The Senators opened up the season surprisingly well, with an OT loss to the Blackhawks and then a win over the Maple Leafs despite being badly outshot. The Sens are somehow tied for first in the Atlantic with the equally-hyped Montreal Canadiens. We’re all about exaggerating from small sample sizes here, so let’s get into what makes this team so great:
First Star: Thomas Chabot
Chabot exploded for four points in two games, including two very slick goals against the Leafs. Ian Mendes said before the season that he thought Chabot could be a solid 1D in the Kris Letang mould, and so far he seems to be delivering. Not to mention that in a game where the Sens got destroyed in terms of shots (35% of the 5v5 shot attempts), Chabot finished at 50% of the shot attempts. He looks like he’s really built off last season.
Second Star: Maxime Lajoie
He scored his first NHL goal against the Blackhawks and added an assist right after for good measure. That got him nearly 19 minutes in that game. That earned him a “promotion” to Cody Ceci’s pairing against the Leafs, where he got almost 22 minutes. Not bad for a guy projected for Belleville’s bottom four to start the season.
Third Star: Mark Stone
Could’ve been a bunch of people here, but a combination of his sweet goal against the Leafs and his ability to dominate play puts him up here. If there was any question if he’d be distracted in a contract year, he quickly put those questions to rest.
- Craig Anderson put up a .913 across two games. The Sens wouldn’t have stood a chance in either game with him playing the way he did most games last year.
- Colin White took a long time to score his first pro goal, but he wasted no time putting up his first goal of this year. He looks pretty good in the top six thus far.
- Dylan DeMelo was quietly a good partner in both games so far.
- The other NHL-ready part of the Erik Karlsson trade, Chris Tierney also put up a couple points this week. Must feel nice for him to get his first goal as a Senator after reading so much about how he’s not a second-line centre like Dorion’s been claiming.
- I have a hard time picking anyone here after a team projected to be awful overachieved so significantly. Maybe the Mark Borowiecki - Cody Ceci pairing which looked pretty bad. It was nicer seeing them not play together against Toronto.
- Boucher’s strategy of choking the life out of a game in which his team holds a lead didn’t work against the ‘Hawks. Funny how playing “fun” hockey got the team the lead, and then he went away from it and they lost the lead.
Who to watch for
We haven’t really seen the breakout of Alex Formenton yet, but with his speed and linemates who can keep up with him, I think we’ll see something this week.