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Ottawa Senators defeat Winnipeg Jets: The Ottawa Senators have grabbed another win this pre-season after defeating the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 3-1. Goaltending stole the show for the Sens tonight. Kevin Mandolese and Leevi Merilainen combined to stop 34 of 35 Winnipeg shots. Plenty of players had strong performances tonight, and I will be sure to dive into these guys’ games below.
Ottawa Senators Defeat Winnipeg Jets
The game started on the right foot for the Sens, who controlled play early against the Jets. Winnipeg goaltender Laurent Brossoit was playing a solid game for the Jets, shutting down the Senators, who had created plenty of high-danger chances.
After a scoreless first, the Winnipeg Jets broke the ice. Jets forward Jansen Harkins was the beneficiary of a very sloppy defensive play from the Sens. After a dangerous pass behind the net, the puck ended up on a Winnipeg stick right in front. Merilainen made the first save, and the puck ended up in the corner. But Winnipeg quickly sent it back into the slot right onto the stick of Jansen Harkins, who beat Leevi Merilainen. Merilainen was left to dry on this play, and the goal was not his fault.
But it didn’t take long for the Senators to answer back. Roby Jarventie scored a weak backhander just 29 seconds after the Winnipeg goal. The play was created by Batherson, who picked the puck up in the neutral zone before making a nice move around the Winnipeg defender and sliding the puck over to Roby Jarventie. Jarventie drove the puck, strong to the net, and scored a backhander between the body of Brossoit and the post. This was Jarventie’s second goal and third point of the pre-season so far. He has been one of the more underrated standouts for the Sens.
But the Senators weren’t done in the period. With just under 20 seconds remaining, Claude Giroux was able to pick off a dangerous pass from a Winnipeg forward and head in on a breakaway. Giroux made half a dozen stickhandles before finally committing to the backhand and roofing the puck past the sprawled-out Brossoit. After a beautiful goal from Giroux, the Senators had their first lead of the game, which they would take into the intermission.
The third period was full of back-and-forth chances, but goaltenders Laurent Brossoit and Kevin Mandolese stood tall, stopping everything. The Senators battled hard to maintain their lead, and they did so effectively into the game’s dying minutes when Winnipeg pulled their goaltender. Tim Stutzle gathered the puck and headed in on a 2-on-1 with Vladimir Tarasenko. With the net empty, Stutzle made the unselfish play to find Tarasenko, who scored his first goal as an Ottawa Senator. The Senators would kill off the game’s final seconds, securing the win.
Ottawa Senators Standouts
The biggest standout today was Drake Batherson, who had his best pre-season game. Although he only ended up with one assist in the game, he created several high-danger chances and could’ve easily had a couple of goals on the night. After discussing some nagging symptoms from his ankle injury last season, he seems healthy and skating better than ever. Drake Batherson will surprise plenty of people this season if he truly is back to feeling 100%. I would not be surprised if he puts up near a point per game.
Leevi Merilainen/Kevin Mandolese
I decided to include both goaltenders for standouts in tonight’s game. Both guys tracked the puck exceptionally well and battled through a relentless Winnipeg team that peppered shots toward them all night. Kevin Mandolese, in particular, made several breakaway and hide danger saves late. He was able to stop the Winnipeg chances in the third, coming up clutch in sealing the Senators’ victory. Winnipeg could have taken over this game quickly if not for these guys’ standout performances.
Lassi Thomson quietly had an excellent game for the Senators. He looked much more confident with the puck today compared to what I had seen in past games. After some shaky performances from Jacob Bernard-Docker and Travis Hamonic, I believed Thomson may have put himself in place to get a serious look for the third-pair right defence spot. But some news came out following this game that he has been reassigned to the Belleville Senators and will likely start the season there unless claimed off waivers. Thomson really showed his skating on the offensive side this game. He still made solid defensive plays but showed transitional abilities I had not seen from him. Hopefully, he can pass through waivers.
Roby Jarventie is getting better as time goes on this pre-season. He found a way to get on the score sheet again this game, and he did not stick out as a weak link playing in the top six. Until now, he has shown the most promise to fill the third-line centre role while Shane Pinto remains unsigned. But I don’t expect him to be placed in this position, especially given that Ridly Greig proved he could play NHL games last year. Jarventie will likely get into a couple more pre-season games before being sent down to Belleville, where I will be looking for him to be one of the leaders and most valuable players on the Sens.
It was an exciting and close game for all the guys! WTG Sens.
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