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The Ottawa Senators have swept the East Coast road trip by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 in Halifax. Joonas Korpisalo was the story tonight, posting a shutout in his second preseason game. Several cuts were made after this game, and more valuable players have been placed on waivers.
Ridly Greig Finds The Net
Ridly Greig started the scoring off tonight with a beauty of a shot. The play started with Vladimir Tarasenko, situated on the right-hand side of the blue line. Tarasenko fired a pass across the ice that made it onto the stick of Ridly Greig. Greig took a couple of strides before firing a shot high-glove side past Tristan Jarry.
This was a massive goal for Ridly Greig as he battles for a bottom-six position. He has been relatively quiet this preseason, and with Roby Jarventie being as effective as he has been, Greig needed this one. In a previous article, I had written that Ridly Greig was my choice to replace Shane Pinto if he is unsigned to start the season. The Senators will need Greig to continue being an effective offensive player if they want to succeed down the middle without Pinto.
Brady Tkachuk Doubles The Lead
Brady Tkachuk added to the Senator’s lead in the dying minutes of the first period. The play started in the defensive zone, where Pittsburgh’s Ryan Graves had his point shot blocked. Claude Giroux found the loose puck and passed to Tim Stützle, who was in alone on a breakaway, closely followed by Brady Tkachuk. Stützle was stopped by Jarry, but Brady Tkachuk was able to find the rebound and bang it home.
This was the icing on the cake for an excellent period from the Senators captain. He had previously established the physicality after laying a colossal hit on the Penguins Noel Acciari. Brady Tkachuk showed no signs of discomfort coming off of his eye injury.
Tim Stützle Finishes The Scoring
After killing off 2 of 6 Pittsburgh Penguins power plays, Tim Stützle sealed the game with an empty netter. This goal was a pure demonstration of Stutzle outworking Evgeni Malkin. Stützle beat Malkin to a loose puck in the Penguins zone, even though he started about 10 feet behind him. He then guided the puck home, with an exhausted Malkin falling to the ice.
Joonas Korpisalo’s Incredible Performance
Undoubtedly, the game’s first star had to go to goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. Korpisalo played unbelievably against the Penguins, earning a 40-save shutout against close to an opening-night roster for Pittsburgh. He was relied upon to kill six Pittsburgh power plays, and he did not break once.
You could tell that Korpisalo had his A-game early in the first period. He looked calm in the net and was swallowing up every puck sent his way. Regardless of whether the Penguins chances were dangerous or not, Joonas Korpisalo made every save look easy. Without his elite performance, the Senators likely don’t win this game.
Notable Post-Game Cuts
Following the team’s win, Ottawa made more cuts to their NHL roster. The following players have all been sent to Belleville.
All five players do not require waivers and will be at the Belleville Senators camp.
Next is the list of players who have been assigned to Belleville but must first clear waivers.
- Jacob Bernard-Docker
- Jacob Larsson
- Matthew Highmore
- Egor Sokolov
While Larsson and Highmore were both expected to play in Belleville this season, Sokolov and Bernard-Docker seemed to have a legitimate shot at the NHL squad. And now, only 24 hours after Lassi Thomson was lost to waivers, another pair of once-promising prospects may be following in his footsteps.
While Jacob Bernard-Docker has been disappointing so far, I thought Egor Sokolov had played well enough to earn a shot. If the Senators lose Egor Sokolov, it will be very frustrating. Sokolov is coming off of a season where he was the MVP of the Belleville Senators. He has developed into a great AHL player who still has the potential to be an effective player for Ottawa.
If both players are claimed, the Senators will have lost two former first-round picks and a second-round pick in 48 hours for absolutely nothing. To say this would be an unacceptable and disappointing return would be an understatement. The only bright side I can see to this is that it would give the Senators $1.7 million in cap space. If Shane Pinto is eager to return to Ottawa, I wonder if this price would be enough for him to sign.
The following names will continue to push for an NHL roster spot.
- Roby Järventie
- Rourke Chartier
- Zack MacEwen
- Josh Bailey*
- Parker Kelly
- Jiri Smejkal
- Boko Imama
- Ridly Greig
- Max Guenette
With the preseason winding down, we should have a good idea of the Senators opening night roster before next week.
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