The Ottawa Senators produced a spirited performance but were defeated 6-3 by the Edmonton Oilers in their first game since the NHL All-Star Break. Connor McDavid played a predictably decisive role in the outcome, chipping in with a goal and two assists for the away team.
While the Senators didn’t secure the result they were looking for, there were bright spots in their performance. Defenceman Erik Brännström scored his first goal in almost two years, beating Jack Campbell with a wicked shot from the left side. Jake Sanderson also produced a memorable display, making key contributions at both ends of the ice.
However, the Senators also have several negatives to take from their matinee defeat. While their performance ticked some boxes, they were blown away in the third period and lost netminder Anton Forsberg to a lower-body injury in the final minutes of play.
With that said, here are The Hockey Writers’ four takeaways from the Senators’ 6-3 defeat to the Oilers.
Senators Demonstrated Impressive Resilience in First Period vs. Oilers
The Senators bent but didn’t break in Period 1 thanks to an impressive start from their netminder. Forsberg kept his teammates in contention through the opening frame, with 13 saves from the 14 shots he faced before the buzzer sounded for the first intermission.
While the Senators were heavily out-shot and out-chanced by the Oilers in the first period, they stood tall through almost four minutes of penalty-kill time and refused to allow the away side’s early icebreaker to knock them off their stride.
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Shane Pinto produced the Senators’ best offensive moment of the first period, gliding through the offensive zone and leaving Campbell on his knees before hitting the post with a backhanded effort. Ottawa also hit the post twice and ended the period with a flurry of dangerous chances.
While the Senators would have preferred to not have conceded early, their response in the face of wave after wave of Edmonton pressure was admirable. They stuck to their task, with the support of impressive netminding, and rode out an early storm, which paid dividends after the break.
Senators’ Jake Sanderson Continues Standout Form with Second Period Goal vs. Oilers
Sanderson has been a standout figure for the Senators all season, but his performance against Edmonton was particularly impressive. He took difficult assignments in his stride, was a threat on the power play, and marked the second period with an early goal.
Sanderson’s goal vs. the Oilers raised his tally to 21 points (three goals, 18 assists) in 50 appearances this season, but it was his defensive work that was most impressive. The 20-year-old was physical along the wall with the likes of McDavid, made a handful of key interceptions, and proved that he has the temperament to stick with the world’s best players. He made a crucial defensive play midway through the second period, thwarting a cross-seam pass to deny a clear chance for Edmonton.
There is no doubt that Sanderson is in for a bright future, with his performance vs. the Oilers the latest example of his top-four ability.
Senators’ Thomas Chabot Made to Pay for Defensive Lapses by Oilers
Thomas Chabot endured an afternoon to forget, with McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi capitalizing on moments of poor concentration to secure the win for Edmonton. While the 26-year-old was caught flatfooted a couple of times, his play on the third goal will draw criticism.
Chabot had his pocket picked by McDavid while the Senators were on the power play and never recovered. His play on Edmonton’s fourth was also imperfect, with Puljujarvi drifting into open space and breaking away from Ottawa’s top defenceman.
All in all, it was a difficult afternoon for Chabot, with rust from the NHL All-Star Break a factor in his poor performance. It will be interesting to see how he responds in Ottawa’s next game as result.
Anton Forsberg Injury a Serious Concern for the Senators
Forsberg appeared to suffer an injury to his right knee in the final minutes, with the Oilers scoring their sixth goal on the play. While it is far too early to draw concrete conclusions from the incident, the Senators now face a goalie shortage.
If Forsberg’s injury is as serious as feared and Cam Talbot remains sidelined, the Senators will have to consider adding a netminder to their roster before the trade deadline. With Sanderson also leaving the game with an injury, Ottawa finds itself in an unenviable situation.
Looking Ahead for the Ottawa Senators
The Senators return to the Canadian Tire Centre on Monday (Feb. 13), with the Calgary Flames coming to town. After Darryl Sutter’s squad humiliated the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, it promises to be an enthralling contest.
After they face Calgary, the Senators will take on the New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, and St. Louis Blues to conclude a busy week. With the trade deadline on the horizon, every game will have an impact on how general manager Pierre Dorion approaches any roster decisions.
The Senators are in a pivotal stretch of the season. Stay up-to-date with the latest developments from Ottawa with The Hockey Writers.