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Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle Guide the Oilers Past the Senators

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The Oilers trounced the Sens 7-2 on the occasion of Eric Gryba's homecoming

"No, YOUR beard looks like crap!"
"No, YOUR beard looks like crap!"
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Before the game, things seemed mildly positive. Marc Methot was back from injury, in for the continual letdown known as Jared Cowen. After putting up a respectful five goals against a much superior Penguins team, the Senators were looking to take advantage of an Oilers team that was having yet another terrible season. By mid-way through the first, Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle had made it clear that Ottawa wasn't going to make this a game.

The start to the first period erased any chance of that. Max McCormick provided the screen and the tip for a point shot by Mark Fayne, which beat a surprised Craig Anderson. Before you could breathe after that goal, Jordan Eberle raced in nearly two-on-one with Connor McDavid. Bobby Ryan raced back to negate the play, diving around Eberle and trying to knock the puck off his stick. Instead, Ryan managed to tip the puck over Anderson's shoulder and into the net. Two goals that you could hardly fault Anderson on.

McCormick and ex-Sen Eric Gryba had what could loosely be described as a fight, but it really just looked like Gryba was trying not to hurt the much smaller McCormick. Chris Neil would keep things going physically by rushing around until he got an interference penalty. Eberle and McDavid made quick work of that powerplay, scoring the Oilers' third goal and ending Anderson's night. Ottawa would get a little back on a PP of their own, with Mike Hoffman snapping home his 23rd of the year after Benoit Pouliot took a hooking penalty. Importantly, Erik Karlsson got the primary assist on Hoffman's goal. That would do it for the first period, with most Sens fans already admitting defeat.

The second started out pretty well for the Sens, with the team having most of the pressure but nothing to show for it early. It took about seven minutes, but Mark Stone snapped a puck short side on Cam Talbot that just barely squeaked over the line. Moments later, the Oilers nearly had a 3-on-0, but Mark Fayne had taken a penalty to set it up so instead the Sens got a powerplay. The PP would feature Shane Prince for the first time, but that wasn't enough to get the Sens back in the game. They wouldn't score, but managed to keep momentum. Unfortunately for the Sens, the next goal of the game belonged to Matt Zack Kassian. The goal gave Gryba an assist, inching him toward his homecoming Gordie Howe hat-trick. But before he could score a goal, he got into another fight, this time with Zack Smith.

Some strong work by Stone late in the period led to Darnell Nurse taking an interference penalty. Ottawa would end the period on the powerplay with Talbot holding the fort against the onslaught.

Ottawa's third started like the second, strong but with nothing to show for it. A careless Shane Prince penalty put the Sens on the PK, and it took only a matter of seconds until Andrej Sekera put it home from the point. Things went from really bad to really worse when Leon Draisaitl went in one-on-one against Karlsson and ripped it home. McCormick responded the way he responds best, getting in another fight, this time with Nurse.

The rest of the game just felt like playing out the stretch. If only there were a mercy rule in the NHL. Ottawa did get a late powerplay, as Nurse once again got on the scoresheet for the wrong reasons,

Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson

The captain looked like he was the only player capable of doing anything tonight. His two assists tied him momentarily for the NHL lead in assists.

Honourable Mention: Mark Stone

Stone looked pretty good, stealing pucks and scoring a goal. Pageau-Smith is a big drop from the Turris-Hoffman pair he started the season with.

Sens Zero: Shane Prince

Poor guy, but in the game where he finally got a tiny bit of a chance he was lousy. The puck kept hopping over his stick, he made a couple poor choices, took a sloppy penalty, and was the team's worst possession player. Figures he'll be press box-ed for the next two weeks.

Ridiculous Stats: Everything

Ottawa led in shots (38-28), shot attempts (76-53), faceoff percentage (60-40), and hits (34-20). Whatever you think it takes to win, the Sens brought it tonight and lost. Badly. To the league's second-worst team.

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