Senators try to solve home woes as Flames visit
Posted on: 11 Nov, 2023 at 08:42 AM
Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Ottawa Senators have one more chance to give their fans a jolt of hope before heading across the Atlantic.
After the Senators play host to the Calgary Flames on Saturday, they depart for Sweden to face the Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings in the Global Series next week.
The Senators, who are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, have just one win in their past four games and are on a 2-6-0 skid. They have taken five consecutive home losses.
"Obviously, we're working hard," Ottawa forward Drake Batherson said of his team's home-ice woes. "I think it's just a matter of getting bounces and just playing a full 60 minutes. But for the most part, we've been right there and clawing back in games."
The Senators actually erased an early 2-0 deficit just before the midway point against Vancouver but could not find the go-ahead goal.
"You've got to be ready to play when the game starts," said coach D.J. Smith, who is the target of Senators fans' ire. "We had a turnover on the first shift, and it ends up in the net. We had a turnover when it's 3-2 ... and it ends up in your net."
The Senators went into the season looking for a big step forward but find themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference instead.
"Nobody in here likes losing, and things haven't been going our way," Ottawa defenseman Jakob Chychrun said. "Nobody's feeling sorry for us. We've got to dig deep here and ... get ourselves out of this hole."
The Flames arrive after a taking a 5-4 shootout loss to the host Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
In a case of some-good, some-bad, the Flames trailed 4-1 early in the second period but pulled even and had plenty of chances to win in overtime. Instead, they experienced a second shootout loss in as many chances this season.
Considering the Flames are trying to climb out of their early-season hole, exacerbated by a six-game losing skid that ended last week, a comeback loss that has them on a 2-0-1 run is a positive.
"That's how a season goes," said Calgary forward Nazem Kadri, who is riding a five-game point streak during which he has collected two goals and five assists. "There's stretches in a season when things are dry and things are hot. I like our effort and resiliency, and it's certainly trending in the right direction."
Part of Calgary's turnaround has been the infusion of energy and scoring from a couple of rookies recently summoned from the minors. Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil both scored goals in Toronto. Zary has hit the scoresheet in all four of his NHL games, with two goals and two assists, while Pospisil has two tallies in his three NHL outings.
"They've done a good job. They really have," Flames coach Ryan Huska said. "All of the guys who have come in and played for us for the last little while have played well. We need that. Not only is it something our team needs to be successful, but also is a push for some other players, too."
However, the Flames know they must shore up their game in a hurry to keep moving upward.
"The offense, everybody talks about, but we gave up four," Huska said. "We've got to challenge each other not to be that leaky."
--Field Level Media