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Paul, Batherson and Brown Emerge as an Elite Top Trio

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A bonafide top line emerged for the Belleville Senators this past week as Nick Paul, Drake Batherson and Logan Brown combined for 26 points over the last 4 games.

Jason Scourse

“With three games this weekend, two against a beatable squad from Laval, this would be a very good weekend to pick up oh, I don’t know, six points?” - Spencer Blake, February 7th, 2019.

So, that went well?

Friday, February 8 - Belleville 5, Laval 2

In arguably the most important week of the season, the BSens came out flying against the Laval Rocket to kick off a 3-in-3 weekend. Knowing both goalies would be busy, Coach Mann turned to Marcus Hogberg for the first game of the weekend and he did not disappoint.

Drake Batherson continued his tear of the AHL by opening the scoring a few minutes into the first. On the rush, Logan Brown slide the puck to Batherson who used excellent edge work and pivoting to spin around the Laval defender and slip the puck past Charlie Lindgren. After the Rocket evened the score, Filip Chlapik got on the board for his 12th of the season - establishing his career best goal total in the AHL. This goal was off a set play we’ve seen the BSens top powerplay unit execute successfully a number of times recently. The high forward, in this case Brown, quickly moves the puck to the side of the net where the low forward, in this case Batherson, is waiting to one time the pass into the slot where the third forward, Chlapik, is waiting for a one timer of his own.

The second period saw only one goal - Chlapik’s second of the game. An odd bounce saw a Chlapik shot return to Chlapik’s stick and he made no mistake beating Lindgren. Belleville wasn’t done quite yet. Paul and Jordan Murray each recorded tallies in the third period for an eventual 5-2 win.

Standouts

The Trio™ - Brown, Batherson and Paul compiled two goals and four assists to lead the charge. Brown and Batherson also played a large part in the production of our next standout.

Filip Chlapik - Chlapik was fantastic from start to finish - as evidenced by his two goal game.

Marcus Hogberg - He was busy having to face six powerplay opportunities but was solid throughout the game.

Here are the highlights, en francais.

Saturday, February 9 - Belleville 6, Laval 3

The second game of this back-to-back saw a couple more goals and only one change to the lineup - Filip Gustavsson.

This one started in familiar fashion when Belleville once again opened the scoring just a few minutes into the game. On the powerplay, Adam Tambellini threw the puck at the net and a pinching Stefan Elliot jammed home the rebound. Some strong work along the boards by Brown saw The Trio™ connect for another goal. Upon winning the battle, he moved the puck to Paul who made an impressive play to find Batherson on the backdoor for the easy score. Just before the end of the period, a weird bounce allowed Laval to cut the lead to one.

The second started the same as the first, with Paul scoring roughly two minutes in. The set play I mentioned before, with Brown, Batherson and Chlapik on the power play, was executed once again. This time, however, Chlapik’s one timer was stopped. Luckily, it popped right out to Paul who buried his fifth of the year. After Laval once again cut the lead, The Trio™ once again came together with a highlight reel goal. Paul chipped the puck out of the defensive zone to Erik Burgdoerfer, who found Batherson in the neutral zone. Batherson carried the puck over the blueline, dropped it to Brown who promptly fed it right back to Batherson and, well, the rest was history.

The third period saw Batherson complete his first professional hat trick after he stole the puck from the Rocket to create his own breakaway. Chlapik added another of his own and the BSens took their second game of the weekend 6-3.

Standouts

The Trio™ - Three goals and four assists combined.

Filip Chlapik - There’s a trend here.

The PK - An area where the BSens tend to hover somewhere between bad and average was perfect in four opportunities against Laval on Saturday.

Here are the highlights.

Sunday, February 10 - Belleville 4, Toronto 3 (OT)

Playing their third game in as many days, and this one being a matinee to boot, the Senators could have mailed this one in with excuses. In the other dressing room, the Marlies were coming off their own back-to-back game.

That being said, why should Sunday be any different than Friday or Saturday? Batherson opened the scoring for Belleville on a redirect from the point for his 16th of the season. As we know from previous meetings, Belleville-Toronto games have been exciting all year. To add to that excitement, Martin Marincin scored a bullet from the point with just over one second to play in the first to even things up.

The second was a little quiet, as the only goal scored was by Darren Archibald three quarters of the way through the period. Now sporting an “A” on his jersey in Belleville, Archibald buried a loose puck after a Toronto turnover below the goal line.

Coming into the third with a one goal lead, you had to know that Toronto would come out flying. Just 11 seconds in, Chris Mueller got a piece of a Marincin shot to tie the game. Halfway through the period, Jeremy Bracco obtained the first Marlies lead of the afternoon on the powerplay. As we know, this game was far from over. A few minutes later, Archibald found Tambellini cutting to the net and his backhand beat Kasimir Kaskisuo.

This one needed extra time and there’s no better way to walk you through what happened than this GIF, courtesy of @SensProspects.

Like, come on.

Standouts

The Trio™ - I hope you’re not bored by this yet. Two goals, two assist for Belleville’s top line.

Darren Archibald - He’s not a game changer most nights but Archibald’s goal and assist were huge for Belleville on Sunday.

Marcus Hogberg - The Hog stopped 31 of 34 shots.

Here are the highlights.

Final Thoughts

It feels like an eternity since we got to enjoy some semblance of success for a team related to the Ottawa Senators but the boys from Belleville have come to play recently. With their playoff hopes on the line, the BSens have started a slow climb up the standings and are now only four points back of the 8th place Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

As pointed out yesterday by Colin, Batherson and Brown appear to be unstoppable right now. During this stretch of nine games (6-0-0-3), Batherson and Brown have combined for 13 goals and 21 assists. Take a second to think about the magnitude of that. That’s 34 points between two players in nine games. With the addition of Paul, Belleville finally has an elite top line for the first time in franchise history. Even if they can keep up half the (insane) pace at which they’re scoring right now, Belleville will have a good chance to win every night for the foreseeable future.

These two have also set or tied a few franchise records for the Senators. Batherson now holds the record for most points by a player in a single season and, by default, the most points by a rookie in a single season. With his incredible game winner against Toronto this weekend, Brown is now tied with Gabriel Gagne for most game winning goals in a season with four. I think we can all expect Brown to hold that record on his own before the season is over.

Belleville’s push for the playoffs continues tonight as they host the Syracuse Crunch for a heated battle at CAA arena before welcoming the Cleveland Monsters for a back-to-back this weekend.

To paraphrase a guy I know, this would be a great weekend for, I don’t know, six more points?