The Ottawa Senators kicked off the season with two straight wins following their opening night loss. If you were wondering if the team was getting comfortable at home, look no further than last night's domination against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
Now 3-0-0 at the Canadian Tire Centre this year, the Sens have been playing some of the best hockey we've seen them play since, well, probably 2017. What's even more exciting is that Josh "Neuf" Norris returned to the lineup, making his debut after a gruelling and lengthy injury fuelled absence.
It would have been understandable for Norris, having missed so much time, to have a relatively quiet game. After all, while he's been skating and working out, he hasn't played in NHL action in what feels like an eternity. But quiet isn't a mode that Josh Norris operates within. Fans at the CTC got the wonderful opportunity to watch not one but two Neuf-Bombs hit the back of the net in Ottawa's 6-1 beatdown of the Capitals.
The other player to highlight before we get into the game notes is Jake Sanderson. This was a statement game for the 21 year old rearguard.
Not only was he excellent defensively, but he quarterbacked the top powerplay unit and added a goal and an assist.
- Not only did we get to see a Disney Inspirational Sports Film style return from Josh Norris, but we also got an Artem Zub bomb. What more could you want from a Sens win, really?
- Joonas Korpisalo has been a solid addition between the pipes for Ottawa so far but Anton Forsberg looked like he was playing at a different level last night. The Swedish netminder stopped 23 of the shots he faced for a 0.958 SV%. He's now 2-0-0 with a 0.933 SV% early in the season.
- Prior to the game, Drake Batherson talked about his connection with Josh Norris on and off the ice and he definitely walked the walk (skated the skate?) in Neuf's first game back. The winger had a pair of assists in 18:25 of ice time skating with his buddy Josh.
- Let's talk about Vladimir Tarasenko for a moment. There have been a lot of questions about Pierre Dorion's decision to add him to the roster given the lack of cap space but the Russian goalscorer has been nothing but fantastic. He had a goal and an assist against Washington, bringing him to six points through the first four games of the season. Will he keep this 123 point pace up? Absolutely not. But he's looked real comfortable in Ottawa's top nine thus far.
- Thomas Chabot and Jakob Chychrun have rightfully had their fair share of criticism early on. They've looked shaky at times and committed some mistakes as the two left shot defenders learn to play together. Last night, however, it was not a problem. The pair led all Sens skaters with 64.58 CF% and 64.29 CF% respectively while Chabot finally broke the goose egg and grabbed his first point of the season with this sweet, sweet dish to Papa Claude.
- Although he did assist on their lone goal of the night, Alex Ovechkin made his own history by going back-to-back games without recording a shot on net for the first time in his storied career.
- The final game note that has to be talked about... have the Capitals put the "Wash" in Washington?