Yesterday was a big day, as the Sens played their first preseason games of the 2022-23 season: a doubleheader against the Leafs. Even with the team split into two groups, it was exciting to get a first look at the players and line combinations.
Game 1: Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Ottawa Senators 1
- The first preseason game of 2022-23 gave us our first look at the much-anticipated DeBrincat-Stützle-Giroux line, as well as Jake Sanderson playing against NHL competition.
- The first line delivered on the hype pretty quickly, with Tim Stützle getting the Sens on the board first, picking up a great pass from Maxence Guénette and showing us all that his late-season dominance last year was no fluke.
Tim Stützle with the flick of the wrist #GoSensGo | @timstuetzle18 pic.twitter.com/VwSf8WXG2U— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) September 24, 2022
- Unfortunately, things went off the rails extremely suddenly in the second period, with the Leafs scoring three goals in quick succession. That lead would hold for the remainder of the game, with the Leafs capping things off with an empty-netter at the end.
- Letting in those three goals in the second is pretty hard to overlook, but I wouldn’t blame Cam Talbot entirely - he actually looked great between the pipes in the first period, and played behind some pretty shaky defense. I had him written down as one of the best players after the first period, so, it’s not all bad.
- Maxence Guénette was one of the biggest standouts in this game. We tend to forget about Guénette with how many high end prospects the team has on defense, but he seems to realize that he’s fighting for a spot right now.
- Sanderson also looked excellent - making several spectacular defensive plays and looking good in the offensive zone as well. If he keeps this up in the regular season, that could be huge for the team.
Game 2: Ottawa Senators 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 2
- The 7pm lineup brought a bit more familiarity, as it featured last year’s first line and the Chabot-Zub pairing. We did get a first look at the new and improved third line, though, as well as more of Lassi Thomson and Jacob Bernard-Docker.
- This time around saw a bit of a reversal of fortunes compared to the first game, as the Leafs struck first, with Calle Jarnkrok scoring two goals in the second period.
- The Sens came back and mounted an impressive comeback, however, kicked off by an absolutely ridiculous goal by Angus Crookshank off and even more ridiculous feed from Scott Sabourin.
Sabourin ➡️ Crookshank for the #Sens first goal of the night!#GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/hlqRjS6XgG— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) September 25, 2022
- A signature Josh Norris Powerplay goal tied the game. Alex DeBrincat who?
- Mark Kastelic gave Ottawa the lead, and Tyler Motte sealed the deal with an empty netter.
- As with the other game, I’d say that even though the overall team defense could do with some work, the individual young defensive prospects impressed. The pairing of Jorian Donovan and Lassi Thomson did especially well in the second game.
Today is Fan Fest day, so the players will mostly be busy meeting fans, although we should get some content from panels and a scrimmage. Typing that out gave me vivid flashbacks to watching Clarke MacArthur get injured at a Fan Fest scrimmage a few years ago, but I’m sure this year’s attendees won’t have to be subjected to anything quite that harrowing.