The vibes are not there. The Ottawa Senators are scuffling, going 1-6-1 in their last 8 games. Things seemed to be going so well in game 5 against the New York Rangers as they were about to get to 3-2-0 but then they blew a 2-0 lead late, and ever since then they haven’t been able to get anything going.
They’ve made some games close including ones against Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and Washington, but at some point, they need to get back on track. A 3-7-1 record has already put them in quite a big hole for their minuscule playoff chances, although it’s probably not best to think of this season in terms of making or not making the playoffs. Good processes and bad results would be very much acceptable for me, so that would mean better team defensive efforts, goals from Tim Stützle and Thomas Chabot, and more puck possession.
The Senators are in Boston tonight to play the Bruins, who they have not played since December 9th, 2019. Here are tonight’s projected lines:
Morning skate lines in Boston.— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) November 9, 2021
Tkachuk Norris Sanford
Stützle Paul Batherson
Formenton Tierney Ennis
Kelly Shaw Sokolov
Del Zotto JBrown
Bruins lines ahead of tonight's game with Ottawa:— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) November 9, 2021
- The Senators will be short-handed tonight, as Austin Watson, Connor Brown, Nick Holden, Victor Mete, and Dylan Gambrell are all in COVID-protocol. Jack Capuano is also out, so hopefully all of them are asymptomatic and it doesn't spread anymore around the room. The last thing they need is more players out of the lineup, but obviously their overall health is the most important thing.
- Anton Forsberg was supposed to start but is out with a non-COVID-related illness. Filip Gustavsson has been called up, but the starter has not been announced yet.
- Erik Brännström gets into the lineup for the first time this season, although only because of Holden being unavailable. So who knows how long he’ll stay up in Ottawa, which makes me nervous for him because any small mistake could cost him a spot here. Pierre Dorion called Brännström’s acquisition his “proudest day as a GM,” yet all the team has done since then is jerk him back and forth between the NHL and AHL despite icing worse players in Ottawa. I just hope he can finally stick with the team, and playing with Artem Zub is a massive boost. Ottawa desperately needs another puck-mover, but we’ll have to wait and see what they do with him down the road.
- Scott Sabourin and Egor Sokolov are also up with the Senators, with Sokolov making his NHL debut. He’ll be playing with Logan Shaw and Parker Kelly on the 4th line so I don't expect to see him very much. Congratulations to the 2nd round pick though!
- Splitting up Drake Batherson from the top line will be interesting as that can potentially get Stützle going, but that also means Zach Sanford is on the top line.
- Thomas Chabot leads the league in average time on ice for the second time in his career, this time at an all-time high of 27:11. It’s going to be difficult for him to keep shouldering the load of this defense corps.
- The Bruins are off to a 5-4-0 start with just 9 games played. They are without David Krejci and Tuukka Rask from last season, which would appear to have hurt them, but their underlying numbers are also much better as you’ll see in the team stats below. So I wouldn’t take them for granted at all.
- The last time Ottawa played in Boston was November 2nd, 2019, which was a 5-2 loss. Two years since playing against a division rival on the road just seems impossible.
|Goals||Josh Norris||6||Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron||4|
|Assists||Drake Batherson||7||Brad Marchand||10|
|Points||Drake Batherson||12||Brad Marchand||14|
|Shots||Nick Paul||33||David Pastrnak||39|
|Time on Ice/GP||Thomas Chabot||27:11||Charlie McAvoy||23:44|
|Penalty Kill %||72.4||26th||75.9||21st|
|Corsi % (5v5 SVA)||45.79||28th||54.64||4th|
|xGF % (5v5 SVA)||47.28||23rd||56.55||2nd|