Give the Ottawa Senators credit. They simply don’t quit. After playing the Toronto Maple Leafs tough in a loss on Saturday night, they played the difficult Dallas Stars even tougher and won in overtime 4-3.
First-year Senators’ player Artem Anisimov, who’s playing time this season has been the victim of the Senators’ youth movement and team rebuild, scored in overtime for the victory. My personal favorite Senators’ player Tyler Ennis had put the team ahead 3-2 tie halfway through the third period, but the Stars came back for a needed point as they fight for a Western Conference playoff berth.
In this post, as the Senators wait to see how the trade deadline unfolds for the team just a week away, I want to help Senators’ fans stay up-to-date with the news coming from the team.
Item One: Artem Anisimov Scores In Overtime
Artem Anisimov scored at 3:48 of the overtime period to give the Senators win over the Stars. However, teammate Brady Tkachuk was the one who did much of the heavy lifting on the game-winning goal. Tkachuk set up Anisimov on a neat breakaway goal. It was Anisimov’s first game-winner of the season. This season the 31-year-old Russian depth center now has 11 goals and 15 points in 41 games.
Anisimov, who’s now with his fourth NHL team (the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and before moving to the Senators this season the Chicago Blackhawks), has had four 20-goal seasons in his NHL career; however, he’s not likely to make that milestone this season for two reasons. First, the Senators simply don’t score that much; and, second, he simply doesn’t get enough ice time.
Anisimov did receive high praise from Ottawa head coach D.J. Smith, who noted: ”I thought he was patient, I thought he passed the puck, he broke out well and had some offensive chances. We haven’t used him much as we continue to develop the young kids. In overtime I just kind of wanted to use everybody. Everyone kind of got a shot. Brady made a good play and he ended it.”
Item Two: Brady Tkachuk Keeps Growing as a Player
Brady Tkachuk played a strong game against the Stars, finishing with three points and playing his growing physical style all game long. The 20-year-old second-year player scored a goal and two assists and continued to grow into his leading role with the team. Tkachuk now has scored 36 points in 59 games on the season.
Anisimov, who was the beneficiary of Tkachuk’s hard work in overtime, said, ”He is really hard-working and never gives up on the play. He does all the stuff. He blocks shots, he hits people, goes to the net and can make plays around. He plays really well.”
Item Three: Craig Anderson Secures First Win This Month
In a bit of a surprise move, Craig Anderson was named the starter in the second game of the back-to-back on Sunday. Marcus Hogberg had been pulled in the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night; however, it really wasn’t all his fault – the team seemed to collapse in front of him for a short period of time. And, as Kelly Hrudey noted on the Hockey Day in Canada broadcast, he believed coach Smith would start Hogberg on Sunday.
However, it was not to be. Instead, Anderson came into the game and stopped all 14 shots he faced against the Maple Leafs for the remainder of the game. As a result, he was named to play in goal for Sunday’s home game against the Stars.
Good choice, coach Smith. Anderson was on top of his game on Sunday and stopped 36 of 39 shots in the 4-3 overtime victory. It was a solid performance, and it was also his first win in four starts during the month of February. Anderson’s record after this win is 8-13-2.
Anderson praised the team in front of him by saying, ”I thought we were pretty solid from start to finish. There were no lulls in our game. We were 20 guys pulling on the rope at the same time. We were playing fast, playing hard, possessing the puck when we had to. I don’t think we punted the puck too many times. I thought for sure we were playing with more poise and more confidence.”
What’s Next for the Senators?
It will be interesting to see what the Senators do with Jean-Gabriel Pageau before the trade deadline. He scored two points against the Stars – a power-play goal and an assist. It was his first multiple-point game in the last 18 games; however, his 22 goals for the season are his career-best.
He is regularly named in trade rumors as the trade deadline looms and with good reason. Pageau would be a good addition to a number of playoff teams and has 36 points in 57 games for the 2019-20 season.
Anthony Duclair, after a strong start to the season, hasn’t scored a goal in 21 games. And, in another milestone, the Senators’ Nick Paul played in his 100th NHL game.
The Senators host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. It’s the fourth game in the Senators’ current six-game homestand.
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