senators ended up on the power play after Kyle Clifford was called for goaltender interference. Tim Stutzle gained the Leafs’ zone before dumping the puck off to Brady Tkachuk.
Tim Stutzle Goal 3-2 Sens
Tkachuk then carried the puck along the blue line to the center of the ice before dropping it back to Sanderson, who was just coming over the left-hand side of the blue line. Sanderson made the easy pass to Stutzle, who circled from the half wall to the top of the circle. The two played a give-and-go before Stutzle positioned his body towards the net. After taking two quick strides, Stutzle sniped a wrist shot off the post and in, short side, giving the Sens the lead once again.
This would end up being the final score in the game, and the Sens begin the pre-season 1-0.
Sens Standout Players
The big-name players (Stutzle, Giroux, Sanderson, Tkachuk) all looked solid in the opening game. But we already know what kind of players these guys are, and I want to focus on the less established guys.
In his first game on North American ice, 24-year-old Nikolas Matinpalo was rock solid on the back end for the Sens. Matinpalo made some great plays on both ends of the ice after being regarded as a more defensively minded defenceman. He set up some good chances for the Sens and looked very confident in himself. After all the discussion around Kleven, JBD, and Hamonic battling for the 3rd pair RD position, Matinpalo just threw his name into the mix.
Belleville Senators legend Egor Sokolov also had himself a game against Toronto. Sokolov was noticeably faster, and he was more aggressive on pucks compared to what I had seen from him before. Although Sokolov didn’t get his name on the scoresheet, he was highly involved in the Sens’ second goal. He was the screen on the Stutzle shot, and he had already fired a couple of shots on Petruzzelli before Stützle’s chance. So far, Sokolov has an inside track for one of the bottom 6 spots.
Other standouts included Matthew Highmore and Anton Forsberg, who played a solid game today. Sens are back in action Monday night at 7:00 P.M. EST against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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