July 23rd, 2024

Avalanche bury frustrated Senators 7-4 with third-period outburst

By Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press on January 16, 2024.

Ottawa Senators defenceman Jake Sanderson (85) watches his shot go in the back of the net behind Colorado Avalanche goaltender Justus Annunen (60) during second period NHL hockey action in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – Dejected, despondent and disappointed are just a few words to describe Ottawa Senators interim coach Jacques Martin following a 7-4 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

The Senators surrendered four unanswered third-period goals on Tuesday night leading to Martin’s frustration.

“I think we just need a better effort from some people,” said Martin. “We need more determination. Like, I look at the fourth goal and it’s a lack of determination and a lack of commitment.

“To me, when you’re ahead and you’re protecting the lead you need to have some urgency in your game.”

He didn’t call him out by name, but there was no denying Martin was referring to Vladimir Tarasenko’s weak defensive effort on Miles Wood’s goal to make it 4-4 four minutes into the third period.

Just over four minutes later Sam Malinski scored, what would prove to be the winner, and the Senators (15-24-0) fell apart in the face of adversity.

“I definitely think part of it is mental,” said Martin. “You know, you’ve got to build some resistance, you’ve got to build some mechanism that when you face adversity it brings the best out of you instead of folding.”

Logan O’Connor added some insurance with a late goal and Devon Toews scored an empty-net goal to round out the evening for Colorado.

Mikko Rantanen, with a pair of goals, and Jason Polin also scored for Colorado, while Justus Annunen, in his season debut, made 36 saves.

“On a back-to-back, going against a fresh team, that’s sort of what you need to do, have everyone pulling on the reins, have everyone contributing in different ways,” said O’Connor.

“I thought Justus (Annunen) was also huge for us when we needed him. He made a lot of key stops and gave us the opportunity to come back there in the third.”

Mads Sogaard also made his season debut for the Senators (15-24-0) stopping 27 shots.

Ridly Greig with a pair of goals led the way for Ottawa. Drake Batherson and Jake Sanderson also scored.

This was the final meeting between the two teams with Colorado taking the first game 6-4 on Dec. 21.

The Senators held their own against the Avalanche for 40 minutes, but couldn’t find a way to shut them down in the third.

“I don’t know if it’s exactly the third period,” said captain Brady Tkachuk, who had three assists. “It’s never really a 60-minute effort. I think we let off the gas “¦ we just need to find a way to just put in a consistent 60-minute effort and make life a little bit easier for our goalies.

“I think that’s something that we work on a lot, but we need to continue to focus on that as well.”

Ottawa came out of the first period tied 1-1.

Batherson opened the scoring with a power-play goal after drilling O’Connor with a shot and then fired the puck home, but just 38 seconds later Colorado tied the game when Rantanen, from one knee, tipped in a Cale Makar shot.

The Senators will also like most of their second period. They took the lead when Annunen juggled a shot from Tkachuk and Greig poked it in. Colorado tied it just over one minute later when Polin beat Sogaard with a snap shot to the far corner for his first NHL goal.

Greig, with his second of the night, gave the Senators the lead at the seven-minute mark and Sanderson with a beautiful move made it 4-2 at the midway mark of the period.

Colorado appeared to make it a one-goal game on a Malinski goal, but upon review it was ruled offside, but just over a minute later Rantanen made it count with his second of the game.

“We weren’t great going through the first 20 minutes, 40 minutes,” said Colorado head coach Jared Bednar. “We were giving up too much, looking like we were lacking some energy, for sure. “So, we had bursts offensively, but when you’re a little tired, you’re kind of getting a little complacent, loose defensively, you know?

“It just takes a lot of effort to try and get the legs going and defend, so we were giving up too much. We knew if we just could amp it up just a little bit more, we were in a game and we could give ourselves a chance. We scored some timely goals.”


Senators C Josh Norris missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury and Jacob Bernard-Docker was a healthy scratch.


Senators: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

Avalanche: Head to Boston to play the Bruins on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2024.

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