All good things must come to an end. Hawks end Senators winning streak
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Matthew Moxley (aka Gord_Wilson_2.0)
After winning five games in a row and looking like a brand-new team, the Senators fell to the lowly Chicago Blackhawks in embarrassing fashion by a score of 5-0. Things got off to a bad start even before puck drop as Cam Talbot bowed out of the lineup due to injury leaving Mads Sogaard with the goaltending duties. To say he didn’t look ready is an understatement as he allowed four goals on just 11 shots. It seemed every chance the Hawks got resulted in a goal.
Not much positive to take away from this game other than it was unlikely the Senators were going to win all 20 games to end the year. The Senators can likely afford 6 or so losses in the final 20 games. You just don’t expect to lose to a team with lottery-pick aspirations if you are challenging for a playoff spot. The biggest loss tonight was not taking advantage of the Sabres loss to the Oilers tonight and gaining ground on the Islanders and Penguins in the standings. The good news, the Sens still have games at hand.
This loss brings to an end some incredibly positive times in Ottawa over the last week or so. During the winning streak, the Senators have moved firmly into a race for a playoff spot, have acquired a star defenseman, and have more fans at March games than the team has had for the past several years. Whether this team will make the playoffs or not, this is the most positivity around the team at this time of the season in years.
Superstar Tim Stutzle
It's no surprise that during a winning streak, your best players are your best players. While it is no shock that Tim Stutzle has been good, it’s seriously impressive how good he has been. As posted by @BigHeadHcky, Stutzle is on pace to reach 40 goals and 90 points for the first time in his NHL career. Only 5 other players have managed this under the age of 21 in the post-lockout era in the NHL and the names are quite impressive:
- Alex Ovechkin
- Evgeni Malkin
- Eric Staal
- Steven Stamkos
- Connor McDavid
All 5 of these players could (most are locks) very well find their way into the Hockey Hall of Fame. That is an elite company. Tim Stutzle still needs to register 40 goals and 90 points, but he is well on his way should he have a few more multi-point games.
Ever since making the switch to centre, Stutzle’s play has erupted and went from being a projected star to now being a projected superstar. The one knock in the “summer of Dorion” regarding the top 6 forwards was that there was no elite forward amongst the group. They are just a group of very good forwards. This coming summer, you might have to start considering Stutzle to be an elite forward for the 23/24 season. He is currently 23rd in league scoring and 21st in points/per game while shooting at a slightly unsustainable 18.3%. The largest knock on his game is likely his sub-40% faceoff percentage. However, consider this, teammate Claude Giroux was not over 50% in the faceoff circle until his 4th year in the NHL. From there, he became a career 56% faceoff guy who is just shy of 60% in the circle this season in Ottawa. Tim Stutzle will enter his 4th NHL season next year. Sky's the limit for the German star.
Senators @ Kraken
The Senators will try to get back to winning ways on Thursday as they travel to Seattle to play the Kraken. It should not go unnoticed that in the blowout loss to the Hawks, Brady Tkachuk did his best to get some energy going and going as far as even challenging Alex Stalock to drop the gloves while the referee held him back. You wouldn’t expect much less from the captain. It’s safe to say, the Senators should come out with a better effort on Thursday.
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