Mon, 04 Dec 2023

Senators seek to extend Wild's slump in Stockholm

Field Level Media
18 Nov 2023, 06:25 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Ottawa Senators know they didn't play to their standards in their opening game of the Global Series in Stockholm, Sweden. They'll look to rectify that when they close out their overseas trip against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

The Senators were on the verge of steamrolling the Detroit RedWings in their opener Thursday, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period before adding another just over a minute into the second. But then Detroit came charging all the way back, scoring four times in less than eight minutes in the middle frame to tie it up.

Tim Stutzle saved the day for Ottawa, scoring with two seconds left in overtime to secure the win.

"It for sure is a good sign that we didn't just fold up and keep playing the way we were playing," coach D.J. Smith said. We were able to get it back and get two points."

The second period has been an issue for the Senators this season with 23 goals allowed, most in the NHL.

"Right now, the biggest for me is we're not breaking the puck out nearly as much and then we're getting disconnected looking for longer plays, whereas the first and third we're carrying the puck, talking," Smith said. "And then we're changing at inopportune times and then they quick-up you. We've done it to other teams. When we play good second periods, when we're playing at our best, we're quick-upping teams and out-changing them. Right now, we're getting out-changed."

Vladimir Tarasenko had a pair of assists Thursday to bring his season points total to 13 (three goals, 10 assists), tying him for fourth-most among the Senators. While he's picked up three assists in his past four games, he hasn't scored since Oct. 24, a stretch of eight games.

The Wild, meanwhile, open their two-game set in Stockholm having lost three straight and seven of their past nine, going 2-6-1 during that stretch. They've been outscored 15-6 during their current three-game skid, including an 8-3 shellacking against the Dallas Stars on Sunday.

"You want to enjoy (Stockholm) and then you've got to understand what's on the line," Minnesota forward Marcus Foligno said. "Our season needs to turn quickly here. We're excited to get back at it, play another game, and we're hoping that Sweden can bring us some luck and we can walk out of here with two points (Saturday)."

After allowing just two power-play goals in their first four games of the season, the Wild have seen their opponents convert with the man advantage at least once in eight of their past 10 games. The penalty kill ranks last in the NHL at 63.5 percent, allowing a league-high 19 goals on 52 opposing power plays.

"We've had good discussions with the group," Minnesota coach Dean Evason said. "It's not just the coaching staff implementing something. We've communicated with our team and the guys that are killing penalties. We've made some adjustments, we have to make some adjustments in order to get better on both special teams but especially on our penalty kill."

Joel Eriksson Ek, a native of Karlstad, Sweden, leads the team with eight goals on the season. He tallied three times in four games before being held off the scoresheet against Dallas.

--Field Level Media

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