It would be hard to imagine one disappointing night in Ohio dampening the spirits of the Ottawa Senators these days.
A single deflection by Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand and elite goaltending by Joonas Korpisalo was good enough to beat Ottawa on Monday night, but the Senators have still managed to post a 7-3-0 record in their last 10 games.
A good showing, but the NHL is all about accumulating points and coming away with something in the standings even on the down nights.
After a scoreless 40 minutes, Ottawa iced the puck, Boone Jenner won the ensuing faceoff and Bjorkstrand redirected Zach Werenski’s shot past Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, who played a strong game throughout.
As they say, it was just tough sledding and one of those nights.
“There wasn’t much out there for either team,” said Ottawa coach D.J. Smith after the 1-0 loss. “They stayed with it a little bit longer than we did. You could tell in the middle of the second there wasn’t much for either team.
“They end up with a faceoff goal where we can’t change, and that’s the winning goal.”
Hard-hitting defenseman Nikita Zaitsev returned to Ottawa’s lineup against Columbus after traveling to Russia for personal reasons and missing one game.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau has had a breakout campaign and leads the Senators with 13 goals, while Anthony Duclair, playing for his fifth team since his NHL debut in the 2014-15 season, is second with 10.
In a week featuring two Original Six matchups, Boston walloped the Canadiens 8-1 in Montreal on Tuesday night behind David Pastrnak’s sixth career hat trick and 3-point outings from Brad Marchand, Sean Kuraly and Charlie Coyle.
The Bruins also beat Montreal ace goalie Carey Price without one of their top forwards and team leaders — Patrice Bergeron.
The 34-year-old center is out with a lower-body injury and did not travel with the club on its two-game road trip to Montreal and Ottawa.
Bergeron did not play in games on Nov. 16 and Nov. 19 but returned for the next two. However, he did not practice with the team on Monday as they prepared for the Canadiens.
Reports off the ice are that Bergeron is recuperating in a timely manner and could be back in the Bruins’ lineup when they host an Original Six showdown against the New York Rangers on Friday.
Center David Krejci has moved up to Boston’s top line in place of Bergeron, a four-time winner of the Frank J. Selke trophy, which honors the NHL’s top defensive forward.
Bergeron and former Canadiens winger Bob Gainey are the only four-time recipients of the award.
Krejci will pivot between standout wingers Pastrnak and Marchand.
Marchand said the team will have to focus more on its defensive approach with the steady 200-foot game of Bergeron back at home in Boston.
“You realize how good he is at both ends of the rink, what he does to shut down other team’s top lines,” the right wing said. “He’s obviously a huge hole for our team to fill, but we just have to rely on the next guy in the lineup and collectively be really good.”
–Field Level Media