The Ottawa Senators didn’t exactly put their best foot forward in their first game back at Canadian Tire Centre since venturing to Sweden to participate in the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series. The Senators would be wise to turn it up a notch in front of their home fans against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon before playing 10 of their next 11 on the road.
Ottawa native Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored on a breakaway midway into the third period on Thursday, but the Senators failed to muster anything else offensively and dropped the rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference final with a 3-1 setback to Pittsburgh. The 25-year-old has just two goals after 17 contests this season on the heels of erupting for eight during 19 playoff games in the spring. Arizona is far removed from entertaining any credible postseason aspirations after becoming the first team in NHL history to fail to record a regulation win in its first 20 games of the season. The Coyotes made good on their 21st, however, as Christian Fisher increased his point total to 10 (three goals, seven assists) in his past 13 games by scoring and setting up a goal in Thursday’s 5-4 win over Montreal.
TV: 2 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona, TVAS, TSN5 (Ottawa)
ABOUT THE COYOTES (3-15-3): Arizona, which owns the worst goals-per-game ratio in the NHL, managed just five tallies in its previous four contests before Thursday’s outburst. “The win is huge but the way we won is even better,” the 20-year-old Fischer said. “We were so resilient the way we played, with contributions from top to bottom.” Derek Stepan joined Fischer by netting a power-play goal against the Canadiens, but the former has just one tally with the man advantage in 21 career encounters with the Senators.
ABOUT THE SENATORS (8-4-5): Pageau collected a goal and an assist in Ottawa’s 3-2 overtime win at Arizona on March 9, with captain Erik Karlsson netting the decisive tally 40 seconds into the extra session. Karlsson has just one goal this season but the two-time Norris Trophy recipient leads the team with 16 assists on the strength of six multi-point performances in 12 games since returning from ankle surgery. Mark Stone has club-best totals in goals (12) and points (19), but failed to dent the scoresheet for the first time this month on Thursday.
1. Ottawa C Matt Duchene has failed to record a point despite posting a team-high 15 shots in the three games since being acquired from Colorado.
2. Coyotes G Antti Raanta has permitted 10 goals on 85 shots to drop two of three career decisions to the Senators.
3. Ottawa D Chris Wideman’s foray into playing forward has ended, as coach Guy Boucher told reporters that he has been diagnosed with a “ripped hamstring” and will miss multiple weeks.
PREDICTION: Senators 5, Coyotes 1