In the penultimate game of the pre-season, the Ottawa Senators were able to stay at just one loss so far (putting their record at 6-1-0), as they defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. It was an impressive road win, and now they just have one more exhibition contest on Saturday at home against the Montreal Canadiens.
Claude Giroux, Josh Bailey, and Jakob Chychrun scored for the Senators, and Anton Forsberg stopped all 21 shots on the night. Giroux's first goal was filthy, as he showcased his hands that are still there:
Bailey, who is still on a PTO, had a good game as he first had a nice goal:
And then Bailey made a great pass to Chychrun who buried it past Connor Hellebuyck with an excellent shot:
Hellebuyck had to stand on his head, and the Senators could've definitely had five or six goals on another goalie. The shots were 33-21 for Ottawa, and it looked like all lines were rolling, which was fantastic to see. Some things to note from the game and training camp in general:
- With Bailey sticking around this long, I feel like we will hear shortly that he will be given a contract. He has ties to both DJ Smith and Jack Capuano, and I feel like that contract is inevitable. I'm sure he brings some leadership, although the team has plenty of leaders now and I just don't see how he's more valuable than any of Jiri Smejkal, Roby Järventie, Egor Sokolov, etc. at this stage. If this was Bailey from a few seasons ago, then sign me up, but he hasn't impressed me much besides last night, and I worry he'll continue to decline. I hope he proves me wrong.
- The never-ending "will Josh Norris play?" saga continues, and yesterday DJ Smith said:
"he has to be 100% mentally at the spot that he’s going to go out there and do well. We’re working with him here but it’s a good sign that he’s out here.”
So part of it is a mental game for him as well, which is fair. It doesn't sound like he's at 100% yet though, and if he has to miss a bit more time so that he's fully healthy, then so be it. But it's very worrisome that he still isn't ready.
- There is no real update on the Shane Pinto situation. Ottawa doesn't have enough cap space to give him what he (reasonably) wants, and now that Jamie Drysdale has re-signed with Anaheim, Pinto is the only unsigned RFA.
- I continue to be impressed by Jiri Smejkal, and I hope he makes the team for opening night. He would easily fit in on the 4th or even 3rd line, and it seems like he's well-rounded enough to provide a little bit of offense, sound defense, and some toughness.
- Boy, it feels fantastic to not have to rely on just Thomas Chabot anymore. He has a great partner with Jakob Chychrun, but even beyond them, Artem Zub, Jake Sanderson, and Erik Brännström all look very solid. It's the first time I'm not even worried about the defense in years.
- Tyler Boucher's name hadn't been brought up much, although he was medically cleared to play and was assigned to Belleville. He's expected to make his B-Sens pre-season debut this weekend. It's an enormous season for him, and a big goal he should have is to stay healthy.
- The Senators will be off tomorrow and will be skating at 10:30 am in Ottawa on Saturday before their final pre-season game at 7:00 pm against Montreal.