Norris returns & scores 2G to lead OTT to a 6-1 win over WSH
Guest Writer: Ken Hawkins (a.k.a. khawk)
The past year has been a very frustrating one for Josh Norris. A persistent shoulder injury took him out of the lineup early last year, and led to a major surgery after an unsuccessful mid-season return. Then after extensive rehabilitation in the off-season, he tweaked something in training camp that kept him out of preseason action plus the first 3 games of the season. Questions mounted around whether he was ready to come back, and whether he could return to the 35G form that he showed in his last full NHL season. Finally the team made the announcement that he would be making his return to the lineup in last night’s home game vs. WSH.
With the stage set and the drama cued, Norris took to the ice last night. Many fans were no doubt holding their breath during his first faceoff, or the first major hit. But Norris took both in stride, and looked comfortable on a line with Batherson and Kubalik. And it didn’t take long for the moment everyone was hoping for. On a first period PP, Norris scored his first goal of the season on a nice cross-crease pass from Batherson. The sense of relief was palpable, and it was fitting that he could share the joy of the moment with his long-time friend Brady Tkachuk on the ice. That goal would prove to be the GWG, plus he would go on to score a 2nd goal early in the 2nd period, and be named the game's first star. Welcome back, Josh Norris… you’ve been missed.
Senators 6 vs. Capitals 1
This was the game Senators fans have been waiting to see, with all of the major pieces finally on the ice together. The benefit of three capable scoring lines showed their value, as players from all three lines including Stutzle, Giroux, Tarasenko, Norris, and Batherson had multiple-point games. The depth of the blue line was evident all night, with Sanderson in particular standing out in this game. Forsberg added a very strong performance with a number of big saves early on that could have changed the course and feel of the game. But from the 2nd period on, WSH had just 12 shots on goal, and OTT was attacking in waves. They looked the part of a formidable young team, and hopefully will continue this momentum as the schedule becomes more challenging.
NHL Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dJN6Do29JI
Three Key Stats:
- Norris had 2G including the GWG, and won 5/11 faceoffs
- Tarasenko had 1G-1A including the first goal, and now leads the team in scoring
- 19G is the most the Senators have ever scored in the first 4GP of a season
The Senators will continue their first home stand of the season on Saturday night with a game vs. the Red Wings, followed by another key divisional matchup vs. the Sabres on Tuesday. These 3 teams are the undisputed young guns of the Atlantic Division, and it will be very interesting to see how they stack up early in the season.
What did you think of Norris’ return to the lineup? Please leave your thoughts/comments below, and thanks for reading!