After a slow start to the season, the Belleville Senators showed up to play this past week, taking two of three games. The skill up front for the BSens was on full display as prospects like Josh Norris, Vitali Abramov and, of course, Drake Batherson could be found all over the scoresheet this week.
Wednesday, October 23 - Belleville 3, Laval 2
Here are the highlights.
- Marcus Hogberg was busy in this win, turning aside 39 shots and being the catalyst in successfully stalling Laval’s comeback attempt.
- Norris, Filip Chlapik and Parker Kelly were the goal scorers, with Abramov, Joseph LaBate, Morgan Klimchuk and Jordan Murray adding assists.
- The line of Norris, Abramov and Max Veronneau was together again, showing skill and speed on a number of plays.
- Batherson lined up on Chlapik’s wing with Klimchuk on the other side - combining for a goal, an assist and 14 shots on net.
- Alex Formenton missed the game with a nagging injury.
- Norris was fantastic.
Friday, October 26 - Springfield 5, Belleville 3
Here are the highlights.
- Another start for Hogberg, after a fantastic performance on Wednesday, where he fell short in getting the win but still stopped 28 of 32 shots.
- Formenton returned to action, lining up on Belleville’s top line with Jordan Szwarz and Michael Carcone. This line got right to work, scoring Belleville’s second goal of the game.
- Belleville got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and forfeited that lead when they allowed Springfield to post three unanswered in the first half of the second period.
- Belleville scored on one of three powerplay opportunities.
Saturday, October 27 - Belleville 4, Providence 3
Here are the highlights.
- Belleville turned to Filip Gustavsson on the second night of a back-to-back - he posted a 0.903 SV%, allowing one powerplay goal.
- Troy Mann shuffled up the lines in a way that I’m a big fan of. Jonathan Davidsson joined Formenton and Szwarz on the top trio while the second line was a combination of Abramov, Norris and Batherson.
- The BSens went 0-for-4 on the powerplay and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
For those that know me, I’m not one to say “I told you so”. For those that really know me, you know that first statement is an outright fib. It comes as absolutely no surprise to me that Coach Mann saw instant dividends when he decided to play Norris, Batherson and Abramov together. After all, Abramov looked solid in his brief NHL stint this year and could have made Ottawa out of camp if it weren’t for an injury. Norris has been heating up as of late, registering two goals and five assists in his last four contests. And Batherson, we know, is Batherson.
When you put skilled players together, regardless of their pro hockey experience, things like this happen. This play starts with Norris picking up the puck and making a quick, heads up play to Abramov to initiate the breakout. One second the puck is on Norris’ stick, the next Abramov uses his agility to maneuver through multiple Bruins before hitting Batherson with the stretch pass.
Again, I’m not saying I told you so but also like... anyways.
Workin’ on our Roster Moves
As is the norm for a rebuilding team, there were many roster moves in the past week. JC Beaudin, Szwarz and Chlapik all saw time with Ottawa, playing mostly depth roles as has been the trend with Head Coach DJ Smith. The Sens signed Maple Leafs Legend Frankie Corrado to a PTO, working on adding strength and experience to a blueline in need of it. They also made a trade, sending Jack Rodewald to the Florida Panthers in exchange for prospect Chris Wilkie. What this particular move does for Ottawa and Belleville are two different things. For Ottawa, it brings the team to 48 contracts, giving slightly more flexibility to add another roster player which GM Pierre Dorion has been rumoured to be considering. For Belleville, for the time being, it opens up a top six spot on the right side. With Batherson, Davidsson and Veronneau all lining up at right wing, this takes one of Mann’s trusted wingers in Rodewald out of the lineup enabling him to give top 9 minutes to the prospects who need it.
There are also two BSens that, while sincerely missed in Belleville, are making an impact at the NHL level. This past week saw both Logan Brown and Nick Paul recalled. Brown has been spending most of his time with Brady Tkachuk and Anthony Duclair while Paul has secured (for the time being) a spot on JG Pageau’s wing with Connor Brown on the other side.
Guess we can call Nick Paul a certified sniper at this point. pic.twitter.com/QdX36fCxmk— NHL (@NHL) October 27, 2019
Receiving real minutes and real linemates seems to have worked for both players, as Paul had the best game of his career against San Jose and L. Brown has looked like a legitimate NHLer in his few games in Ottawa.
Who would have thought that putting prospects in a position to succeed would work? Not that I’m saying I told you so...
Styling and Profiling
The BSens continue to outdo their parent organization with slick uniforms. Late last week, Belleville revealed their alternate red kits and they are spicy.
I’ll take one Batherson, size large, if you’re looking to get me a Christmas present this year.