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Team Reset

Ottawa Senators season snapshot

Tkachuk, Brown, Duclair spur improvement, but special teams prevent playoff contention

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL.com is taking stock of each of the League's 31 teams.

Today, a snapshot of the Ottawa Senators at the pause:

 

Ottawa Senators

Record: 25-34-12, 62 points

Playoff position: 19 points behind Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for first wild card into Stanley Cup Playoffs from Eastern Conference

After finishing last in the NHL standings in 2018-19 with 64 points, the Senators hired D.J. Smith as coach May 23 in search of better results.

In his introductory press conference, Smith said he was excited to coach a young team that he thought would surprise some people. After starting the season 1-6-1, Ottawa recovered and was 11-11-1 on Nov. 22. But the Senators have gone 14-23-11 since then and have fallen out of playoff contention.

 

More Senators season snapshot coverage: Awards | Fantasy honors | Memorable moments

 

As with any young team, there have been growing pains. The Senators are 25th in the NHL in goals per game (2.68), 30th in goals-against per game (3.35), last on the power play (14.2 percent) and tied for 28th on the penalty kill (76.1 percent).

But there have been positives, including forwards Brady Tkachuk, Connor Brown and Anthony Duclair. Tkachuk, the No. 4 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, has 21 goals and 44 points in his second season; Brown has 43 points, his NHL career high; and Duclair has set his NHL high in goals (23) and was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game for the first time. Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau had an NHL career-high 24 goals and was plus-10 in 60 games with Ottawa before he was traded to the New York Islanders on Feb. 24.

The Senators have won four of their past seven games, a stretch that began with a 5-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Canadian Tire Centre on Feb. 27. In that game, forward Bobby Ryan had a hat trick in his first home game since returning from the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, in what was one of the more memorable moments of the season for Ottawa.

Video: Top 10 Senators Plays ... Thus Far

 

Breakout player

Connor Brown: His first season in Ottawa has been a memorable one. The 26-year-old forward, who was traded to the Senators from the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, has played in all 71 games and already has established NHL career highs in points (43), assists (27), power-play goals (three) and shots on goal (173). He leads Senators forwards with an average of 20:07 of ice time per game, almost four minutes more than his NHL career high of 16:12, set in 2016-17.

Video: OTT@PIT: Brown goes far side to trim deficit

 

Statement win

Senators 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT), Dec. 14: Duclair had a big game against the team that traded him to Ottawa last season. The forward scored twice in the first period to give the Senators a 2-1 lead. After the Blue Jackets scored twice in the third to tie it 3-3, Duclair scored again at 1:56 of overtime for his third NHL hat trick. 

Watch the full game for free on NHL.TV

 

Most compelling game

Senators 4, Islanders 3, March 5: It was an emotional game for Pageau, an Ottawa native who returned to Canadian Tire Centre to play against the team that drafted him in 2011. The Senators came back after trailing 1-0 and 2-1, and Tkachuk's goal with 3:05 remaining turned out to be the game-winner. Pageau had three shots on goal for New York and was minus-1.

Watch the full game for free on NHL.TV

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