Senators, looking to shrug off blowout, visit Ducks
ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Ottawa Senators hope to get on track during the fourth game of a season-high, seven-game road trip against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center.
The Senators (9-10-6) took one of their most embarrassing defeats in Winnipeg on Sunday, getting shut out 5-0 by the Jets.
Ottawa fell into a 2-0 hole in the first six minutes of the game and never responded, getting outshot by a 49-21 margin, including a 19-3 first-period differential.
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The loss was Ottawa’s eighth in the past nine games, and the Senators scored more than two goals only in its lone win during the stretch, a 6-5 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday.
Senators leading goal scorer Mark Stone was frank about the lack of effort by his team Sunday.
“That’s about as embarrassed as I’ve ever felt playing in the NHL,” he said. “We have to be ready to play, it’s about preparation. They walked all over us, we had no pushback at all.
Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, the two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman who has not reached his accustomed level of play due to offseason ankle surgery, agreed with Stone and feels that the Anaheim game is the first step in turning the season around. While Karlsson has facilitated offense (one goal, 16 assists in 20 games), his uncharacteristic minus-11 rating and lack of goal scoring are major factors in the Senators’ slow start.
“We have had too many of these types of losses lately,” Karlsson said. “We have to find some way out of this, but I do not think we are too far off. I think we need to find a way to stay focused when things do not go our way.
Matt Duchene, acquired by the Senators from Colorado in a three-way trade on Nov. 6, was expected to improve the offense with the departure of Kyle Turris to Nashville. However, Duchene has been a non-factor since his arrival. He has registered one goal and one assist in 11 games as he struggles to integrate himself into coach Guy Boucher’s system.
Boucher chose to remain positive after the Winnipeg loss, citing the play of goaltender Craig Anderson, who stopped all 27 shots he faced in relief of start Mike Condon. However, the coach stressed the importance of the back-to-back games his team faces against the Ducks on Wednesday and the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
The Ducks (11-11-6) have dropped seven of their past eight games as they continue to fight through injuries to impact players such as Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler that have contributed to league-leading 159-man games lost.
Anaheim concluded a six-game road trip with 1-2-3 record by dropping a 4-3 shootout decision to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.
The Ducks rallied from an early two-goal deficit to earn a point but missed out on the bonus point when they were held off the board by Vegas netminder Malcolm Subban in the shootout.
Anaheim general manager Bob Murray bolstered the center position last week by acquiring Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi from the New Jersey Devils in the hopes of upgrading the league’s 28th-ranked offense.
Blandisi is not immune from the injury bug, missing the Vegas game with an upper-body ailment. He is listed day-to-day.
Top pair defenseman Hampus Lindholm missed the Tuesday game with an upper-body injury and is doubtful for the homestand. Jaycob Megna was recalled from Anaheim’s AHL San Diego affiliate, and he played almost 13 minutes in the loss to the Golden Knights.
“It’ll be something that hopefully it’ll settle down over the next couple of days and he’s ready for us in the short term here,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We don’t expect it to be a long-term issue. “We thought that Jaycob has given us some safe minutes and some solid minutes.”
There is a silver lining for the Ducks among all the bad health news. The Vegas game marked the return of Rickard Rakell to the lineup after he missed five games with an upper-body injury. Rakell leads the team with eight goals scored and has registered 18 points.
In addition, Duck winger Jakob Silfverberg resumed skating after missing three games with an upper-body injury. He is a possibility to face Ottawa.