NHL Preview 10-17-19: Ottawa Senators vs Vegas Golden Knights

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53  Ottawa Senators  6.5  + 1.5 (+ 105)

54  Vegas Golden Knights  – 318  – 1.5 (- 125)

The Vegas Golden Knights hope to break a troubling pattern that has emerged early in the season when they host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night in Las Vegas.

The 2018 Stanley Cup finalists opened the season with a pair of lopsided revenge victories over the San Jose Sharks, only to lose their next two games to the Boston Bruins and Arizona Coyotes. They followed that with impressive back-to-back wins over the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings over the weekend.

The Golden Knights then dropped a sloppy 5-2 home decision to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

Next up is an Ottawa team that hasn’t played since losing 2-0 at home to the Minnesota Wild on Monday afternoon after garnering its only win of the season, 4-2 over Tampa Bay two days earlier.

A loss at home to the rebuilding Senators, who occupy last place in the Atlantic Division with just two points, and it might be time to hit the panic button for a Vegas team set on making another playoff run after blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Sharks in the first round of last year’s Western Conference playoffs.

“In hockey the biggest adversity you face is consistency,” Golden Knights center Jonathan Marchessault said after the loss to Nashville. “And it’s hard to show up every night. Obviously, it is something as a hockey player you struggle with a little bit. So, it’s on us to perform every night, and we weren’t performing tonight.”

Turnovers in their own end have been a glaring issue in several of the losses. The Predators took advantage and scored three goals in the span of less than seven minutes to start the second period en route to a 4-2 lead.

“I don’t think we were playing bad but every mistake we made was a mental error and it ended up in the back of the net,” said Vegas forward Reilly Smith. “It makes a big difference when they pot three goals and we give up a lead like that.”

“We gave them three goals,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We made some mistakes tonight that are uncharacteristic for our hockey team.”

Turnovers also were a problem for Ottawa in its loss to Minnesota, which came on the heels of a shocking win over the defending Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning — its only victory in five games this season.

“Special teams aside, we started to turn pucks over and we weren’t mature enough to continue to put it in like they were and try and grind out a low-scoring game,” said Ottawa coach D.J. Smith.

This is the first of a three-game road trip for the Senators that also includes stops at Arizona on Saturday and Dallas on Monday.

“They know the way they have to play,” Smith said of his team.

“Vegas, arguably it’s one of the most intimidating buildings (and) they’ve got a big, strong team, one of the best teams in the league. And then every team out there — Arizona, Dallas — these are all teams starving for victories and points in this league. We’re going to have go out there and play the right way to come back here with some points.”

Smith said he expects center Artem Anisimov, who was a late scratch for the Minnesota loss with an undisclosed injury, to be back for Thursday night’s game.

Vegas Golden Knights: Media Notes

October 15 – Nashville Predators 5, Vegas Golden Knights 2
The Vegas Golden Knights suffered a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena. Nashville jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Kyle Turris potted his first goal of the night at 2:14. Mark Stone and Reilly Smith each found the back of the net before the end of the opening frame to send the home team into the intermission with a 2-1 lead. In the middle period, goals from Colton Sissons, Calle Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 4-2 edge after 40 minutes. Nashville scored again early in the third and clung to the three-goal lead until the final horn.

Golden Knights Record: 4-3-0, 8 points (2-2-0 at Home, 2-1-0 on Road)
Home teams in BOLD

October 12 – Recalled goaltender Oscar Dansk from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves
October 11 – Assigned forward Nicolas Roy and defenseman Jimmy Schuldt to the AHL’s Chicago Wolves
October 11 – Recalled defenseman Jake Bischoff from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves

Last season against the Senators
Vegas finished the 2018-19 season going 2-0-0 against the Ottawa Senators. The Golden Knights won the first contest, 4-3, in overtime (Oct. 28) after Jonathan Marchessault score the game-winning goal via penalty shot. Vegas also won the only meeting in Ottawa, 5-3 (Nov. 8). Alex Tuch led all skaters with four points (2G, 2A). In four total meetings since the Golden Knights inaugural season, Vegas owns a 3-1-0 record against Ottawa.

Chasing 100 Victories
The Golden Knights have a cumulative record of 98-59-14 in 171 regular-season games. Only three franchises have required less than 200 games to reach 100 victories in the regular season, with each entering the League in 1917-18: the original Ottawa Senators (165 GP), Montreal Canadiens (183 GP) and Toronto Maple Leafs (190 GP).

Atop The Pacific
Vegas has held a top-three position in the Pacific Division for 79% of their time in the League (308 of 388 days of regular-season play). Since divisions were first introduced in 1926-27, only two NHL franchises have finished among the top three in their division in at least each of their first three seasons: the New York Rangers (American Division; 1926-27) and St. Louis Blues (West Division; 1967-68).

Rookie Impacts
Cody Glass, the Golden Knights’ first-ever selection in the NHL Draft (No. 6 in 2017), scored in his League debut. At 20 years, 184 days, the Winnipeg, MB native became the youngest player to score a goal for the club while also becoming the first player to appear in a regular-season contest with the franchise after being drafted by them. On the season, he has recorded five points (2G, 3A) in seven games. Defenseman Nic Hague has also made his presence felt, recording his first career points, assists, in back-to-back games (Oct. 12-13).

October 12 VGK 6, CGY 2
Nosek, Stone, Carrier,
Stastny, Reaves, Glass
Fleury Rittich
October 13 VGK 5, LAK 2
Stastny (2), Smith,
Pacioretty, Stone
Fleury Quick
October 15 NSH 5, VGK 2 Stone, Smith Fleury Rinne

Stone Age
Vegas forward Mark Stone turned in back-to-back-to-back multi-point games to start the 2019-20 season (Oct. 2-8). It was the first time in his career that he recorded multiple points in three straight games to start a season and only the fourth time in his career he has had at least two points in three consecutive games. He recorded another multi-point game against Calgary (Oct. 12) and leads the Golden Knights with 10 points (5G, 5A). Since joining the Golden Knights, the Winnipeg, MB native has tallied 21 points (10G, 11A) in 25 regular-season games. He also finished with 12 points (6G, 6A) in seven postseason games during the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Reaves Finishing Checks
After leading the league in hits during the 2018-19 season, Vegas forward Ryan Reaves is picking up where he left off to start the 2019-20 season. Through seven games, the Winnipeg, MB native has recorded 37 hits, which leads the league. He tallied nine hits against San Jose (Oct. 4), which matched the most he’s recorded while wearing a VGK sweater.

-Vegas forward Paul Stastny was teammates with Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson (2009-11) in Colorado
-Vegas forwards Paul Stastny and Ryan Reaves were teammates with Ottawa goaltender Anders Nilsson (2015-16) in St. Louis
-Vegas forwards William Carrier was teammates with Ottawa goaltender Anders Nilsson (2016-17) in Buffalo
-Vegas defenseman Nick Holden (2010-13), forward William Karlsson (2014-17) and forward Jonathan Marchessault (2012-13) were teammates with Ottawa forward Artem Anisimov (2012-15) and defenseman Cody Goloubef (2011-16) in Columbus
-Vegas defenseman Nick Holden was teammates with Ottawa forward Mikkel Boedkerin Colorado (2015-16)
-Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault was teammates with New York forward Vladislav Namestnikov in Tampa (2014-16)
-Vegas forward William Carrier (2016-17) and defenseman Brayden McNabb (2011-14) were teammates with Ottawa forward Tyler Ennis (2009-17) in Buffalo
-Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was teammates with Ottawa forward Ron Hainsey in Pittsburgh (2016-17)
-Vegas assistant coach Mike Kelly coached Ottawa defenseman Thomas Chabot with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs (2013-14)

Ottawa Senators: Media Notes

LAST GAME: Oct. 14, 2-0 loss vs Minnesota: Stalock turned aside each of the 26 shots he faced to register the Wild’s first shutout
victory against the Senators and a 2-0 win over Ottawa at Canadian Tire Centre. The Minnesota victory was its seventh consecutive
against the Senators and the team’s fourth consecutive win in Ottawa. Both feats also occurred for the first time. A scoreless contest
through two periods, Rask’s first goal of the season 9:23 into the final frame proved the night’s difference. Parise scored into an empty
net at 17:41 to ultimately seal the visitors’ first win of 2019-20. Anderson turned aside 33 shots in a losing effort in goal for the Senators.

Scratches: Goloubef, Paul; Injuries: Anisimov, Balcers, Wolanin; Shots: OTT – 26, MIN – 35; PP: OTT – 0-5, MIN – 0-6.

WHAT’S NEXT: Ottawa continues a three-game road trip when the team visits Arizona on Saturday at 7 p.m. EDT. The contest will mark the first of two regular-season meetings between the Senators and the Coyotes and the lone matchup in the Valley of the Sun.

INJURY REPORT: LW Balcers and D Wolanin are on IR and will not oppose the Golden Knights this evening. C Anisimov missed Monday’s game against Minnesota with a lower-body injury. Total man-games lost: 11.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS: Recalled LW Paul and C Szwarz from Belleville (AHL) on Oct. 14.

OTTAWA vs. VEGAS – History:
2019-20 (0-0-0): Oct. 17 @ Vegas, Jan. 16 @ Ottawa
2018-19 (0-1-1): 10/28/18 @ Vegas (4-3 OT loss), 11/8/18 @ Ottawa (5-3 loss)
Series record: Overall: 1-2-0-1; Home: 0-2-0-0; Away: 1-0-0-1
Last Ottawa win: @ Ottawa: None; @ Vegas: 3/2/18 (5-4)
Last Vegas win: @ Ottawa: 11/8/18 (5-3); @ Vegas: 10/28/18 (4-3 OT)
Last OT result: 10/28/18 (4-3 OT loss) @ Vegas
Last shootout: None
Most goals, game: Scored: 5, (3/2/18, 5-4 win); Allowed: 5, (2x, last: 11/8/18, 5-3 loss); Both teams: 9, (2x, last: 3/2/18, 5-4 win);
Last Game: 11/8/18, 5-3 loss @ Ottawa: OTT Goals: Duchene, Dzingel, Chabot; VGK Goals: Marchessault, Theodore, Holden,
Carrier, Bellemare; OTT Scratches: Burgdoerfer, McCormick; OTT Injuries: Gaborik, Harpur, Pageau, Smith; OTT Goalie: Anderson;
VGK Goalie: Fleury; OTT PP: 0-2; VGK PP: 2-2; Shots: 30-42.

Career vs. Vegas: Boedker, DeMelo, Duclair, and Tierney are tied for the team lead in career games played (six); Ryan leads in goals (two); Chabot leads in assists (four) and in points (five); Borowiecki leads in penalty minutes (25) against Vegas.

ALTERNATE SWEATER: The Senators will wear the Scotiabank NHL100 Classic sweater, which was introduced at Lansdowne Park on 12/16/17 vs Montreal (3-0 win), on eight occasions in 2019-20 … The team earned a record of 5-5-0 while wearing the same sweater in 2018-19 (0-1-0 this season) … The Senators hold an all-time record of 109-71-7-21 when wearing an alternate; 24-15-2-1 when wearing a red alternate, 84-55-5-19 when wearing a black alternate and 1-1-0-1 when wearing a cream alternate.

HOME ON THE RANGE: Ottawa has earned a record of 1-3-0 at home this season … Namestnikov is the Senators’ leader with two goals at home this season while six players share the team lead with two assists respectively at Canadian Tire Centre in 2019-20 … Through four home games this season, Namestnikov leads the team with four points on home ice … The Senators earned a record of 18-19-4 through 41 home contests in 2018-19.

ROAD SCHOLARS: The Senators have a record of 0-1-0 on the road this season … Ryan, Sabourin and Tkachuk share the team lead with one goal each on the road this season while six players pace the club with one assist respectively while the Senators serve as visitors … Through one road game this season, nine players are tied for the club lead with one point each on the road in 2019-20 … The Senators registered a 11-28-2 record over 41 road contests in 2018-19.

FRANCHISE RECORD: Ottawa has posted an all-time record of 924-882-115-152 over 2,073 games … The Senators are 502-393-60-83 through 1,038 all-time home games and 422-489-55-69 through 1,035 all-time road games.

BACK-TO-BACK GAMES: Ottawa will play back-to-back games on 13 occasions in 2019-20 and will do so for the first time when the team visits the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4 ahead of opposing the Islanders in Brooklyn the following night … The Senators played 16 back-to-back sets last season and earned a record of 6-10-0 in the first half of contests on consecutive nights (0-0- 0 this season) while posting a 4-10-2 record (0-0-0 this season) in the second half of games on consecutive days.

ON THE POWER PLAY: The Senators are 0-for-17 (0.0%) on the power play in 2019-20 … Bobby Ryan was the team leader with seven power-play goals while Mark Stone (five goals, 12 assists) remained the Senators leader with 17 points on the power play last season … Ottawa has yet to tally multiple power-play goals in an individual contest this season after having done so eight times in 2018-19.

ON THE PENALTY KILL: Ottawa has overcome 18 of the 22 occasions the team has been shorthanded in 2019-20 to maintain an efficiency rating of 81.8% through its first five games of the campaign … The team has registered one (Tierney) shorthanded marker this season after recording four such goals in 2018-19.

COACH SMITH: D.J. Smith was introduced as the Senators’ 14th head coach in franchise history on May 23, 2019. A native of Windsor, Ont., Smith spent the four previous NHL seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs — the team against which he made his NHL head coaching debut on Oct. 2. Prior to joining the Maple Leafs (which was also the team for which he made his NHL playing debut in 1996-97), Smith guided the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals to a record of 135-53-3-13 over three campaigns which included his having been recognized as the OHL’s Coach of the Year in 2013-14. One year later, he helped the team capture the Mastercard Memorial Cup.

THREE ALTERNATES FOR NOW: In conjunction with the start of the team’s 2019-20 training camp, the Senators announced that the team would deploy three full-time alternate captains this season in veterans Mark Borowiecki, Ron Hainsey and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. For Hainsey, the team’s leader in NHL career games played (1,073), the Senators represent the third different NHL club (Atlanta, Carolina) for which he has worn an ‘A’. Borowiecki and Pageau, who were selected by the club (in 2008 and 2011) are serving as fulltime alternates for the first time in their respective careers. Both players, who each maintain strong community ties in addition to on-ice leadership qualities, were born in Ottawa.

DON’T HIT ON 15: The Senators return to T-Mobile Arena this evening for the first time since Jonathan Marchessault tallied the the 15th penalty shot goal in overtime in NHL history at 2:24 of the extra session to lift Vegas to a 4-3 win over the Senators on 10/28/18. Trailing 2-0 and 3-2, the Golden Knights overcame both deficits to take their only courtesy Marchessault’s winner. Ottawa enters tonight’s contest attempting to extend its point streak in Sin City to three games after the team emerged with a 5-4 win on the strength of a one goal, two assist-performance from Bobby Ryan in the team’s first visit to the Silver State on 3/2/18.

ALL-TIME LEADERS: Chris Phillips is the Senators’ all-time leader in games played (1,179) … Daniel Alfredsson leads in goals (426), assists (682) and points (1,108) … Following Phillips is Alfredsson (1,178), Chris Neil (1,026), Wade Redden (838), Radek Bonk (689), Jason Spezza (686) and Mike Fisher (675) … Neil leads in penalty minutes (2,522) while Patrick Lalime holds the lead in shutouts (30) and ranks second (283) to Craig Anderson (401) in games played among goaltenders. Anderson leads in wins (192).