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Senators beat MTL after tough losses to BOS/CAR

February 26, 2023, 11:14 PM ET [153 Comments]
Guest Writer
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Guest Writer: Ken Hawkins (aka khawk)

In a borderline must-win game against Montreal on Saturday night, the Senators put up a 5-2 win on the strength of a 3-goal third period. However, the outcome masked what had been a disappointing first 2 periods that saw the Canadiens hold a 23-12 shot advantage. Shane Pinto delivered a critical momentum swing by tying the game at 2-2 in the late 2nd period, and OTT played like a different team afterwards. But the poor start, rare GWG from Austin Watson, and unexpected 2-point games from Derrick Brassard and Nick Holden provide evidence of a game won despite lacklustre performances by many of the team’s best players. It was good to see Julien Gauthier get his first goal with the Senators, but 60% of the offense shouldn’t be coming from the 4th line.

The Senators will need a far better 60-minute effort as they head into a crucial 2-game set against the Detroit Red Wings. The importance of these two games can’t be overstated, especially given the clear playoff implications and proximity to next week’s trade deadline. Pierre Dorion has done well in the past week with the Motte/Gauthier trade and in bringing closure to the Zaitsev saga. But an upgrade to the top-4 defence remains the most significant team need. Names like Chychrun, Parayko, Dumba, and Weegar have dominated the narrative, but the team’s salary cap reality could force Dorion to focus on a solution with less $$$/AAV.

Sogaard Continues to Impress

One bright spot of the team’s recent performance has been the play of rookie G Mads Sogaard. Selected in the 2nd round of the 2019 NHL draft, Sogaard is the highest draft-ranked OTT goaltender since Robin Lehner. At 6’7/195 lbs, his physical tools are self-evident, but his WHL/AHL results have not always reflected his potential. As such, concurrent injuries to Anton Forsberg and Cam Talbot might have ended the Senators’ playoff hopes. However, Sogaard responded by going 3-0-1 with a 2.65GAA and .919 sv%, and giving the team a chance to win every game he started. Talbot is now back in the lineup, but Sogaard has very much earned the back-up spot down the stretch.

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