Brady Tkachuk and the Ottawa Senators hope their recent hard-learned lessons on the ice start turning into positive results.
Ottawa enters Tuesday night’s game at the Boston Bruins riding a season-long, four-game losing streak and has dropped seven of its past eight games after winning two of its first three this season.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s OK because we’re going to learn from this,” said Tkachuk, the recently minted team captain. “We’ll be snapping around (in practice) and then getting that confidence back. I think that’s the good thing with our units … is that we’re confident in our playmaking ability.”
Tkachuk’s goal late in the second period Saturday against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lighting made the score 2-2. However, the Lightning scored three times in the third to hand the Senators a 5-3 defeat.
Connor Brown’s second goal of the season early in the second period also tied the game at 1 for Ottawa. Logan Shaw netted his first of the season in the closing minute with the game out of reach.
Matt Murray surrendered four goals on 32 shots to fall to 0-3-0 for the season. Goaltending has been a struggle for Ottawa, which ranks third-to-last in the league with a 3.64 goals-against average heading into Tuesday’s game.
Ottawa also is contending with a COVID-19 outbreak that caused the team to cancel practice Monday out of an abundance of caution. Since Friday, the Senators have placed five players — including Brown and Dylan Gambrell on Monday — into COVID protocol.
“It’s not the ideal situation,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “Certainly short-handed, but it’s a chance for our group to come together.”
Boston is coming off a tough 5-2 loss at the rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The defeat snapped a two-game winning streak for the Bruins, who have dropped three of their past five contests overall.
Taylor Hall’s power-play goal put Boston on the board first near the midway point of the opening period Saturday. However, the Bruins gave up four straight goals before David Pastrnak’s third of the year made the score 4-2 in the third.
“We’ve got to create our identity where we’re hard to play against for 60 minutes,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said.
Linus Ullmark gave up a season-high four goals on 35 shots against the Maple Leafs. The newly signed veteran goalie had not allowed more than three goals in his first four outings of the season.
Rookie Jeremy Swayman will get the start in net against Ottawa. He is 2-2-0 with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage this season.
Cassidy said the team is considering giving prospect Jack Studnicka a look at second-line right wing against the Senators.
“That line has offensively had some looks (but) hasn’t finished, so maybe a different flavor there (will help),” Cassidy said. “Sometimes a different type of player may help get the line going.”
Tuesday’s game will mark the first meeting between the Bruins and Senators since Dec. 9, 2019, after the teams did not play last season in the pandemic-altered scheduled.
–Field Level Media