Senators split 2 game series against the Canadiens

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 04: Evgenii Dadonov #63 of the Ottawa Senators skates the puck against Phillip Danault #24 of the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre on February 4, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 04: Evgenii Dadonov #63 of the Ottawa Senators skates the puck against Phillip Danault #24 of the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre on February 4, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

After a 3-2 win over the Canadiens on Thursday, the Senators lost a well-fought game, 2-1. These games are the first 2 games in a season where the two teams will face off against each other 10 times.

1st game of 2 game series

Here is the link to the game preview from Daniel, if you want to check it out.

The Senators won the game, 3-2 and the young star Tim Stutzle had a goal and 2 assists.

3. 91. 2. 152. Final

Here are the 3 goals in order:

With his goal in this game, he scored 3 goals in a row, tied for the longest goal streak as teenager in Senators history. An interesting stat on Tim Stutzle, 2:38 TOI on the PP, 1st on the Senators forwards. It seems like DJ Smith is trying to ease Stutzle into the NHL and if this is the plan, I’m all for it. He had a few good things to say about Stutzle after the game.

"“Stutzle was unbelievable tonight. He was exception. Tracking pucks. He knows how your supposed to play.” -DJ Smith"

This game marked the season debut for Erik Brannstrom and he played pretty well. He had some pretty good breakout passes and moved the puck pretty well. DJ Smith did a good job easing Brannstrom into his season debut as his offensive zone start was 100% (via Moneypuck). Below is a tweet showing his stats:

DJ Smith had a few good things to say about Brannstrom:

"“Thought Brannstrom was great tonight. Moved pucks. He had confidence. He broke us out of the zone. To come in after no exhibition games and play this well is pretty impressive.”"

Matt Murray allowed 2 goals, 1 was due to bad defensive coverage by Stepan and the other due to an unlucky change of direction. Overall he played a good game, posting a save percentage of .947. Hopefully, this is the turnaround game that will allow Murray to regain his confidence.

It’s funny that the game the Senators get hammered in terms of possession, they manage to win while they lose the games where they dominate. It’s also funny how the 2 wins the Senators have had this season have come against the Habs and the Leafs. On the bright side, one of the players who finished over 50% in CF%, was Artem Zub (59%). He played a solid game overall, and with the addition of him, the Senators D-core looks much better than the beginning of the season. Speaking of the beginning of the season, DJ Smith made a few questionable decisions at the beginning of the season but games like this gives hope for what the team may look like in the future.

2nd game of 2 game series

The lines that DJ Smith deployed were pretty good. It might have been better if Stutzle was on the 2nd line, but if the plan is to play Stutzle and Stepan together and try to raise Stepan’s trade value, it can be argued that it’s a pretty good idea.

Coming into the game, the Senators announced that the team was going to wear the Reverse Retro Jersey, which are stunning.

Here is the Senators lone goal:

The Senators fell short in this game and the final score between the two teams was 2-1.

91. Final. 2. 152. 1

Although the Senators only scored 1 goal, they played really hard and had a few unlucky bounces. This was probably one of the best games the Senators played all season. They controlled the play really well (only Zub had a CF% under 50% – as shown below) and had some really good chances (2 xGF via Moneypuck).

Stutzle had a season-high 17:37 TOI and played really well again. As the star player, he was targeted by the opposition and therefore managed to draw 3 penalties. The Senators players will need to defend him more because the team can’t allow the opposition to take cheap shots at Stutzle. Speaking of penalties, the Senators did pretty well on the Power Play. They went 1-6 but had plenty of good looks. Both Power Play units looked good and PP1 had an average age of 23.6 as shown below:

PP2 had an addition of Brannstrom which helped a lot as they had quite a few good looks. Murray played another good game, posting a save percentage of .938. The 2 goals he allowed were hard to save, as the first of them he was screened and the other was a goal that came on the 3rd rebound. This is the 2nd game in a row where he allowed under 3 goals and if he could keep this up, it will allow the young Senators team to be more competitive.

A notable performance was Evgenii Dadonov, who played a solid game and DJ Smith probably noticed this as well giving him ice time as Dadonov finished with a TOI of 19:11, which was 2nd most as a forward. He made some pretty good plays like this:

Another bright spot was the bromance of Tkachuk and Stutzle and the clip below just warms your heart:

Overall, a pretty good performance against the Canadiens with a 1-1 record in the 2 game series. Lots of things to look forward to for the rest of the season, such as the development of Stutzle and other young players. This team plays really hard and DJ Smith is starting to make good decisions. Next up is the game against Mcdavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.