Thomas Chabot couldn’t have scripted a better match upon his return from injury.
Chabot’s second goal of the game late in the third period was the winner and he assisted on another score to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
Chabot was back after missing four games and reaching a career milestone by playing his 300th game. He is the ninth defenseman to play 300 games with the Senators.
“As I said this morning, I think it’s good to be back and obviously 300 games is something special and I take a lot of pride in that,” Chabot said. “Obviously it’s good to come here and make a big effort like we did as a team and stick with it and find a way to win the game.”
Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle also scored, while Anton Forsberg stopped 40 shots.
Chabot’s absence had been noticed since he is the stabilizing force on the Ottawa blue line. There is no denying its immediate impact.
“He’s great, he changes the complexion of our team obviously,” Tkachuk said. “We know how good he plays and how good he is out there, but yes, he makes the difference…. He took over tonight’s game and won it for us.
Kevin Fiala, Jared Spurgeon and Jon Merrill scored for the Wild (31-14-3), playing the second of four games on a Canadian road trip. RAdm Talbot made 30 saves. The game ended a 10-game-16-night streak for the Senators (19-26-5).
Minnesota tied the game 3-3 in the opening minutes of the third as Merrill took advantage of a giveaway, firing a wrist shot past Forsberg. But with just over five minutes left in regulation time, Chabot scored his second goal of the night.
The Wild outshot the Senators 17-8 in the second, but trailed 3-2 after allowing a goal late in the game.
Trailing 2-0 to start the second, Fiala, coming off the bench, fired a shot from the hash marks to open the scoring for the Wild. Fiala now has 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) in his last 19 games.
“It’s more frustrating how we started,” Wild head coach Dean Evason admitted. “I mean, all the credit goes to Ottawa. They played tough and fair and heavy and smart and aggressive, really aggressive. They took the game away from us early, and we weren’t able to catch up until the second half… We started badly; they started well.
Spurgeon tied the game mid-period with a shot from the slot, but with just under four minutes to play, Stutzle scored his 12th goal of the season to make it 3-2 for Ottawa. Stutzle has goals in three straight games.
The Senators couldn’t have asked for a better start as Chabot opened the scoring just two minutes later, beating Talbot with a shot from short range.
Tkachuk made it 2-0 late on a power play goal, catching a pass from Chabot on the goal line and beating Talbot. It was the Senators’ first power-play goal in four games.
“You have to play a full 60 minutes to win in this league,” Merrill said. “It’s almost like the hockey gods or somebody were on the other side tonight and a few rebounds happened and that’s how it goes when you don’t play a full, complete game. .”
NOTES: Matt Murray was unavailable for the game as he and his wife welcomed a baby boy. … Mats Zuccarello was retired late for the Wild.
Minnesota: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday in Game 3 of a four-game road trip.
Ottawa: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday in the final of a four-game home game.
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