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PREVIEW: Struggling Ottawa Senators hope to repeat past success against Edmonton Oilers

Jan 30, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his overtime winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 30, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his overtime winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators are having a tough enough time keeping the puck out of their net and it may be even harder when they suit up for a road clash against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.

Ottawa’s top defenseman Thomas Chabot is listed as day-to-day after he crashed into the net in Thursday’s loss in Vancouver. Chabot will do what he can to suit up, but Artem Zub will make his NHL debut if he can’t. The Senators are also without defenseman Christian Wolanin.

“We’ll see how he is in (Sunday) morning,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said after Saturday’s practice. “We’re hopeful he can, but, if he can’t, then Zub will do the job for us.”

The Oilers and Senators also meet on Tuesday.

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The Senators were already in Edmonton and watched the Oilers claim a 4-3 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs to snap a two-game losing skid. Ottawa, which is in a complete rebuild, has lost seven straight (0-6-1) by a combined 33-12 since opening the season with a home victory over the Maple Leafs. The Senators are coming off a three-game manhandling at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks, who combined to beat them by a 16-3 margin in the trio of outings.

“We’re not putting pucks away and it’s hard to win games when you’re not scoring, but I feel we’re slowly starting to learn the type of identity we need to have,” forward Connor Brown said. “We’re getting lots of opportunities, lots of shots on goal, lots of o-zone time. We’ve got to stick with it and stay patient and we’ll get the bounces.”

For what it’s worth, the Senators have won six straight meetings in Edmonton and six of eight clashes with the Oilers.

That said, the Oilers are coming off an important win. They blew a 3-1 lead but won in extra time thanks to Connor McDavid’s second goal of the game. McDavid has collected multiple points in four consecutive games, including another highlight-reel, coast-to-coast goal.

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“Oh man, that’s just what he does. Incredible. I think it’s the second time this year everyone was just in awe after he’s done something,” said defenseman Tyson Barrie.

The Oilers have struggled to build any winning streaks this season, but coming off an important victory and facing a struggling Senators team gives them an opportunity to cobble together a winning streak, and they know it.

“We needed one of those games to go in our favor,” coach Dave Tippett said. “We’ve been around it but there’s been a mistake there or there or finding ways to lose instead of finding ways to win. Hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.”

“Hopefully it’s a turning point for us and we can go on a tear,” Barrie added. “We have to find a way to string some together. It’s a quick turnaround and hopefully we can get it going against Ottawa.”

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The Oilers did pay a price for the win, as defenseman Ethan Bear left the game and didn’t return. Since it’s the second half of games on back-to-back nights, it’s possible the Oilers will turn to Troy Grosenick in goal in place of Mikko Koskinen, who has played all 10 games for Edmonton to start this season. However, Tippett wouldn’t show his hand regarding his starting goalie for the clash.

–Field Level Media