The Ottawa Senators faced off against two of the league’s top teams over the weekend, and fared quite well. On Friday night at Canadian Tire Centre, the Senators shocked the #1 team in the NHL, opening up a 4-0 lead before cruising to a 6-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Mike Hoffman-Mika Zibanejad-Bobby Ryan line was exception, combining for three goals and six points. Mike Hoffman’s two goals and another one from Mark Stone helped to pace the pair in the hunt for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year, and it is only Filip Forsberg’s exceptional season in Nashville that is keeping them out of the conversation. Both youngsters sit top-five in rookie goals and points.
The Senators carried the confidence into a Saturday night clash with the rival Montreal Canadiens, but eventually lost 4-1. Despite keeping the game close, the Canadiens exploded to score two goals in the final four minutes and put a dagger in any comeback hopes. Erik Condra scored a wonky short-handed goal early, directing a harmless shot on net that fooled Carey Price and dropped behind him. Condra darted to the net and won the battle to pot the loose puck into the empty net. But it was to be the Senators only goal of the night.
The weekend games brought the Senators record on the season to 14-13-6. The Senators must grab more wins if they want a shot at a wildcard playoff spot, but there is a huge opportunity on Monday night when the team plays against the Washington Capitals. The Caps currently hold the last wildcard spot with 4-point advantage and a game in hand over the Senators. In a crucial “four-point” game, a Sens loss would widen the gap to six, while a win would shrink it to two points. Following the Capitals game, the comes home for the Christmas break. They will return to the ice on Saturday night, as they host the Detroit Red Wings in a critical division matchup.
The Ottawa 67’s continued their see-saw ways in their final games before the Christmas break. However, with a woeful road record, Ottawa’s 4-1 Friday night win over the Mississauga Steelheads could be a sign of progress. The 67’s peppered the Steelheads netminder with 44 shots, and 3 players – Jeremiah Addison, Evan de Haan, and Dante Salituro posted two-point efforts. On Saturday, left winger Brendan Bell scored the lone Ottawa tally in a 3-1 loss to the Barrie Colts.
The 67’s have no players at the World Junior Championship, which might be disappointing but means their full roster can take advantage of teams missing their stars. The Ottawa 67’s have a few days rest for Christmas break, but will return for a home tilt against the rival Kingston Frontenacs on Sunday, December 28.
Finally, Ottawa was host to World Junior “pre-tournament” game last night as Team Canada and Team Sweden prepared for the Toronto/Montreal tournament which begins later this week. Canada won 5-2, receiving goals from five different players and making the task easy on netminder Eric Comrie, who stopped 17 shots. The real tournament gets underway on Boxing Day, and Senators fans will want to keep an eye on Curtis Lazar, who is actually the oldest player on this under-20 roster. Prospect Nick Paul, acquired in the Jason Spezza trade, will also represent Canada. Senators defensive prospect Andreas Englund is also playing in the tournament, representing Sweden.
Title image courtesy of senators.nhl.com
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