The Ottawa Senators were shutout for the second consecutive game on Friday night, falling 3-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on home ice.
After the 60 minutes of hockey was played, Columbus nearly doubled the Senators in shots and found the back of the net three times. The final shot count was 40-22, and the visiting team earned goals from Josh Anderson, Cam Atkinson, and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Meanwhile, the young Senators struggled to generate scoring opportunities. Their chemistry was clearly in flux, and their inexperience was evident against a likely playoff bound team. The end result was a relatively easy shut-out win for Sergei Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets in Duchene’s first game with his new team.
After this game, Ottawa remains in last place in the NHL with a record of 22-34-5 and 49 points. Columbus, on the other hand, is in a battle to make the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. With their victory, the Blue Jackets march away with a record of 34-23-3 and 71 points. This places them 11th overall in the league and more importantly, third in the Metropolitan Division. Columbus bumped the Pittsburgh Penguins down into a Wild Card position.
Dual of the Goaltenders
Goaltenders at both ends of the ice came up clutch for their teams when called upon. At the visitor’s end, past Vezina Trophy winner Bobrovsky had a wicked hot glove hand throughout the match. After 60 minutes, Bobrovsky was perfect for his 25th win of the season.
At the home end of the rink, Senators Craig Anderson made timely saves on multiple Columbus scoring opportunities. ‘Andy’ earned the loudest cheers of the night in these moments. On the night, the 37-year-old finished with a 3.00 goals against average and a .925 save percentage.
The Duchene Blockbuster
It was a weird night of emotions and transition both on and off the ice at Canadian Tire Centre on Friday. Hours before puck drop, the Senators and Blue Jackets completed a blockbuster trade. The end result was Matt Duchene becoming a Blue Jacket. The native of Haliburton, Ontario left his old team by crossing the hallway at Canadian Tire Centre to join his new teammates.
A mixture of nervousness, suspense, and excitement filled the arena, as the Senators fan base braces for what could happen next to their beloved team. With the NHL Trade Deadline quickly approaching, the franchise teeters on the brink of a full-scale rebuild that could take between three and five years to complete.
Duchene’s trade was the first domino to fall. Also joining the Blue Jackets organization is minor-leaguer, Julius Bergman. In exchange, Ottawa receives a 2019 first-round pick, a conditional 2020 first-round pick, and two forward prospects in Vitaly Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson. A full summary and analysis of this trade can be read here.
Early in this game, Duchene drew a few boos but those were mostly silenced after Ottawa honored him with a video tribute thanking him for his contributions as a Senator. In his first game as a Blue Jacket, Duchene logged 19:11 time on ice, including 4:45 on the power play. Despite going pointless, he did generate three shots on goal and showed flashes of early chemistry with Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson. Duchene also won 53 per cent of his face-offs.
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Stone and Dzingel Wait
If one blockbuster trade is not enough, there could be at least one more, or possibly two, before Monday’s trade deadline at 3pm EST. For the past two games, a significant part of Ottawa’s offence and leadership has been missing. The Senators management has decided to sit assistant captain Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel in anticipation that one or both could be dealt. These players are currently Ottawa’s first and second point producing forwards, scoring 62 points in 59 games and 44 points in 57 games, respectively.
The Senators youth movement shifted into high gear upon Duchene’s departure and the uncertain futures of Stone and Dzingel. Added to the Senators line-up to fill these vacant positions are Filip Chlapik, Drake Batherson, and Logan Brown. All three are young, exciting Senator prospects who have enjoyed success with Belleville this season. Overall, the Senators dressed 10 rookies against Columbus. These players included Thomas Chabot, Colin White, Brady Tkachuk, Christian Jaros, Maxime Lajoie, Ben Harpur, Rudolfs Balcers, Batherson, Chlapik, and Brown. Despite composing approximately half of the Senators line-up, these players have a combined experience of just 498 NHL games.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
- Josh Anderson, Columbus
- Seth Jones, Columbus
- Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus
The Senators welcome the red hot Calgary Flames to Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday. The Flames are currently second in the NHL and first in the Western Conference. The boast a record of 37-16-7 and 81 points. This will be the first match-up between these two teams in the 2018-19 campaign.
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.