The Ottawa Senators are now on a six-game losing streak, their second-longest of the season, but there were still some positives from this game. For starters, Colin White and Anthony Duclair seemed to get each other well. Duclair is a nice complement to White, and it’s good to see White with a winger that plays well with him. He may have found his best fit since *coughing fit* anyway, moving on. Losing 4-2 isn’t awful, especially since one of those Oilers goals came with the Sens’ net empty.
It’s important to remember that these Oilers have been awful, having lost seven of their previous nine coming into this game. It showed early, with both teams messing up passes, missing coverage, and giving lots of odd-man rushes. The goalies had to be sharp at both ends. Duclair sent White in on a breakaway where Mikko Koskinen was sharp, while at the other end a couple of grade-A scoring chances were turned away by Craig Anderson.
Chris Tierney opened the scoring on a solid play mostly of his own. Off the faceoff, he forced the puck back in front, then skated all the way around the net to get to the open spot, where Brady Tkachuk’s swing at the puck bounced to him and he potted it five-hole. I would argue that Tierney has been Ottawa’s most consistent centre this season, giving the Sens solid middle-six production. It was nice to see him playing well with Tkachuk and Drake Batherson, and to get rewarded with a goal. It was the only goal of the first period, with the shots 13-9 for the Sens.
The second period was pretty even, but the Oilers came out on top in both powerplays (2-0) and goals (2-0), though neither goal came on a powerplay. The first was a very Connor McDavid goal. Josh Currie smartly threw the puck in front in the direction of McDavid, Oscar Lindberg didn’t stand a chance, and then some quick stickhandling meant that Anderson didn’t stand a chance either. That also gave Currie his first career NHL assist. On the second goal, Anderson did a decent job of controlling the rebound of a Matt Benning shot, but then somehow Ty Rattie was able to get it and pass it to Sam Gagner through the crease, even though Dylan DeMelo, Colin White, and Thomas Chabot were all standing in the crease. The fact that none of them could take the puck, the passer, or the shooter was a little disappointing.
Not even two minutes into the first, the Sens fell more behind. Currie made another great pass to put Colby Cave in alone, and after some quick stickhandling he scored an easy goal over a prone Anderson. It was his first goal as an Oiler (and second of his NHL career). From there, the Sens took over the period, outshooting the Oilers 15-8. The Sens actually got one back from the unlikeliest of sources. Duclair used his speed to rush the puck up, then White hit Christian Jaros, and his attempt at a cross-crease pass was blocked, but Koskinen had already sprawled, so Mark Borowiecki picked up the loose puck and put it into a wide-open net. And he must’ve been going to the Mark Stone school of goal celebrations, because he was PUMPED.
It’s too bad it was his first of the year, because we could use those celebrations more often. I have actually noticed him jumping into the play more over the last couple months, so it was nice to see him rewarded with a goal.
The Sens kept pushing, but Koskinen kept the door shut. With 1:30 left, Boucher pulled the goalie, but almost immediately the Sens lost the puck. Tkachuk did his best to keep the puck from McDavid, and actually managed to haul him down, but McDavid still got the puck up to Leon Draisaitl while falling over. That allowed the Oilers to break out two-on-one, which with an empty net is a guaranteed goal unless you’re Patrik Stefan. And so the Sens lost 4-2, but it wasn’t a blowout my any stretch.
- The Tkachuk-Tierney-Batherson line had some offensive looks, but it’s too bad Batherson only got 11 minutes. It’s nice that he’s up from nine, but it’s still odd to me that in trying to move to a youth movement, Christian Wolanin is scratched, and Batherson’s ice time is kept low so Zack Smith can play 18 minutes.
- Duclair is fast, and White seems to be able to read his play. It’d be nice if these two could keep building some chemistry.
- Anderson actually looked pretty good to me tonight. Other than a couple of goals on which he was hung out to dry, he followed the play well.
- Is it just me, or has Dylan DeMelo looked a little off for the last couple months after being rock-solid to start the season? I’m not sure if it’s just that the team in general is bad, but I’ve not been as impressed with him recently./