It was a night of firsts for the Ottawa Senators Monday as they completed their biggest comeback in modern franchise history, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-5 in overtime.
The Senators trailed 5-1 with 59 seconds remaining in the second period after Leafs’ Auston Matthews roofed one over Marcus Hogberg while on a five-on-three power play.
With nine seconds to go in the frame, Nick Paul potted a rebound off an Austin Watson shot, giving the Senators their first shorthanded marker of the season. But at that point, the team headed to the dressing room trailing by three against the no.1 club in North Division. And we’re all aware of how several of these games have ended this season.
However, the Senators received a boost 41 seconds into the third, when Chris Tierney sprung Artem Zub on a breakaway after he stepped out of the penalty box. Zub’s shifty deke by Frederik Andersen was his first NHL goal of his career.
Drake Batherson who scored the Senators opening goal, said Zub used an identical move to win a practice shootout in Edmonton.
The elated 25-year old who speaks very little English, spoke to the media for the first time since being inserted into the lineup eight games ago. “Thank you so much, I’m happy,” added Zub upon being congratulated postgame on his milestone goal.
Out of the box and STRAIGHT into the net.
What a way to score your first career NHL goal, Artem Zub‼️ pic.twitter.com/36bT9eVQdy
— NHL (@NHL) February 16, 2021
Toronto native Connor Brown one-timed Colin White’s five minutes later, setting the stage for Evgenii Dadonov’s game-tying goal with 2:01 remaining in regulation. The 31-year old swatted the puck out the air on his backhand with goaltender Marcus Hogberg out for a sixth attacker.
Dadonov ties the game up at 5! pic.twitter.com/AmicwZoaz0
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) February 16, 2021
Then Dadonov followed up with the OT game-winner. “Daddy” blocked Leafs’ Morgan Rielly’s shot moments after Mitch Marner almost won the game for Toronto. He darted up the ice as puck the bounced over to Paul who slide it to Thomas Chabot. Chabot fed a breaking Dadonov who notched his second on the night for the win.
Dadonov explained the team didn’t waver, “It’s hockey. Anything can happen. We didn’t stop playing. We just played shift by shift, goal by goal. We didn’t think about it. We will end up with whatever happens. We just played hard, hard.”
EVGENII DADONOV COMPLETES THE COMEBACK IN OT! pic.twitter.com/ZSuIKigIpD
— NHL (@NHL) February 16, 2021
Senators head coach D.J. Smith told Fullpresshockey.com Dadonov is starting to settle in. “A new team, no exhibition, new power play, new everything, after playing with (Alexander) Barkov and those guys for awhile – but that line of White, Paul and him is dangerous every night. They get chances. They work. He looks like he’s getting his legs. He looks like he’s getting his game.”
After posting a paltry one goal, two assists in his first 12 games as a Senator, the former Florida Panthers winger has tallied five goals in five games.
The Senators’ come-from-behind victory was the first occasion they had won a game after trailing by four goals. Per NHL stats; it was the sixth time the team accomplished a four-goal comeback, the last being January 15, 2004 versus the New York Islanders. But the reason this game was so special, it was also the first time the Senators won a game after trailing by four.
According to league records, the Senators had previously trailed by four goals 240 times and had never been victorious (0-237-3).
The club also won consecutive games for the first time since February 27-29 last season – in addition to their first consecutive road wins since November 19-20, 2019.
White described the game as his “most memorable or favourite win I’ve had in the last three years. It was a pretty special game tonight.”
Hogberg who picked his first-ever road win Saturday in Winnipeg now has two after making 15 stops in the final period and overtime when it counted.