It was one of the most trying and difficult weeks in Ottawa Senators history. Assistant captains Mark Stone and Matt Duchene were dealt before the trade deadline, along with Ryan Dzingel. Then, the plans to relocate the hockey club downtown fell through. On Thursday night, it did not get any easier when the team suffered a 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at Canadian Tire Centre.
After their sixth straight loss, the Senators remain stuck at 49 points on the season, and own a woeful record of 22-37-5. Meanwhile, the Oilers improve their own poor record to 27-30-7 and 61 points. Despite ranking 26th in the NHL, Edmonton is just eight points out of the final Wild Card position in the Western Conference.
Bad Breaks Against Senators
At least three bad breaks cost the Senators in this game.
The first came on Edmonton’s goal by McDavid, which tied the game 1-1. An airborne puck got stuck in Oscar Lindberg‘s pants, and dropped on to the 22-year-old phenom’s stick right in front of Senators goalie Craig Anderson. With some slick stick handling, McDavid easily found the back of the net.
The second bad break happened in the third period when Ottawa’s Colin White appeared to tie the game 3-3. Despite the puck crossing the goal line, the referee immediately called no-goal due to a high stick on the play. The decision was deemed a judgement call by the ref that could not be reviewed. This kept the Oilers ahead 3-2, which was decisive in the final score of this match.
Finally, the third stroke of bad luck was once again against White. With the Senators on a power play in the final five minutes of the game, the 22-year-old took a tripping penalty deep in Edmonton’s zone. Upon replay, it was clear that the Oilers player dove and managed to sell the ‘trip’. This knocked out Ottawa’s only power play of the night and diminished any hopes of a comeback.
Goaltenders for both teams were great in the first period. Anderson’s biggest save came against McDavid from in close. Meanwhile, Edmonton’s Mikko Koskinen made saves on two breakaways. The first was on Anthony Duclair, and the second was on White.
Tierney opened the scoring with his seventh of the season. It was also his 41st point this year, which sets a new career high.
At 6:47, McDavid got Edmonton on the board with his 33rd of the campaign. It was also his 87th point. The 22-year-old is ranked third in the NHL’s point leaders in 2018-19. Shortly after, Gagner gave the Oilers their first lead of the night. This was his third goal in seven games since being traded back to the Oil. The 29-year-old was acquired by Edmonton on Feb. 16 in exchange for Ryan Spooner.
Cave added an insurance marker shortly after the start of the third period. The Senators would pull within one, courtesy of a rare goal from assistant captain Borowiecki. It was his first of the year.
After the no-goal call on the high stick, and the miscalled penalty against Ottawa, the Senators could not recover. Kassian scored an empty-net goal with 1:07 remaining.
Koskinen’s efforts were appreciated by this writer, despite him not earning a star in this game. The Finnish native played big in the Oilers net, stifling many offensive attacks launched by the Senators. After 60 minutes, he saved 35 of Ottawa’s 37 shots and concluded the match with 2.00 goals against average and .946 save percentage. It was his 17th win of the season.
- Zack Smith, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Mark Borowiecki are the team’s assistant captains after Stone and Duchene were traded earlier this week.
- Both teams entered this match seeking to improve upon the results of their previous outings. On Tuesday, Ottawa was blown out by the Washington Capitals 7-2 at Capital One Arena. On Wednesday, Edmonton was pummelled by the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 6-2 loss.
- The Senators hopes and plan to relocate to a new downtown arena in Ottawa has been put on ice, for now. A good summation of events in this complex and unfortunate ordeal can be read here.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
- Connor McDavid, Edmonton
- Josh Currie, Edmonton
- Mark Borowiecki, Ottawa
The Senators travel to Amalie Arena to take on the NHL’s top team, the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Tampa owns an impressive 49-12-4 record this year, along with 102 points. In the standings, their competition is not even close. They are 13 points ahead of the Calgary Flames, who are the next best NHL team with 89 points. Despite their dominating season, Ottawa is 1-0-1 against the Bolts this season. The last time these two teams met (Nov. 10) the Senators won 6-4.
Cover Photo Credit: Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.