The Ottawa Senators faced off against the Toronto Maple Leafs last night at the Canadian Tire Centre and for the second straight game, the Ottawa Senators defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With two very different rosters compared to the previous night, the Ottawa Senators hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs in their second preseason action. Last night was the first time fans got to see some of the new acquisitions from this summer, as Connor Brown, Ron Hainsey, Artem Anisimov, and Tyler Ennis were all in the lineup.
I spent the night live-tweeting the game from the official SenShot Twitter account, and I’d like to thank all the people that interacted with me, I had a great time and I’m excited about doing it again a lot during the season. I sent a tweet out after the game outlining a few players that stood out to me during the game, and I want to talk about a few of them here today.
I thought the entire line of Colin White, Brady Tkachuk, and Connor Brown looked very good from start to finish last night for the Ottawa Senators. I was excited to see them last night as this was the first time the three saw actual game action playing together, and the three of them did not disappoint. I liked how hard they played with the puck in the offensive zone. Brady Tkachuk was Brady Tkachuk, and that is never a bad thing! He spent much of his offensive zone time parked in front of the opposing goaltender, and Connor Brown and Colin White worked hard on the cycle game. All three players weren’t afraid to go and grind in the corners to get the puck. Essentially, they played a very physical and hard-working game, just like they are going to have to for much of the season if they want to be successful.
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I also really liked the play of Logan Brown last night, especially on the power play. I really liked that he was using his size and frame to make room for himself coming off the halfwall and in the slot to help create some offence for the team. His skill and vision are clearly evident, as is his size, the Senators just need to have him continue working on his skating for him to become a clear and evident top-6 forward in the NHL. If he continues to play like he did last night, he will be making a strong case for him to make the team out of camp. I’m really excited to see him continue to develop and fight for a spot over the next few weeks.
Next up was the play of Max Veronneau. Veronneau, who got into a few games at the end of the season last year, has kind of been the forgotten man amongst a group of forward young kids looking to make the Ottawa Senators this season. Max Veronneau made a strong case for himself last night as he took advantage of every opportunity he had. DJ Smith had him playing on the power play, and it was Max Veronneau who scored the Senators’ only power play goal last night. And what a nice goal it was!
Finally, as was the case the previous night in Newfoundland, I absolutely loved the play of both goaltenders last night. I thought Craig Anderson looked comfortable in the net and wasn’t guessing much on the shots. He was square to the shooters and always looked to be in control of the net. He only let in one goal, and it was an Auston Matthews laser to the top corner. Anderson played the first two periods, then gave way to Filip Gustavsson for the third period. Gustavsson came in and saw that vast majority of the third-period action in the Senators’ defensive zone. Gustavsson faced 18 shots in the third as the Leafs were putting the pressure on the try and tie the game. He allowed two goals on those 18 shots but overall looked very comfortable and confident in the net. He made some big saves to keep the lead intact for the Ottawa Senators.
If there was one big difference that I obviously noticed from the way the team played last night compared to the way they played last season was the aggressiveness of the forecheck. It appears that the Ottawa Senators have committed to playing uptempo, fast-paced, and aggressive hockey AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It was so refreshing to see the Senators send two guys in deep on the forecheck on multiple occasions instead of sitting back and waiting for the opposition. This coaching staff really excites me for this coming season. I don’t remember the last time the Ottawa Senators had such an experienced coaching staff in place.
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Then there was the play of Nick Paul. I was quite disappointed in his play last night. He didn’t show much that made me think that he deserved a spot on this roster come opening night. I’ve written before that I believe this is probably the last year for Nick Paul to have a chance within this organization to carve out a role for himself. He is going to need to show a lot more during training camp if he wants to show he deserves a spot. As of right now, I would think he once again ends up playing in Belleville.
The Ottawa Senators have two days of practice before taking on the Montreal Canadiens this Saturday at the Canadian Tire Centre, and we are expecting the team to announce more cuts either before the game Saturday or right after. The team then will be heading out west to take on the Vancouver Canucks next week. Oh, and the Ottawa Senators also announced a small piece of business today in signing Thomas Chabot to an eight-year extension. This is an absolutely great day to be an Ottawa Senators fan! I’M PUMPED!!!
Ottawa Senators fans, what are your thoughts on last night’s win? Which players stood out to you the most? Which players left you wanting more? Do you like the new way the team will be playing? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!