If hockey pundits are correct, it’s likely to be a long week coming up for the Ottawa Senators. The team starts a three-game road trip in Boston, then moves to play the New York Rangers on Monday evening and the New York Islanders on Tuesday evening. Hopefully, the team can win a game and move up in the NHL standings.
The NHL Power Rankings came out from Puck Prose on November 1, and the Boston Bruins are ranked #1 in the NHL. On the other hand, the Senators are ranked 30th. Only the downtrodden Los Angeles Kings are ranked lower.
Playing Boston will be difficult. They might not be as talented offensively throughout the line-up as some teams, but they have one of the best lines in hockey (with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak [Pasta]) and are a hard-working team with character players. That makes them a good team to emulate, but a tough team to beat. The Bruins are a team the Senators would like to become if head coach D.J. Smith has his way.
As the Senators face a difficult weekend and early week, there are a number of news items emerging from the team. In this post, I will try to keep Senators’ fans up-to-date on what these news items are.
Item One: Craig Anderson Will Start Against the Boston Bruins
Senators’ goalie Craig Anderson is being rewarded for his fine play last Sunday against the San Jose Sharks when he stopped all but two of 36 shots thrown his way by the Sharks. The result was a strong game and a 5-2 victory for the team.
However, doing well against the Bruins will be no easy task. Boston has won four straight games and looks to make it five straight. Anderson will have to have a really fine effort for the team to stay close. It’s the tale of one team on the bottom looking up and another team on the top and looking down.
Item Two: Thomas Chabot Has a Neck Injury
Thomas Chabot, who has had a great start to the season with eight points in 11 games (one goal and seven assists), left practice on Thursday because of a neck injury. However, it looks as if he’ll be good to play on Saturday.
Item Three: Filip Chlapik Recalled from Belleville Senators
The Senators recalled 22-year-old Czech center Filip Chlapik from its AHL affiliate in Belleville this week. Because Colin White is out for a time with a hip flexor injury and Artem Anisimov is sidelined for at least a week with a lower-body issue, Chlapik looks to be up with the big club for a longer stay. Chlapik has played six games with Belleville this season.
Item Four: Jean-Christophe Beaudin also Recalled from Belleville Senators
Chlapik was not the only player the Senators recalled from Belleville for the next week. Jean-Christophe Beaudin, also a 22-year-old center, was recalled from AHL Belleville. He, too, will likely stay with Ottawa until Anisimov (who has a lower-body injury) returns.
Item Five: Erik Brannstrom Is Struggling for Ice Time and Points
The 20-year-old Swedish defenseman Erik Brannstrom scored his one and only career point on October 10th against the St. Louis Blues.
However, in the game against the Sharks, Brannstrom logged season lows in both shifts (14) and ice time (7:59). Is it possible head coach Smith doesn’t trust Brannstrom? The CBS sports depth chart has him listed in the second defensive pairing, but he’s certainly not playing up to that position.
Item Six: Scott Sabourin Being Rewarded for His Strong Defensive Work
Give 27-year-old right-winger Scott Sabourin credit for his persistence. He’s been kicking around professional hockey for 12 seasons now, but this is his first season in the NHL. And, his persistence and hard work have paid off. He’ll be staying with the Senators.
Sabourin hasn’t scored much (a goal and an assist in 10 games), but coach Smith appreciates his hard work on defense. As a result, he’s been told that he should prepare to spend time with the big club.
What’s Next with the Ottawa Senators?
If the Senators last three games are an indication, they’re quickly improving. I was able to watch the Sharks’ game and found the team to be hard-working, speedy, and playing with an edge. They largely took it to the traveling Sharks and won easily.
Probably, it’s more likely it will continue to be an up-and-down season for the team. But, credit coach Smith for helping them build a work ethic. They were fun to watch. Good luck in the team’s up-coming road trip.