The Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders are both struggling teams. They meet tonight. No one will emerge from the game happier.
The Senators have missed the playoffs the past five seasons and could miss again. They currently have the second-fewest points in the Eastern Conference, while the Islanders are also struggling. The Islanders are coming off a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.
The Senators have been struggling lately
The Senators have lost 10 of 16 (with a 6-9-1 record) since they started the season 14-14-2 over .500. They are 2-6-0 since Jan. 9. In that span, they’re outscored 36-17. And the game never stops. Five of those losses were by at least three goals.
Special teams of senators are struggling. Despite ranking fourth in NHL power-play percentage at 26.29%, the team has scored on just 18.8% of its power plays over the last six games, and four of those goals have come in single games. Additionally, the team’s penalty-kill has suffered, with opponents succeeding on 25.9% of their power plays during the same period.
One is disappointed Senators head coach DJ Smith told the media That “we’re going to shuffle the top nine. I mean, there are guys who are minus every night and it just can’t go on. It’s on me to allow them to continue playing together. … and if you’ve got the score, it’s not working. So we’re going to work on every line and we’re going to grind our way out of it.”
As the team tries to get back on track after going off the rails in the past few games, in this post I’ll look at player movement and the injuries the team has faced.
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 shoulder surgery. He was placed on injured reserve after re-injuring the shoulder only when he returned for the third game. It’s bad news that Norris has only managed to play eight games this season.
Injury Two: Tyler Mott is getting ready to return to the lineup
In some good news, Tyler Motte is close to returning to the lineup after missing a game recovering from a broken finger. It is unclear if he will be able 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 scored three goals and added six assists.
Injury Three: Nikita Zaitsev is almost ready to return
Nikita Zaitsev is expected to return to the Senators lineup tonight against the Islanders. He has been sidelined since December 27 for treatment and rehabilitation of a lower body injury However, he has been cleared to return after participating in Monday’s practice. He has played in 19 matches this season and has three assists.
Part 2: Player Movement
Player Movement One: Rourke was sent to Belleville of the AHL by Chartier
Rourke Chartier has been sent to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators. He played in six games with Ottawa this season, but was out of the lineup after suffering an upper-body injury in a game in late December. However, it appears he is ready to play again but will get some game action at the AHL level before returning to the NHL’s Senators.
Player Movement Two: Ridley Gregg could make his NHL debut against the Islanders
Ridley Gregg was brought back from Belleville on Monday. He had a strong AHL season with 12 goals and 11 assists in 28 games. He is likely to make his NHL debut tonight against the Islanders.
Player movement three: Jacob Bernard-Docker sent off, but for how long?
Jacob Barnard-Docker was assigned to the Belleville Senators on Sunday. He was playing on the Senators’ top pairing with Thomas Chabot. In 13 games, he would register one assist. However, there is 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. If Artem Zub (lower body) and Nikita Zaitsev (lower body) are on injured reserve.