The Ottawa Senators lost twice against the New York Islanders on Friday. First, their best defenseman left in the second period due to injury. Then, the Islanders scored five unanswered goals to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the last half of the game. The final score after 60 minutes read 6-3 in favour of the home team at Barclays Center.
After this game, the Senators remain last in the Atlantic Division and 28th in the NHL with a 15-19-4 record and 34 points. Meanwhile, the Islanders pull ahead to a 19-13-4 record and 42 points, which is good enough to rank fourth in the Metropolitan Division and 16th in the league. The Isles sit just two points away from a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Sens Take Early Lead
Mark Stone opened the scoring with his 17th of the season off a brutal Adam Pelech giveaway. Stone, the NHL leader in takeaways this season with 59 in 38 games, capitalized on this opportunity. After receiving the puck, he wheeled around in the Islanders zone and snapped the puck past a helpless Thomas Greiss.
The Senators went up 2-0 when Matt Duchene charged up the ice on a Senators power play, dodging a Johnny Boychuk body check, and sniping top shelf on the Islanders goalie. This was the 27-year-old’s 15th goal of the campaign, and his third in three games since returning from a groin injury.
The Islanders narrowed the score to 2-1 only 24 seconds later. Senators goaltender Mike McKenna made a poor decision to pass the puck directly to Mathew Barzal from behind his own net, who fed it to Josh Bailey for the goal against the out-of-place netminder.
Cody Ceci replied for the Senators with his fifth goal of the year. After 34 games, Ceci has already tied his total goal production from last season, which was achieved in 82 games. The 25-year-old’s short-sided high blast was enough to chase Greiss from the Islanders crease, who finished the night with an ugly 6.87 goals against average and a .824 save per cent.
Despite being down two goals, the Islanders had no quit. With a fresh Robin Lehner in net, they fought back relentlessly by scoring five unanswered goals. Meanwhile, the former Senators goalie saved all 10 shots he faced in relief of Greiss.
Barzal, Bailey, and Casey Cizikas were the key Islanders who fuelled the home team’s comeback. The 21-year-old Barzel notched 2 goals and 1 assist, earning him the first star of the game. The young centreman leads the Isles in points this season, and is just shy of a point per game pace. In 36 games, the native of Coquitlam, British Columbia has 32 points, including seven goals and 25 assists. Under Barzal’s drive, the other two players had a goal and an assist each, and rounded out the second and third stars of the game, respectively.
After Chabot’s departure, the Senators lead was quickly eroded and failed to hold. The Sens were outshot 17-29 in the final two periods, including 6-14 in the third period. Overall, New York outshot Ottawa 39-27.
Early in the second period, Ottawa suffered a major loss when their best defenseman left the game with an upper-body injury. Thomas Chabot received a hard hit from Islanders heavyweight Matt Martin, and immediately the game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.
This injury is a major blow to the already thin, young, and inexperienced Senators blue line. The 21-year-old has flirted with the NHL lead amongst defensemen for points this season. After 38 games, he has been on a point per game pace, notching 38 points (10 goals and 28 assists). He ranks 35th in league scoring, second amongst all NHL defensemen, and second on the Senators.
It is terrible news for the team if Chabot misses a number of upcoming games. Their next most productive defenseman is Max Lajoie, who has 13 points (7G, 6A) in 34 games.
The latest spell of injuries against the Senators is unwelcomed news as 2018 comes to an end. Two of their best players are now injured, as Chabot joins starting goaltender Craig Anderson on the injury list. Anderson suffered a concussion on Dec. 21 against the New Jersey Devils.
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Players became heated towards the end of the first match-up between these teams this year. In the final minute of the game, a total of 38 penalty minutes were handed out. Three fights erupted, including one tilt between Senators assistant captain Mark Borowiecki and Martin, another between Ross Johnston of the Isles and Christian Jaros of the Sens, and the last one between Ben Harpur and Scott Mayfield.
The close-out of this game sets up the next two matches between these hockey clubs as two not to miss. These teams play a home-and-home series on Mar. 5 on Long Island, and Mar. 7 in Ottawa, respectively.
- On Dec. 27, the Senators announced that Jean-Gabriel Pageau has been cleared for contact. The hometown native tore his achilles tendon on Sept. 14, the first day of training camp. He was expected to miss six months due to the injury. Although there is still no timeline on his debut this season, the 26-year-old appears to be on track for a full recovery.
- Also on Dec. 27, the Senators recalled goaltender Marcus Hogberg from Belleville (AHL). Hogberg could start the second of his team’s back-to-back games this weekend, against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals.
- Lajoie returned to the line-up after being a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career. The 21-year-old logged 21:46 time on ice, generating one shot, one hit, three blocks, and two penalty minutes.
- The Senators were one for two or 50 per cent on their power play against the Islanders.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
- Mathew Barzal, New York (2G, 1A)
- Josh Bailey, New York (1G, 1A)
- Casey Cizikas, New York (1G, 1G, 4 PIMS, 3 Shots)
The Senators immediately return home to take on the Capitals in the second of back-to-back games this weekend. It will be the second match-up between these teams in exactly one week. The Caps shutout the Sens 4-0 last Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre.
|Mark Stone (17)||Unassisted|
|Matt Duchene (15)||Bobby Ryan (14)|
Thomas Chabot (28)
|Josh Bailey (8)||Mathew Barzal (25)|
|Cody Ceci (5)||Chris Tierney (19)|
Mikkel Boedker (17)
|Anders Lee (14)||Unassisted|
|Johnny Boychuk||Casey Cizikas (5)|
Matt Martin (3)
|Mathew Barzal (6)||Leo Komarov (9)|
Anthony Beauvillier (3)
|Mathew Barzal (7)||Josh Bailey (22)|
|Casey Cizikas (10)||Tom Kuhnhackl (3)|
Cover Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray / AP
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.