OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot couldn’t have scripted a better game in his return from injury as he scored twice, including the game winner, and picked up an assist in the Ottawa Senators 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night.
Chabot was back after missing the last four games and hit a career milestone playing in his 300th career game. He’s now the ninth defenceman to play 300 games with the Senators.
“Like I said this morning I think it’s great to be back and obviously 300 games is something special and I take a lot of pride in that,” said Chabot. “Obviously it’s nice to get out here and put a great effort like we did as a team and still stick to it and find a way to win the game.”
Chabot is the Senators workhorse on the back end and on this night, like so many others, led all defencemen playing 24:35.
His absence has been noticeable as he is the stabilizing force on Ottawa’s blue line and there was no denying his immediate impact.
“He’s great, he changes the complexion of our team obviously,” said Brady Tkachuk, who scored a power-play goal. “We know how much he plays and how much he’s out there, but yeah, he’s a difference maker? he took over tonight’s game and won it for us.”
Tim Stutzle also scored, while Anton Forsberg stopped 40 shots.
Kevin Fiala, Jared Spurgeon and Jon Merrill scored for the Wild (31-14-3), who are playing the second of four games on its Canadian road trip. Cam Talbot made 30 saves.
Tuesday’s game wrapped up a stretch of ten games in 16 nights for the Senators (19-26-5). Ottawa is off until Saturday when they host Montreal.
The difference was the start as Ottawa jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead, but also set the tone for the game with a hard, physical presence.
“It’s more frustrating how we started,” admitted Wild head coach Dean Evason. “I mean, full credit to Ottawa. They played hard and right and heavy and smart and aggressive, real aggressive. They took the game away from us early, and we couldn’t catch up until the second period … We started wrong; they started right.”
Things started with Chabot scoring on his second shift of the night beating Talbot with a shot short side and Tkachuk made it 2-0 on the power play late in the period.
It was the Senators first power play goal in four games.
The Wild outshot the Senators 17-8 in the second, but trailed 3-2 after giving up a late goal.
Trailing 2-0, Fiala – coming off the bench – fired a shot from the hash marks to open the scoring for the Wild. He now has 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) over his last 19 games.
Spurgeon tied the game midway through the period with a shot from the slot, but with just under four minutes remaining in the period Stutzle scored his 12th of the season to make it 3-2 Ottawa. Stutzle has goals in three consecutive games.
Minnesota tied the game 3-3 in the opening minutes of the third as Merrill made the most of a giveaway and fired a wrist shot past Forsberg, but with just over five minutes remaining in regulation Chabot scored his second of the night. The shot fooled Talbot as it went off Calen Addison’s stick.
“You’ve got to play a full 60 minutes to win in this league,” said Merrill. “It’s almost like the hockey gods or someone was on the other side tonight and a couple of bounces went their way and that’s just the way it goes when you’re not playing a full, complete game.”
Notes: Matt Murray was unavailable for the game as he and his wife welcomed a baby boy to their family. Mats Zuccarello was a late scratch for the Wild.