Different score, same story.
Though the Ottawa Senators were able to generate something in the way of offence, their blue line and goaltending faltered once again, en route to their ninth straight loss. Jesse Puljujarvi scored his first two goals since returning from his lengthy NHL absence, and Mikko Koskinen stopped 23 of 25 Ottawa shots, as the Edmonton Oilers cruised to a 4-2 victory.
The Senators’ woes in the blue paint continued, with Marcus Hogberg giving up four goals on 25 shots, and remaining winless on the year. The defence once again couldn’t contain the Oilers’ speed, even with Thomas Chabot returning to the lineup. The forwards — despite fighting to the very end — couldn’t make good on five powerplay chances, and failed to truly break through until after the game’s halfway point, with goals from Cedric Paquette and Tim Stützle.
Despite appearing to yield a better effort than we’ve seen on this road trip, the first period soon proved to be the same old song and dance for the Senators. After out-shooting, and frankly outplaying the Oilers, they were again on the wrong end of a bad bounce. Darnell Nurse took a shot from the point, and Austin Watson inadvertently tipped it past Hogberg to make it 1-0 Edmonton.
A little over three minutes later, Jesse Puljujarvi made a rush to the net, and although his initial shot was stopped, Braydon Coburn inexplicably couldn’t tie Puljujarvi up or clear the rebound, despite being right on top of him. The Finnish youngster tapped the puck into the yawning cage for his first NHL tally in two years, and suddenly it was 2-0 in favour of the Oilers.
As we’ve grown accustomed to, the bleeding did not stop. Less than two minutes after the Puljujarvi marker, Leon Draisaitl skated down the right wing boards, and Hogberg vastly overplayed a quick shot, leaving the net wide open, and growing the lead to three.
As usual, the second period offered no relief. 5:30 into the frame, Puljujarvi deflected an Evan Bouchard point shot past Hogberg, and the Senators found themselves down by four.
They’d get one back, however, later in the frame. Cedric Paquette was able to corral Thomas Chabot’s point shot, and swing it past Koskinen for his first goal, and point as a Senator.
The third period was likely a product of score effects more than anything, but the Senators were able to save themselves from being blown out. They generated chances here and there, but didn’t break through until Tim Stützle scored a beauty with just 29 seconds to go in the game. He received a crisp stretch pass from Derek Stepan, and beat Koskinen with a deft release to halve the Edmonton lead.
Tempers flared at the final horn, as we’ve seen so often through the first 10 games of this North division. The fracas mainly centred around Zack Kassian and Brady Tkachuk, before Erik Gudbranson stepped in and exchanged blows with the Oilers’ tough guy. When all was said and done, however, Edmonton handed the Senators their ninth straight defeat, by a score of 4-2.
- The third period was the Tim Stützle show. He was easily Ottawa’s best forward, and blocked a huge point shot that saw him in pain for several minutes on the bench. His goal was superb, and just one of a few great chances. The Sens made the right choice by keeping him in Ottawa.
- The fourth line of Paquette, Stepan, and Austin Watson got absolutely caved in, tonight. They were the party on the ice for a few of the Oilers’ markers, and noticeably struggled to curb Edmonton’s offensive attack. If this is going to be a recurring thing, D.J. Smith can’t keep deploying them with such frequency, especially against the likes of Draisaitl and Connor McDavid.
- Colin White looked solid, once again. Safe to say he’s earned his spot in the lineup, going forward.
- The goaltending has been flat-out terrible for Ottawa. Neither Hogberg nor Matt Murray can come up with anything resembling a big save, and it’s getting to the point where I’m not sure what the Senators can do. Do you put Joey Daccord behind a d-core that’s going to get him shelled? It’s appearing to be a Kobayashi Maru.
- On the bright side, Mike Reilly had a resurgent night, statistically. He’s back on the right side of the possession metrics, and needs to maintain this steady pace./
Up Next: The Senators have their first meeting with the red-hot Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, from le Centre Bell. Puck drop is scheduled for 7pmEST.