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GARRIOCH: McDavid, Draisaitl just too much for Senators yet again


Oilers 4, Senators 2

The effort was better, but it was the same old result for the Ottawa Senators

The Senators only have one chance left to beat the Edmonton Oilers this season after the club saw its record fall to 0-8-0 against Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Co. on Wednesday evening with a 4-2 loss at the Canadian Tire Centre.

That will come Thursday night as the Senators close out the season series.

“It’s been a long season against them,” said centre Josh Norris, who scored his 10th of the season in this one. “We can’t go goose eggs against them the whole year, so I think we’ll find a way to get one (Thursday) and play a good game for 60 minutes.

“I thought we got away from it a little bit (Wednesday), but I thought we played a really good game we’ve just got to play more complete.”

Making his first start since leaving a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 18 with a lower-body injury, Marcus Hogberg was equal to the task by making 31 stops. He was tested a lot early and then held his own as the Senators found their legs to give the Oilers just about everything they could handle in the final two periods.

Draisaitl had a hat trick and four-point night while McDavid also had a four-point effort. Connor Brown also scored for Ottawa on Mikko Koskinen. Draisaitl scored his 10th into an empty net with .7 seconds left on the clock.

With four of five skaters caught on the ice for a long shift, McDavid scored the winner by beating Hogberg at 13:54 of the third. McDavid now has four goals and 19 points against Ottawa while Draisaitl has 10 goals and 21 points this season.

“We had a lot of guys going,” said coach D.J. Smith. “You’ve got to be able to take care of their big guys. We threw it into the track there in the third and then we weren’t able to get off the ice, we couldn’t get our matchup and they win the game.”

The Senators closed out a two-game road trip against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday with a 4-3 loss. The score was flattering to Ottawa because the club just wasn’t that good. If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, this one against the Oilers was a huge task — the Senators haven’t done a good job of handling the Oilers.

The key for the Senators was to try control McDavid and Draisaitl in this one, but they haven’t been able to shut them down all year and this was no different.

“No. 1, we’ve got stay out of the box. Their power play is really good and they can make some serious plays,” said Brown when asked what it will take to have success against Edmonton. “We’ve got to slow down those big guys. They’re on the sheet for every one of their goals and it’s everything to slow those guys down if we want a shot.”

Brown tied it up 2-2 by firing a blast by Koskinen at 1:02 of the third. That gave Brown a goal in five straight games, and this was a beauty as he fired it top shelf underneath the cross bar.

The Oilers took a 2-1 lead on the strength of Draisaitl’s 21st of the season and ninth of the year against the Senators.

He scored from below the right circle and what looked like an impossible angle to beat Hogberg at 17:26 to restore the lead for the Oilers. That goal by Draisaitl beat a record set by Joe Sakic and Owen Nolan with the Quebec Nordiques in 1992-93 for the most single-season goals versus the Senators.

They both set the mark in eight games that season and Draisaitl still has one more game against Ottawa with 10 in the books already.

Still, the Senators played a much better second period and outshot the Oilers 12-8.

Thomas Chabot did a nice job setting up Norris for Ottawa’s opening goal only 25 seconds into the second. Chabot did a good job circling the net after picking up his own rebound and then Norris was there to push it through Koskinen’s five hole 10th of the season.

After making two starts for the club’s AHL affiliate in Belleville, Hogberg found himself pretty busy as the Senators were outshot 17-7 by the Oilers. He had to make a few big stops, otherwise the score would have looked a lot worse than 1-0 for the Oilers.

“I felt pretty good,” said Hogberg. “The guys played pretty good, and I think the two games in Belleville helped me a lot to get my feeling back again and have some playing time. Before I got injured, I had two pretty good games so I just took that feeling to the Belleville games and felt pretty good.”

Hogberg had no chance on the opening power-play goal by Draisaitl that came on the Oilers’ eighth shot of the period. He took a pass from McDavid and fired a blast by Hogberg glove side. It was a questionable call on Artem Zub, but the Senators can’t afford to give those kinds of chances to the Oilers.

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Twitter: @sungarrioch

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1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

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