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Sens lose another top player in back to back games in loss to the Canes

January 27, 2022, 11:55 PM ET [1 Comments]
Kevin Francis
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The Ottawa Senators lost a tough game tonight in a shootout 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes but even worse was the loss of Josh Norris who didn't return to the game after being knocked out late in the first period. DJ Smith did say they are hopeful that Norris won't be out for too long. You have to love the passion and desire of this team as they absolutely grinded out this game with so many regulars out of the lineup. Ottawa outhit the Canes 39-20 and outshot them as well 39-29 but the one stat that stood out was the 17 giveaways and it ultimately led to the tying goal when Egor Sokolov made a very poor clearing attempt. When you look at how balanced Carolina is and are relatively healthy too, Ottawa held their ground against a team that is top 5 in the NHL on the PK, PP, goals against, and goals for! Not to mention Carolina is the 2nd best team in the league 5 on 5.

The Sens' two goals were scored off deflections, the first by Nick Paul was deflected off D'Angelo of the Canes and the second goal was scored by Alex Formenton as he deflected a Victor Mete point shot. As for Matt Murray, he had another strong game in goal and is starting to show the consistency that many Sens fans had hoped for this year.

A few other positives to draw from this game was the play Austen Watson who has really raised his level of play with the injury situation. Another player that has ceased the extra ice time is Adam who now has 7pts in 9 games in a Sens uniform. Egor Sokolov tracked the puck better in his first game back with the big team since late November, which was something the coaching staff wanted him to work on in Belleville, but he still struggled at times with the pace of the NHL, leading to his -2 on the night.

Lassi Thomson had another strong game logging the second-most minutes on the blueline and was the only defenseman outside of Thomas Chabot to get TOI in OT! Thomson actually had the most TOI in the first period. He now has had back-to-back games with over 20 minutes of TOI and the coaching staff is showing a lot of confidence in this young player which is nice to see. When Erik Brannstrom returns it will be interesting to see who DJ takes out of the lineup on the blueline, or does he go with 7 defensemen? With the team so thin at forward, I would actually like to see the coaching staff try Josh Brown on the 2nd PP unit and put him in front of the net, much like the Sens did years ago with Zdeno Chara. They have nothing to lose at this point and it's worth trying with the injury list increasing each game.

One odd aspect I found with the way the coaching staff distributed ice time tonight was that Clark Bishop had 5:46 TOI. When you lose another center in Norris so early in the game, you would think he would get some increased time to level out the minutes as 4 forwards had over 20 minutes tonight which can't keep happening each game. It's crazy to think the center ice position now looks like this - Stutzle/Paul/Tierney/Bishop when to start training camp it was Norris/Pinto/White/Tierney. By the way, Stutzle's game sheet numbers were terrific once again and I think on too many nights, Sens fans are starting to take for granted how much he has elevated his game. He had 4 SOG, 5 Hits, 23:55 TOI which led all forwards!

If you are looking to watch some hockey on Friday night, the BSens host the Toronto Marlies at 7pm. Don't forget the Sens next game is Saturday at 12:30pm vs. Anaheim!

Thanks for reading.
Kevin
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