3 Takeaways From the Senators’ 3-2 Shootout Win Against Bruins

The Ottawa Senators defeated the top team in the NHL, the Boston Bruins, by a score of 3-2 in the shootout. This may have been the most exciting game of the season for Ottawa, as their top players were generating offense, and Cam Talbot had a performance to remember.

The Senators have been playing without some key players and during the game lost another permanent fixture on defense, Nikita Zaitsev. He left the game after blocking a shot off the ankle and did not return, leaving five defensemen to play most of the game. Up front, the bottom-six included players such as Jake Lucchini, Dylan Gambrell and Derick Brassard, who ideally wouldn’t all be in the lineup together. That being said, they kept up with the elite Bruins group quite well. There are a ton of potential takeaways from this game, but I am going to narrow it down to just three.

Cam Talbot Steals The Show

Cam. Freaking. Talbot.

Need I say more? If you watched this game, you would be well aware that Talbot earned the first star of the game, and arguably could have been the second and third star as well. He kept his team in the game throughout the first period, before the Senators started to wake up more in the middle frame. The first goal he allowed was off of a strange bounce that was redirected off a stanchion and came back out front, no blame to put on Talbot there, but it was the third period where things got crazy.

Cam Talbot Ottawa Senators
Cam Talbot, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Breaking the franchise record for saves in a period, Talbot made 26 saves in the third period alone. Thirteen of those came in a three-minute span nearing the end of the period when the Bruins were pressing for the tying goal. Whether you were at home, at a sports bar, or in the rink, every fan was on their feet watching Talbot’s performance. With flashy glove saves, excellent cross-crease stops on odd-man rushes, or perfect tracking on rebounds, he did it all.

Sign up for our regular 'Senators Newsletter' for all the latest.

With the game coming down to a shootout, Talbot didn’t allow the Bruins to score there either. After a great performance in Washington before the Christmas break, he now has 86 saves on 91 shots over his past two games. The players better be paying for his meals for the next little while.

Drake Batherson Extends Point Streak

Drake Batherson came into the game against the Bruins on a 10-game point streak. Extending the streak to 11, he registered a pair of assists, one of which was a beautiful pass up the ice to Alex DeBrincat. Many had some questions about Batherson’s play, as he was struggling defensively, but also went through a stretch without putting up many points. Before his 11-game point streak, he only had four points in his previous 10 games. During this point streak, he now has 16 points during the stretch and is silencing his doubters.

Latest News & Highlights

With a depleted forward group, the Senators needed their top players to produce, and they have gotten exactly that, especially from Batherson. He is currently on a 77-point pace, which would smash his career high of 44 set last season.

The Positives and Negatives On Defense

With Artem Zub, Erik Brannstrom and Jacob Bernard-Docker injured, the Senators’ defensive group was pretty weak heading into Kanata to face the Bruins. Things got even worse when Zaitsev left the game with a lower-body injury. Already in the lineup was Dillon Heatherington, but even with Zaitsev out, he only played 8:28.

Related: Senators’ Sanderson Has Emerged as a Calder Darkhorse

I always like to start with the positive notes. Thomas Chabot was fantastic, especially when overtime came around. His offensive instincts were on full display, and though he played over 31 minutes, he looked great the entire time. Jake Sanderson, who continues to amaze me, had a number of excellent plays, most notably his defending against Tomas Nosek in the second period. In this play, Nosek had a breakaway from the center-ice line after Sanderson was knocked down at the opposing blue line. Sanderson managed to get up, catch up to the play, and still block the shot by Nosek. This type of effort is exactly what the Senators need right now. Sanderson has been such a beautiful addition to the defense group.

Jake Sanderson Ottawa Senators
Jake Sanderson, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Even on the negative side, I will still start off with a bit of positivity. I thought Travis Hamonic had a solid game for about 50 minutes of it. He was making strong defensive plays, had good man coverage, and played well. Then he took a costly penalty that led to the late Bruins power play, part of the flurry of 13 shots in three minutes I mentioned above, and made a couple of questionable plays late in the game. Nick Holden and Heatherington both had okay games. Neither was notably productive, but they both had times when they looked nervous with pressure on them.

Overall, the depleted group had a good game, and helped keep the Senators afloat against an elite Bruins team. It will be interesting to see what they look like for the next game, as Zub is close to a return after suffering a broken jaw, Bernard-Docker is getting close, too, and Erik Brannstrom shouldn’t be too long before a return himself.

Looking Forward

The Senators will play against the Washington Capitals on Thursday (Dec. 29), and as mentioned with the defense, they may need to add to the roster before puck drop. They currently sit 10 points behind the New York Rangers with three games in hand. Every game is a must-win from here on out, and with all of the injured players expected to be healthy within the next month, they are one good run of games away from getting themselves back into the wild card hunt.