Top 5 Senators Moments From the First Half of 2022-23

The Ottawa Senators are officially halfway through their season. Things haven’t gone exactly as planned, but I must say, the number of memorable moments that we have seen so far is making for a very entertaining season. After 41 games, the Senators’ record was 19-19-3. Though there have been some of the lowest lows throughout the campaign, we are going to be looking at the highest highs through the Senators’ first 41 games.

There are certainly some moments that missed this list, and it was tough to narrow it down to five. Using some feedback from Facebook and Twitter, these seem to be quite high up on Senators fans lists too.

5. Talbot’s Flurry Of Saves

After being acquired in the offseason, Cam Talbot suffered an injury in training camp, missing the first 10 games of the season. Even so, he has been a great addition to the crease for Ottawa. Through 41 games, he has a record of 10-11-1 in 22 games, with a .906 save percentage (SV%). However, these numbers are not indicative of how important his impact has been. The best example came against the NHL’s best team, the Boston Bruins.

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

On Dec. 27, the Senators beat the Bruins 3-2 in the shootout, and there is nobody to thank more for the victory than Talbot. Making 49 saves on 51 shots is impressive enough by itself, but how he did it was phenomenal. In the third period alone, he made a game’s worth of saves with 26 – which was a franchise record. What gets even more impressive, was his flurry of stops in the dying minutes of the game while protecting the lead.

With the game on the line, Talbot made 13 saves in a span of less than three minutes. The Bruins had some great pressure on the Senators, Talbot stood on his head, and then Travis Hamonic took a hooking penalty, giving the Bruins a power play opportunity. The Bruins kept that pressure on, and after an incredible series of elite saves, Pavel Zacha tied the game with one of the weakest shots of the period. Regardless, the Senators won the game, and Talbot was clearly the first star and gave fans a period to remember for a long time.

4. Claude Giroux’s “Half-Clapper”

One of the Senators’ biggest moves in the offseason was bringing Claude Giroux to Ottawa on a three-year contract. The veteran leader has proven to still be very productive and is making his $6.5 million cap hit look like a steal early on. The whole series of events leading up to the season, including the hashtag “#BringGHome” trending on Twitter, the anticipation and rumblings leading up to free agency, and the impatient wait for his debut, all contributed to one of the most exciting storylines from the offseason.

Giroux didn’t take much time to score one of the most memorable goals in recent memory for Ottawa. The only goal I can think of off the top of my head that would challenge it would be the Artem Zub breakaway goal en route to a 5-4 comeback win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Claude Giroux Ottawa Senators
Claude Giroux, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Senators were hosting Erik Karlsson and the San Jose Sharks, and Giroux already had two points as the Sens were up 4-2 in the third period. After a strong stretch of pressure from the Sharks, he was sent in on a breakaway and took a slap shot from just above the hash marks. This goal didn’t have much of an impact on the game, but on an emotional evening with the former captain in the building, after a stressful shift, this was one of those goals that put a huge smile on your face, had you out of your chair, and won’t forget for a long time to come.

3. Alfie To The Hall

During the offseason, Senators fans took to Twitter and used “#AlfieToTheHall” to give Daniel Alfredsson the recognition he deserved. After a 1,246-game career, with 1,157 points, they were tired of not seeing him where he belonged; in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

There are a lot of arguments for and against Alfredsson and whether he was deserving or not, but that is not what this is about. The hashtag that was used seemed to work, as on Nov. 14, 2022, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. His speech, Karlsson’s writeup in The Players Tribune, and the repairs made to the relationship between Alfredsson and the team made this quite a special occasion.

Related: Jason Spezza’s Journey From 2nd-Overall Pick to Hometown Hero

Fans of the Senators have been waiting a long time to see Alfredsson back around the organization, and with the team up for sale, many are optimistic that he will have some sort of role in the ownership group once everything is finalized. The story of Alfredsson and the Senators this season, which we will talk about again very shortly, couldn’t have come at a better time, as the team is on its way back up after a rebuild, and there have been countless positive moves from top to bottom in the organization.

2. Brady’s Brawl at MSG

On Dec. 2, the Senators were in Manhattan for a game against the New York Rangers, and on top of it being an exciting game already, Brady Tkachuk played what might have been the best game of his career. He had an assist on Tim Stutzle’s opening goal for the Senators, and it all got better from there.

Brady Tkachuk Ottawa Senators
Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

After getting an assist, Tkachuk tied the game at two with 49 seconds left on the clock. After that, he went on to score the game-winning goal in overtime. Both goals were thrilling to watch, and his play throughout the entire game was phenomenal. Now, two goals and an assist don’t get you the second spot on this list by itself. His eight shots and four hits also factor in a little bit, but none of this was what made this game so special for Tkachuk.

It was back in the second period that made this game as great as it was. Tkachuk fought Jacob Trouba at center ice, and it was one of the heaviest, hardest-hitting, exciting hockey fights I have seen in a long time. Madison Square Garden (MSG) is looked at as the greatest place to play hockey. The atmosphere in any regular game gives you the chills, but with the fight that took place, nothing could match that energy.

Two captains, Friday night at MSG, an emotional game, the stare-down. It was all a perfect scene for what became a great fight.

1. Home Opener Against Boston

There were a lot of great stories that came out of the first game at Canadian Tire Center this season, so grouping them all together makes a lot of sense. Not only was it the first win of the season, coming against the Bruins, but it has become even more impressive as their season has gone on. It’s no secret that they have been dominant all season long, and as they sit at the halfway point of the season, this is one of only five regulation losses for the Bruins.

Everybody knows the Senators have had issues with attendance, especially throughout the rebuild. In their first home game, the Senators had 19,811 fans in attendance, which exceeds their maximum capacity of 19,153. The building was flooded with optimistic Senators fans. In fact, it was the highest amount of people in the building since the night Alfredsson had his jersey retired in 2016.

Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators
Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Not only did all of the fans show up, but they had lots to cheer about. After bringing Giroux home to Ottawa in the offseason, he opened up the scoring in his first home game just over a minute in. The building erupted. Tkachuk, Stutzle, Drake Batherson, and everybody’s favourite Senator, Zub, all recorded multiple points on their way to the 7-5 victory.

On top of it being an incredible game with a packed house, Alfredsson came out and said hello to the crowd, signifying the relationship between him and the team had been repaired. He is without a doubt the greatest Senator in team history. His absence has been very noticeable over the years, and when he came out onto the ice to drop the first puck, there were goosebumps, chills, and tears of joy from Senators fans in the arena, and watching from home.

Everything about that night was incredible. It is a game that people will remember forever.

The Next 41 Games

This has been a great start to the season for the Senators in terms of positives. There are some things that didn’t fit well on this list, like Stutzle’s emergence as one of the best young players in the league, but the positive storylines and moments so far this season are important to remember during the times the team has struggled.

Over the course of the rest of the season, there are already a couple of things to look forward to. The sale of the team, Chris Neil’s jersey retirement, and the trade deadline are certainly going to be candidates for the top moments in the second half.