The Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders are both struggling teams. They meet tonight. Someone will emerge happier from the game.
The Senators have missed the playoffs during the last five seasons and they are likely to miss again. They currently have the second-fewest points in the Eastern Conference, while the Islanders have also been struggling. The Islanders are coming off a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.
The Senators Have Been Struggling Recently
The Senators have lost 10 of 16 (with a record of 6-9-1) since they began the season going .500 with a 14-14-2 start. They are 2-6-0 since January 9. During that period, they’ve been outscored 36-17. And the games aren’t close. Five of those losses have been by at least three goals.
The Senators’ special teams have been struggling. Despite ranking fourth in NHL power-play percentage at 26.29%, the team has only scored on 18.8% of its power plays over the last six games, and four of those goals came in a single game. Additionally, the team’s penalty-kill is suffering, with opponents having been successful on 25.9% of their power plays in the same span.
A frustrated Senators’ head coach DJ Smith told the media that “We’re going to shuffle the top nine. I mean, there are guys that are minus every night and it just can’t continue. That’s on me for allowing them to keep playing together. … And if you’re getting scored on, it’s not working. So we’re going to work on every line and we’re going to grind our way out of this.”
As the team tries to get back on track after coming off the rails during the past few games, in this post I’ll take a look at the player movements and the injuries the team has been facing.
Related: Ottawa Senators’ Brady Tkachuk: Building Block for the Future
Injury One: Josh Norris Is Out for the Season
Last season’s 35-goal scorer Josh Norris will miss the rest of the 2022-23 season after undergoing shoulder surgery. He was placed on injured reserve after re-injuring his shoulder during only his third game back. It’s bad news that Norris has been only able to play eight games this season.
Injury Two: Tyler Motte Getting Ready to Return to the Lineup
In some better news, Tyler Motte is close to returning to the lineup after missing games healing a broken finger. It’s not clear if he will be available to play in tonight’s game against the Islanders. Motte has played moderately well in his time on the ice this season. In 32 games, he’s scored three goals and added six assists.
Related: Senators Likely Winners of Epic Rebuild After Erik Karlsson Trade
Injury Three: Nikita Zaitsev Almost Ready to Return
Nikita Zaitsev is expected to return to the Senators’ lineup tonight against the Islanders. He’s been on the shelf since December 27 healing and rehabbing a lower-body injury. However, he’s been cleared to return after partaking in Monday’s practice. He has played 19 games this season and has had three assists.
Part 2: Player Movements
Player Movement One: Rourke Chartier Sent to AHL Belleville
Rourke Chartier has been sent to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators. He’s played six games this season with Ottawa, but he’s been out of the lineup with an upper-body injury he received in a game in late December. However, it seems he’s ready to play again but will get some game action at the AHL level before he returns to the NHL’s Senators.
Player Movement Two: Ridley Greig Could Make His NHL Debut Against Islanders
Ridly Greig was recalled from Belleville on Monday. He’s had a strong AHL season, with 12 goals and 11 assists in 28 games. There’s a chance he could make his NHL debut against the Islanders tonight.
Player Movement Three: Jacob Bernard-Docker Is Sent Down, But for How Long?
Jacob Bernard-Docker was assigned to the Belleville Senators on Sunday. He’d been playing on the Senators’ top pairing with Thomas Chabot. In 13 games, he’d registered an assist. However, there’s a chance the move is only on paper and the 22-year-old defenseman could be back with the big club for tonight’s game against the Islanders. That’s if Artem Zub (lower body) and Nikita Zaitsev (lower body) remain on injured reserve.
Related: OTTAWA SENATORS MAKE OUT LIKE BANDITS IN ALEX DEBRINCAT TRADE
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