It was a long time coming, but the Ottawa Senators snapped their 11-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon with a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Bobby Butler scored his first NHL goal, making him a candidate for most relieved on the night, but that award's got to go to Brian Elliott: It was his first win of the year, halting a personal 13-game losing streak. The whole team, though, was pretty relieved about the win.
With their victory in this Toilet Bowl, the Senators avoid last place in the NHL standings (at least for the time being). The Oilers, on the other hand, hold strong in last place, improving their chances at finally making their 11-year rebuild bring them another potential star.
Sens Hero: Alex Kovalev
With two goals and an assist against the Oil, Kovalev's post-All-Star-break streak is surreal and rapidly approaching ridiculous: Six games, five goals, four assists, and nine points. Which not only makes it fun to watch, but comes with the added bonus of improving his trade value as the trade deadline approaches. He's been maligned pretty much nonstop since signing here, but if the Sens can turn him into a good pick (or some decent picks), it will be a heck of a boost to the Senate Reform.
Sens Hero: Bobby Butler
The kid's finally got his first NHL goal! It took until his tenth game, but it can't be taken away from him. He also had an assist for his first multi-point night in the bigs, and it's no coincidence that his best offensive game came while he was given the opportunity to play alongside skilled players throughout. He finished with 15:29 TOI, much of it with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, and looked like he fit in pretty well, too. (Although we're still waiting on Butler to finish with a positive plus/minus rating in a game.)
Sens Zero: The powerplay
Gah... terrible. While it wasn't a complete bust--Michalek did score a powerplay goal in the third period--the Senators went 1-for-7 with the man advantage, managing just eight PP shots in 12:52 PP time. Michalek's goal was their first powerplay marker in four games, and only their fourth over the last 14. If we're looking for reasons for the extended losing streak, one is definitely consistent powerplay impotence.
Sens Hero: Chris Phillips
Best game of the season for Big Rig? Maybe, and maybe not. It was definitely well above his regular play through much of the season, and he did a good job holding off the Oilers' young guns in the 20:01 TOI he played. No points, but he finished +1 on the night.
Sens Killers: The almost-Senators
The Oilers had three goals on the night. One was scored by Andrew Cogliano, and the other two by Dustin Penner; both were ridiculously close to becoming Senators last off-season, when they--along with Ladislav Smid, who had an alright game himself--were offered to the Senators in exchange for Dany Heatley. I wonder how differently this team would be today with those two on the roster.