If the Ottawa Senators have a kryptonite in 2021, it wears ugly orange uniforms.
For the seventh time in this unique season, the Sens were bested by the Edmonton Oilers, tonight in the form of a 6-2 defeat. Connor McDavid led the way with a goal and two assists, while Leon Draisaitl had two points of his own. Edmonton’s dynamic duo has now combined for a jaw-dropping 31 points against Ottawa this season.
In net, Joey Daccord was left still searching for his first NHL win, giving up six goals on 37 shots. At the other end, Mike Smith stifled most of what little offence the Senators mustered, as he stopped 23 of 25 en route to his ninth win of the season.
Things weren’t looking good for Ottawa before the puck even dropped, with Artem Anisimov being ruled out with a last-minute upper body injury. DJ Smith elected to run with eleven forwards and seven defencemen, and Josh Brown returned to the lineup for the first time since February 11th.
The game was prefaced by the Oilers’ annual Hockey Fights Cancer ceremony, wherein players from both squads held “I Fight for _______” signs during the national anthem, filled in with the names of loved ones affected by the disease. Brady Tkachuk paid tribute to his respective grandmothers, but also to our dear friend Brian Fraser, who recently passed away after a lengthy battle with leukaemia.
A lovely gesture by Brady. We miss you, Brian.
In a start that could perhaps be best-described as “Senators-esque”, the Oilers opened the scoring just 10 seconds in. McDavid fired a quick shot from the boards below the hash mark, and the puck somehow squeaked behind Daccord for his 50th(!) point of the season.
Ottawa responded a little under three minutes later. Catching Edmonton on a bad line change, Thomas Chabot streaked through the midlane, and threw a pass across the crease. The puck bounced off the skate of Tyson Barrie, and past Smith to tie the game.
Barrie would put one in the right net at the 13:45 mark, after a failed Chris Tierney clearing attempt. He had all the time in the world to rifle a high blocker shot past Daccord, and restore the Edmonton lead.
Despite heading into the second period down a goal, as they so often have this year, the Senators remained undeterred. On a powerplay nearly halfway through the frame, Tim Stützle fed Tkachuk with a gorgeous cross-crease pass, and his 10th of the year tied the game at two apiece.
Good gracious what a pass.
Alas, the Oilers would retake the lead following a powerplay of their own. Another poor clearing attempt saw Darnell Nurse uncork a high shot that handcuffed Daccord, and the Senators found themselves down 3-2.
Nick Paul had a breakaway opportunity not long after that was stopped by Smith, and Austin Watson couldn’t convert on a sweet Stützle pass off of a two-on-one, as the Sens saw a golden opportunity to change the course of the game fall by the wayside
A late Stützle high-sticking penalty queued up an Oilers powerplay, and — you guessed it — McDavid fed Draisaitl, who had all day to beat Daccord and send Ottawa to the third down 4-2.
Stützle’s rough second half of the night continued in the final frame, when a bad giveaway led to a Tyler Ennis goal, and boosted the Edmonton lead to three.
Gaetan Hass would make it 6-2 on a play where he dangled around Nikita Zaitsev, and Tkachuk knocked him into Daccord, who remained in the game after staying down on the ice and being checked out by the trainer.
When all was said and done, this would be our final score, as the Sens fall to 0-7-0 against the Oilers on the season.
- As things currently stand, Tim Stützle is struggling in his own end, but that’s to be expected for a 19 year-old player. He’s incredible offensively, and the rounding out of his game will undoubtedly come with time.
- Thomas Chabot had one of his better nights of the year. His goal won’t be hanging in the Louvre any time soon, but he played a physical and defensively sound game. Chabot finished every check on McDavid, and gave up no free ice, tonight.
- Speaking of McDavid, Josh Norris showed a little fire by taking a shot at him at the second period buzzer. The whole team appeared to be playing the superstar a little harder, which is something they need to do more of against all teams going forward.
- Joey Daccord was fine, all things considered. He’s still searching for his first career win, but the team allowed him to get absolutely shelled tonight.
- Brady Tkachuk did Brady Tkachuk things, as always. He scored a big goal, and was jawing with the Oilers as he left the ice./
Up Next: The Sens are back in action Sunday night in Ottawa, kicking off a six-game home stand, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Puck drop is scheduled for 7pmEST.