Sometimes it feels like the Ottawa Senators are never going to score again. This was certainly one of those times.
Matt Duchene was the centre of attention in this game, having been traded earlier in the day then facing his former team the same night. Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel were once again healthy scratches for precautionary reasons, as they too are expected to be traded in the next few days. That’s three incredible scorers gone, and it was certainly showing.
Sergei Bobrovsky got the shutout, but the Sens didn’t make him work hard. They’ve now gone 125 minutes without scoring a goal, culminating in a 2-0 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
If the Senators weren’t shorthanded enough by the loss of Duchene, they found themselves in a load of penalty trouble in the first period. The first twelve minutes saw the Senators on the penalty kill four times, each one taken by a different rookie (Lajoie, Tkachuk, Jaros and White). While the Blue Jackets had some great chances, in particular with Duchene and Panarin each hitting the post, the penalty killers managed to make it through relatively unscathed.
It was after the fourth penalty expired that the Blue Jackets got on the board first, with Josh Anderson scoring his 22nd goal of the season. Pierre-Luc Dubois shook off Logan Brown in the corner, and fed a pass to Anderson whose one-timer went past Craig Anderson. Dubois’ assist was the 100th point of his young career.
That was the only goal of the first period, with Ottawa not being able to convert on a late power-play.
The theme of penalties continued into the second period, but this time it was Ottawa with the man-advantage. The young players were given opportunities on the power play, at one point having Brown, Chlapik, Lajoie and Tkachuk all on the ice together.
It wasn’t successful, to say the least. It reached power-kill levels at times, with the Blue Jackets getting better chances than Ottawa. Neither team would score in the second period, keeping it 1-0 ‘Lumbus after two.
Continuing the same trend into the the third period, Columbus went up 2-0 off of a shorthanded goal. Cam Atkinson was sprung on a breakaway following a broken play in the offensive zone, and lifted the puck over Anderson’s shoulder for his 33rd of the season, doubling the Blue Jackets’ lead.
That wasn’t the end, unfortunately, as Oliver Bjorkstrand made it 3-0 with three minutes left. Chabot and Ceci couldn’t control defensively, and Columbus converted on the two-on-one.
Then it was over. Finally.
- The Sens managed a nice video tribute for Matt Duchene given the time constraint. Overall the reception from the fans and teammates seemed warm, with Brady Tkachuk messing around with him as Brady Tkachuk does.
- But to the fans that booed Duchene whenever he touched the puck... why? Sometimes I can’t help but scratch my head. You didn’t see that at all with DeMar DeRozan in Toronto.
- As for Duchene himself, he seemed to fit in just fine, being immediately slotted on Jackets’ first line. Playing with Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin is certainly a treat.
- For some positive news: the Belleville Senators got a huge win, beating the Toronto Marlies 5-3 without Chlapik, Brown and Batherson in the lineup. The divisional rival Marlies currently hold the playoff spot Belleville is chasing (they could also pass Utica or Syracuse), now only two points out of 4th in the division. Their point streak is now up to fourteen game!
- As for the rookies that Belleville was missing, they didn’t really contribute much for Ottawa. Brown (6:24) and Batherson (8:16) had the lowest 5v5 ice times, although Chlapik was given more responsibility with 12:31. They were all given significant power play time, although that ended up being a flop.
The Calgary Flames come to town this Sunday.