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Batherson finding scoring touch

by Matt Tidcombe @matttidcombe

Through just 22 games this season, Drake Batherson has already matched the total amount of NHL goals he'd scored previously in his career.

With goals in four straight games, Batherson has six on the season, the same amount he tallied in the first 43 games of his NHL career.

"His play is good," head coach D.J. Smith said. "He makes plays. He's a high-end thinker. No matter what, he loves being out there and that's what makes him a special player. He's not afraid to try things and if he makes a mistake he'll admit it but he just continues to get better."

After dominating the AHL for two seasons - Batherson is Belleville's all-time points leader with 116 and is a two-time AHL All-Star - he's beginning to find his place in the NHL.

This year, the 22-year-old has 13 points. He once had a five-game goal scoring streak in his rookie year with Belleville but before his current streak in the NHL had never scored in back-to-back games.

"It took time for everyone to come together as a team but now everyone is firing on all cylinders," Batherson said, including himself in that assessment. "Everyone is playing good and we're starting to build chemistry. It's great to see and winning three in a row is awesome."

Batherson joined Alexei Yashin (twice), Mark Stone, Mike Fisher and Daniel Alfredsson as Senators aged 22 or younger to score in four straight NHL games. If he scores Saturday against Calgary, he'll tie Jason Spezza's record of scoring in five consecutive games.

His progression is being noticed by his teammates too, including Nick Paul, who played alongside Batherson in Belleville when he was a rookie.

"He's been playing really well," Paul said. "He's just finding his groove. It's a little bit of a jump from the AHL to the NHL and he's getting use to that and I think he's figured it out.

"He's always had the speed and the skill and the physicality and he's playing the right way. He's a goalscorer. He's an unbelievable player and he's just bringing it now and he's just getting started. I think he's going to keep producing for us."

With goals in five of his last six games, it's safe to say Batherson is producing.

"Things are going good right now," he said. "I'm happy they're going in."

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