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Senators, Sharks look to end long losing streaks

Feb 27, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Ottawa Senators goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (70) makes a save during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The good news when the struggling San Jose Sharks play host to the reeling Ottawa Senators on Saturday is that one team will end a long skid. The bad news, of course, is that one woeful stretch will continue.

The Senators will finish a four-game trip during which they had their lone hint of success Thursday in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings, the latest defeat in an 0-5-1 skid.

Ottawa, which tied the score late in the third period to earn a point, saw the loss as a step forward against a Kings team on pace to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“We were right there for the whole game,” said goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, who returned to action after missing three games due to illness. “A couple unfortunate bounces, which decided the result, but I think we played a really good game throughout.”

Despite many expecting the Senators to be active ahead of Friday’s trade deadline, they were relatively quiet. Days after sending Vladimir Tarasenko to the Florida Panthers, Ottawa’s lone roster move was the addition of forward Boris Katchouk off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Senators might need him immediately. Forward Parker Kelly is scheduled to have a hearing with the league after his illegal check to the head of Los Angeles’ Andreas Englund. Parker might be suspended.

With the roster set, the Senators look to build some momentum after earning their first road point against a Western Conference team this season. It would help if young and talented forward Tim Stutzle could snap his eight-game goal-scoring drought.

“You just tell him to stay with it,” interim coach Jacques Martin said when asked about Stutzle. “He probably had three great opportunities (Thursday) so you are only worried if he is not getting any opportunities.”

The Sharks, tied with the Blackhawks for the last spot in the league, are riding a nine-game winless skid (0-7-2), but that’s not their only rough situation.

On Friday, the team traded away one of its few talented veteran forwards, sending Tomas Hertl and a third-round pick in 2025 and 2027 to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a first-round pick and top prospect David Edstrom.

“It’s an extremely hard day when you have to trade a player like Tomas Hertl,” general manager Mike Grier said via statement. “It’s rare to find the combination he brings in talent as a player on the ice and quality as a person off the ice.

“While difficult, this trade brings us two high-quality assets which includes an additional future first-round draft selection and a promising young center.”

San Jose also traded away goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for injured netminder Vitek Vanecek and a 2025 seventh-round pick, dealt defenseman Nikita Okhotyuk to the Calgary Flames for a conditional fifth-round pick this year and made a couple of minor deals. On Thursday, Anthony Duclair and a 2025 seventh-round pick were moved to the Tampa Bay Lightning for prospect Jack Thompson and a 2024 third-round pick.

“Sorry to see him go. He was just playing his best hockey here over the last five, six weeks. He’s been a great guy to coach,” Sharks coach David Quinn said of Duclair.

The trades cast a pall on the Sharks in the aftermath.

“It hurts. It hurts. A lot of emotional people,” Quinn said of the reaction.

–Field Level Media

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