Fresh off the throes of winning five of six at the Canadian Tire Centre, the team had a disastrous road trip, which saw them make a pit stop in Montreal prior to playing two games in Calgary and three in Edmonton.
The Senators were victorious in only one of those six contests, a shootout win versus the Flames.
The club is now a paltry 4-14-0 away from home this season. For the most part they’re deserving of this abysmal record. The Senators hold a negative-44 goal differential on the road – allowing 4.7 goals per game while scoring an average of 2.3.
The club has won on only two occasions west of Toronto all season encompassing four opponents.
Among season lowlights – the Senators were outscored over three games 16-3 by the Canucks on their opening trip. The Oilers duo Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have torched Ottawa for a combined 33 points in seven games, with five of those coming in Edmonton.
There’s a myriad of reasons for the Senators’ road woes, the majority may actually come off the ice. The team has played 18 of their first 30 games on the campaign on the road – more than any NHL team. They’ve spent an incredible 38 of their past 50 days prior to Saturday away from Ottawa – most of which spent in three different time zones.
Due to pandemic protocols, players must keep to their hotels. There’s no going for walks, touring visiting cities on off-days, no nightly restaurant visits. For the most part, players remain in their rooms and only socially gather in transitioned meeting rooms which act as lounges where they can watch tv as a group, play video games.
Professional athletes are no different than us in this way, cooped up in their rooms during this trying time.
Brady Tkachuk for one is excited to be home. “I think we’re all excited about getting home. In a usual year the road is a nice time to bond with a team and to be able to do stuff. With all rules and protocols, I know that guys miss their families. You still try to find ways to hang out in a safe way, but I think guys are excited to head home,” said Tkachuk prior to leaving Edmonton Friday evening.
“I know it’s going to be nice be at home, so that the older guys can be with their families. It’s going to be nice for them. It’s going to be nice to get back to our great city.”
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Mainly due to upcoming away games in Montreal and Toronto, Tkachuk and his mates start an astounding run Sunday of remaining in Ottawa for 33 of the next 36 days.
“It’s always better to play at home, not only for the matchups. As a group, we tend to play really well. We play hard in our building,” noted Thomas Chabot. Friday.
Chabot isn’t wrong. His team is 5-6-1 in the friendly confines of the Canadian Tire Centre, and with any puck-luck, the Senators should have a .500 or better mark on home ice this season.
Despite being nine games under .500 in 2019-20, their home record was 18-13-6 – enforcing the defenseman’s words.
With only one more extended road trip (four games) through Calgary and Vancouver left, the Senators play 16 of their final 26 games at the CTC, and will be able to enjoy home cooking and their families for 43 of the 56 days remaining in the 2021 season.