Ottawa Senators Fall 6-3 to Edmonton Oilers

We need to re-assess our expectations of this team.

The last few games have thrown me into the 2019-20 mindset.

The Ottawa Senators had the fans chanting “We Want Playoffs” against the worst team in the NHL, which is pretty funny in hindsight.

Even on the team’s previous stretch of victories, the biggest issues the team has faced still exist. A lack of center depth to compensate for the loss of Josh Norris, and a lackluster bottom six (one problem is partly causing the other!!!) Acquiring Jakob Chuchrun is great, but does nothing to fix those two flaws, and what’s more, the defense has indeed been worse as of late than it’s been all season.

With Thomas Chabot also out, they were ill-suited to take on the Edmonton Oilers tonight, but they at least made things entertaining for 20 minutes. I’m just upset that it’s taken me *this* long to re-adjust my expectations.

Giving off the impression that they had learned nothing from the Calgary game, the Senators gave up an early 2-on-1 by giving the puck away in the neutral zone with only one man in a position to defend. Adding insult to injury was the fact that it was the Oilers’ fourth line led by Derek Ryan that did the deed. Don’t get me wrong, though, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl would get their chance later.

Artem Zub drew a tripping penalty on Nick Bjugstad shortly after, which combined with having seen three consecutive games in which the Sens allowed a shorthanded goal, prompted me to Google “can NHL teams decline a penalty?”.

Fortunately, even though an opposing player scored on Ottawa’s man advantage yet again, it wasn’t on Ottawa’s net.

With the game now tied thanks to Brady Tkachuk’s pass to Vincent Desharnais, the game appeared to settle down for a bit. Claude Giroux had a nice deflection on Stuart Skinner, and Travis Hamonic recovered from a bad bounce to deny McDavid a quality scoring chance.

This wouldn’t last, however, as Draisaitl would regain the lead for the Oilers off a Tim Stützle turnover.

There would be opportunities to get back in this one, however. The first step was to hold off a few more rush attempts, preventing additional shots on goal. Next was killing off a Zub hooking penalty, giving up only a single shot in the process. Finally, they turn the tables after three straight games with a shorthanded goal of their own. With Patrick Brown sitting for hooking Draisaitl, Stützle capitalized off a nice pass from Dylan Gambrell to tie the game.

Overall, a strong first period in which the Sens, despite allowing some quality chances, outshot Edmonton 9-6.

The second period unsurprisingly caught up to the Senators, as they slowly but surely fell out of it. They first had an opportunity to take the lead after Cody Ceci dragged Tkachuk down — not the first time we’ve seen Ceci do this to an Ottawa player, though Brady’s the first forward it’s happened to.

Ottawa couldn’t convert, however, and Giroux went on to take a penalty as Edmonton’s expired. Despite Ottawa’s third kill going well, Stützle misplayed once again, failing to clear the puck out which more or less led to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins eventually putting the Oilers ahead 3-2.

The Oilers continued to apply pressure, and after another failed power-play attempt by the Sens, Draisaitl would get his second of the night, and his 100th point of the season.

To make things worse, the Senators, with numbers in their own end, let an Edmonton player waltz through their own end to score a beautiful goal with 0.4 seconds left in the frame. You’d assume it was McDavid, or perhaps Draisaitl. Darnell Nurse would’ve been a nice under-the-radar pick as well. But no. It was Bjugstad. 5-2 Edmonton.

The Senators didn’t give us much to enjoy in the third period, but there was more good than bad, especially compared to the second. Just 5:28 in, Stützle would get his second of the game and 34th on the year with help from a strong forecheck from Drake Batherson and Patrick Brown.

If not for the Sens heading off for an early second intermission, it would be a one-goal game. Wow!

Ottawa would come close to bringing the game to within a goal multiple times, but they couldn’t convert on either of the power plays they had. A rare defensive collapse by the Oilers led to fantastic opportunities for Giroux and Shane Pinto, but Skinner stopped them both. McDavid added an empty netter for a final score of 6-3, with Edmonton up in shots 33-32.

Game Notes

  • Even though Stützle made a couple of errors that directly resulted in opposing goals, he made up for it with a pair of goals himself. Hard to find players that can consistently contribute on the scoresheet during a three-game losing streak — he’s got 3 goals and 2 assists in that stretch.
  • I could get used to Jake Sanderson on the top pair. He led the team with 24:20 of ice time and made several good plays to hold the blue line, giving his teammates the chance to create more offensive opportunities./


Up Next:

  • With the road trip from hell mercifully over, the schedule itself will show no such mercy as the Senators return home on Thursday, March 16th, for a 7:00 PM EST tilt against the Colorado Avalanche./

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