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Game 4 Preview: Senators vs. Jets

January 20, 2021, 11:13 PM ET [24 Comments]
Michael Stuart
Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Ottawa Senators have their chance at redemption on Thursday night. After dropping a should-have-won decision against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Ottawa will take to the ice tomorrow against that very same opponent. The Senators will be looking to avenge the 4-3 overtime loss, which saw them toss aside one of the best team-wide performances they’ve put together in recent memory.

To that end, throwing away a victory on Tuesday should leave the Senators with no shortage of inspiration for Thursday’s contest. Every player should want to go out and deliver a repeat performance, albeit with a different end result. There aren’t really lessons to be learned for the players on the ice; they need to do essentially the same things again.

Where there are lessons to be learned, though, is behind the bench. Head Coach DJ Smith’s decisions in Game 1 of this baseball-like series had a direct causative effect on the disappointing result. Playing Cedric Paquette with minutes left on the clock and a one-goal lead was confusing. Using Artem Anisimov in overtime made little sense. Even with the Jets pushing, this was a winnable game. Different personnel decisions could have garnered a different result.

While many of us would have liked to see Smith take some measure of responsibility for the decisions that led to the loss, the coach’s comments post-game suggest that he views the defeat as a learning opportunity for young players specifically. I don’t know what more players like Josh Norris, Drake Batherson, and Brady Tkachuk had to learn from a game in which they dominated play to the nth degree. Mistakes were made, but it wasn’t the “young players” making them.

If the Senators are going to flip the result on Thursday, they are expected do so with a very similar lineup as the one seen last time out:

With no morning skate scheduled for tomorrow, this provides the best guess as to what the lines will look like when puck drops against the Jets. Unfortunately, Tim Stützle is still considered doubtful with his minor injury.

Regardless of whether there are minor changes to this lineup or not, the job remains the same: The Senators need to earn a win to make up for the disappointment of Tuesday. If they can play the same way, they should put themselves in a position to do so.

As always, thanks for reading.
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