At least is was only the preseason, and the next game is when the action starts for real. The Ottawa Senators dropped both ends of a split squad double header against the Islanders by scores of 5-2 (played in Barrie, ON) and 4-1 in Ottawa.
If the game in Barrie went the same way as the Ottawa game, it was a bad night to be in a Senators uniform. The team looked listless as a whole and looked like a team playing in the final meaningless game after an all-too-long training camp.
Craig Anderson allowed 4 goals on 23 shots, but didn’t get much help from the team in front of him. It was essentially a no-hitter, with no intensity, no scrums and 3 total penalties.
The Islanders got on the board first, with Kirill Kabanov making a nice move to go around Mike Sdao, carry the puck around the net and feed it out front to Riley Wetmore who buried it past a sprawling Anderson. That goal wasn’t even done being announced in the building and the Islanders doubled the lead, with Anders Lee doing the work behind the Ottawa net, and fed the puck out front to Ryan Strome who found a soft spot in the defensive coverage. Those two quick strikes in the last few minutes of the first had them up by a pair after 20 minutes.
The future of the Islanders was on display early in the 2nd, while on a power play. 2013 first round pick (and recent contract signee) Ryan Pulock blew a slapshot past Anderson, assisted by 2012 first round pick Griffin Reinhart and 2011 first rounder Strome. The Islanders struck quickly again, as three minutes later Evgeni Nabokov caught the Senators on a line change and fired a long pass to Chris Bruton who sent Brock Nelson in alone, and he made no mistake. The lone bright spot on the night for the Senators came on a man advantage with just over 5 minutes left. Cody Ceci carried the puck through the neutral zone, gained the blue line and carried it on into the Islanders end. His heads up pass to Jean-Gabriel Pageau was right in the wheelhouse and the Ottawa 67’s-Gatineau Olympiques connections combined for the only Senators goal on the night.
Nabokov was replaced by Ken Reitter for the third period, stopping all 11 shots the Senators fired at him, including nice stops on Milan Michalek and Danny Hobbs. The third was scoreless, and by the time they announced the 50/50 numbers the building looked like a Florida Panthers home game.
SENSHOT’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
He does still need quite a bit of work in his own end, but Cody Ceci showed the offensive skill that made him the Senators 1st round pick two summers ago. His heads-up pass to Pageau for the lone Ottawa goal was a thing of beauty, as was his ability to gain the line and then stall to allow his teammate to get into position for the shot. He is good with the puck already, and with a little guidance from Luke Richardson, will get better without it.
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
- Basically, this was a game where the Senators went through the motions in an effort to get through it without injury.
- The two starting lineups were interesting. New York started both former Senators Matt Carkner and Peter Regin (both were also wearing “A”s) while the Senators countered with all three former Ottawa 67’s – Shane Prince, Corey Cowick and Ceci.
- Matt Puempel and Cory Conacher were the Senators who did the scoring in the other game, while Johan Sundstrom led the Islanders with a pair, and got singles from Kyle Okposo, Justin Johnson and John Tavares.
The Senators will finalize their 23 man roster tomorrow, and then will finally get to practice as a team, after carrying a lot of bodies throughout training camp because of these split-squad games. The Senators will have a few days to bond and gel, opening the season on Friday night in Buffalo.