OTTAWA — Thankfully the Ottawa Senators only have to face the Edmonton Oilers one more time this season.
Rookie sensation Connor McDavid and the Oilers embarrassed Ottawa in front of its home crowd with an ugly 7-2 beating on Thursday at Canadian Tire Centre.
Not surprisingly, the Senators held a closed-door meeting following the game to try and decipher just why things are falling apart.
“We definitely expected a little more than that (Thursday),” said Ottawa’s Zack Smith. “They’re playing with confidence over there and we knew that. I think they’re playing better than their record, for sure, but we were playing from behind all night and I think we’re struggling with that and changing our game.”
Jordan Eberle scored twice and added an assist to lead the Oilers (21-26-5), while McDavid, playing just his second game since returning from a broken clavicle, had two assists on the night.
Mark Fayne, Zack Kassian, Andrej Sekera, Leon Draisaitl and Brandon Davidson also scored for the Oilers. Cam Talbot made 26 saves for the win.
It was much of the same for struggling Ottawa (23-23-6), which has now lost three straight and seven of its last ten.
Craig Anderson allowed three goals on ten shots before Andrew Hammond came in and allowed four goals on 18 shots.
Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone were the lone Senators to beat Talbot.
Ottawa gave up three early goals in the first and never recovered from its dreadful start. The Senators have allowed the first goal in 35 of 52 games this season. After the Senators performance it wouldn’t seem out of place for head coach Dave Cameron to want to rip into his players, but he says quite the opposite is needed.
“Am I going to go in there and embarrass them — no,” said Cameron. “I’m going to give them some solutions. I’ll suggest on what we work on and we’ll work on it. I’m not going to yell and scream. Those days are gone.
“Am I close to losing my patience? No, not at all. They need me now.”
Fayne opened the scoring at the four-minute mark of the game as his shot from inside the blue-line beat Anderson after it was deflected by Ottawa’s Max McCormick.
Just 41 seconds later Eberle made it 2-0 as he used McDavid as a decoy on a two-on-one to beat Anderson. McDavid then got in on the action making a great pass to Eberle on the power play to make it 3-0.
“I don’t know why we’re playing the way we are, I don’t know why we’re giving up the number of chances that we are,” said Marc Methot, who returned to the lineup for the first time after missing six games with a lower body injury. “It’s not going to win you any hockey games.”
Shortly after Anderson’s night came to an end as Hammond came in. Ottawa got out of the period with a goal as Hoffman scored on the power play.
Eberle and McDavid were put on a line together Tuesday night for the first time and so far it’s paid off for the Oilers.
“The thing that impresses me most about (McDavid’s) game is he always makes the simple play,” said Eberle.
“I know he’s got all this skill and speed, but if he doesn’t feel comfortable in beating guys he’ll make the safe play.”
Considering this was just McDavid’s second game back, one can only imagine what he’ll create in a couple of weeks.
“I felt pretty good about it,” said McDavid.
“It was a better team game than anything else. Any time you can put up seven in the NHL it’s a good night for the team.”