After clamouring for Ottawa Senators hockey to be back for 10 months, the 2020-21 season is suddenly nearing its end. There are just 10 games to go in this shortened season for the Senators, and these final games might give us some insight into how this young roster could look next season.
The Senators are back in Vancouver tonight as they face off against the Canucks for the sixth time in 2021, with all five games going to Vancouver so far. Ottawa did make it to overtime and a shootout in the last two games respectively, so that was an improvement. Still though, an overall record of 0-3-2 is less than ideal. Vancouver is coming off of a horrendous wave of COVID-19 that went through their team, and it’s a bit absurd that they’re even playing games right now. Nevertheless, they’ve won their first two games since coming back (both against Toronto), so they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Here is how the Senators are expected to line up tonight:
Stützle - White - Dadonov
Formenton - Pinto - C. Brown
Paul - Tierney - Dzingel
Chabot - Zaitsev
Brännström - Zub
Mete - J. Brown
- Jacob Bernard-Docker will sit for the third game in a row in favour of Josh Brown. DJ Smith has said that he has liked what Brown brings in terms of making sure the Senators “don’t get picked on” and that he doesn’t want to rush JBD into the lineup. I can sympathize with some of that (especially since they don’t feature much “toughness” on the backend), but at the same time, he needs to get into some games at some point. He can’t be sent down to Belleville since he was signed after the trade deadline, so if he isn’t playing in Ottawa, he’s not really doing much. I don’t think having him sit out most games will hurt his development or anything, but it’d be nice to see what he can do. Who knows, maybe he’s ready for a full-time spot next season. But for now, we don’t know.
- The rest of the lineup is exactly the same as well, which makes sense. The Senators have looked great the past two games, and hopefully some of these lines and pairings can continue their chemistry. I particularly like the Formenton-Pinto-Brown line, which could be a perfect 3rd line for next season.
- The biggest difference for Ottawa over the past three games has been Matt Murray. He hadn’t got a shutout since October 26th, 2019, and he only had one other 3-game stretch like this earlier in the year:
Matt Murray with 3 straight good games for the second time this season (.914, 1.000, .929 in this stretch).— Trevor Shackles (@ShackTS) April 20, 2021
Let's see if he can get that to 4 for the first time all year
Getting more consistently good performances rather than alternating between great and terrible would go a long way to building his confidence back.
- The Senators have scored a powerplay goal in five straight games (three from Josh Norris, one from Brady Tkachuk, and one from Drake Batherson), which is quite the change of pace. Let’s see if they can make it six tonight.
- I like that Shane Pinto is getting trusted defensively a bit, as he is averaging 1:33 of SH TOI per game, which is fifth amongst forwards in the lineup. That’s not a ton, but considering he's played just two games and has received praise from the coaching staff, I can see him sticking to begin next season.
|Penalty Kill %||77.5||23rd||78.0||21st|
|Corsi % (5v5 SVA)||48.77||19th||46.76||28th|
|xGF % (5v5 SVA)||47.28||23rd||46.46||25th|
|Goals||Connor Brown||16||Brock Boeser/Bo Horvat||16|
|Assists||Thomas Chabot||24||Quinn Hughes||28|
|Points||Josh Norris/Brady Tkachuk||28||Brock Boeser||36|
|Shots||Brady Tkachuk||185||Brock Boeser||90|
|Time on Ice/GP||Thomas Chabot||26:39||Quinn Hughes||22:54|