The Montreal Canadiens will reconnect with their fans on Tuesday night, but the Ottawa Senators are full of confidence and have all the tools required to spoil the reunion.
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With Mathieu Joseph in the lead, the “Sens” made the Detroit Red Wings see stars last weekend, winning 5-2 on Friday and Sunday. Even if the Habs have won their two confrontations against Ottawa this season, they cannot claim victory in advance; after all, the Montreal team occupies the basement of the general classification of the National Hockey League.
Joseph was the spark for his team against the Wings with seven points, including a hat trick in the first leg of the series. In the duel-return of the weekend, it was Josh Norris who stood out with another hat-trick. He is the first hockey player in the franchise since Milan Michalek in 2011-2012 to reach the plateau of 30 goals in a campaign.
Also, the Senators do not let themselves be discouraged in bad times and the Canadian will have to work constantly to overcome them. Norris symbolizes his team by his behavior on the ice.
“What seems most obvious to me is that last year he let a bad game disturb him. [Dans une rencontre]him and Tim [Stützle] were playing together and they were at -3 midway through the second period. They would have said that if they could have escaped from there by going through a tunnel under the ice rink, they would have done it. They were getting roughed up and you don’t see that now,” head coach DJ Smith told the Daily Ottawa Sun.
“If he ends up at -1 or -2, you will see him dig in even more and force the opponent to defend. He’s really learning how to be a professional,” Smith continued.
Transported by emotion
Despite being out of the playoffs, the Senators can cheer themselves up by keeping in mind their former owner Eugene Melnyk, who passed away last week. They have already added a good dose of emotion to their game on Sunday, delivering a solid performance in their first home game since the death of the businessman. Smith expects that inspiration to play out over a long period of time and that talented players can lead the organization to the top echelons in the years to come.
“The guys are aware of the situation. People say he saved the club here. His single-minded vision and patience allowed these young players to grow, Smith said of Melnyk’s legacy. His goal was to offer a championship to this city. He left and couldn’t see it all come to fruition, but the pieces are in place with these young people. It will take time. It is not a question of specifying a timetable. When that group comes together, you’ll see what some of the best teams in the league like Tampa Bay and Colorado are doing.”