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Oilers hold off Senators to beat them for fifth time in five tries

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) battles Ottawa Senators’ Erik Brannstrom (26) at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday, March 8, 2021.
Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) battles Ottawa Senators’ Erik Brannstrom (26) at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday, March 8, 2021.

If we’re talking easy to hard home chores, taking care of the Ottawa Senators on Monday at Rogers Place should have been closer to watering the plants than cleaning the toilet bowl.

Especially with the Edmonton Oilers coming in sitting 4-0 on the season series, out-scoring the Baby Sens 18-10, with Ottawa winless on all five games on the second of back-to back scenarios. But even though the Oilers won 3-2, the task, while not dirty, was as frustrating a household exercise as trying to fold fitted bedsheets for most guys.

Perception is one thing; reality another with the Senators over the last five weeks as the Oilers found out. Mikko Koskinen gave up a softie to Evgenii Dadonov on the game’s first shot, 56 seconds in, and another on a bullet by Tim Stuetzle, who has three of his six goals against the Oilers. But they got Kyle Turris’s best game, six shots and a goal by Alex Chiasson and a strong effort by the juggernaut line of Connor McDavid, Leon Draiaitl and Kailer Yamamoto.

Yamamoto scored, so did Draisaitl with his first goal in three weeks finishing off a nice feed from Turris, with Chiasson getting the other against the Ottawa backup Joey Daccord.

Yamamoto scored on a deflection in the high slot, Chiasson ripped one past Daccord’s blocker on a power play and Draisaitl got the eventual game-winner, beating Daccord with a shot past his catching mitt

“The first game against them was lopsided (8-5) but they’re a young group with lots of energy and they work. They stay in the fight and it’s a good test every night. I think they’re a team trending in the right direction,” said Chiasson, who has seen them be close to a .500 team after an awful first month when they won just one game.

They got the Oilers down in the game’s first minute and they kept hanging around even as the Oilers approached 40 shots on Daccord. The first one on Koskinen was a head-scratcher — he also gave up a goal to Toronto on the first shot when the Leafs were here — but he beat the Senators for a third time.

“You’d like to get off to a better start but you have to use the full 60 minutes to find ways to win games,” said Chiasson. “Those aspects don’t happen overnight, it’s been a work in progress as as group and we’re learning on a nightly basis how to play these (low-scoring) games. Our group stays in the fight and we win games when we’re not at our best off the bat.”

Turris, who played right wing in place of the injured Josh Archibald, has taken major grief through the first seven weeks, with just a single goal and two assists. He only had the one assist Monday, but he set up Jujhar Khaira, Gaetan Haas and Chiasson for gold-plated chances as well. He was around the puck all night, unlike many games when you would look at the game sheet afterwards and see he had played 10 minutes but didn’t notice him.

“I haven’t played well and have to turn things around,” said Turris. of his first point in 10 games. “I’ve been trying to work on simple things, having more jump, getting into the battles and trying to create. I think I’ve had more jump lately. Tonight, things were going in the right direction.

“He was solid and that’s the Kyle Turris I kind of knew,” said Oilers coach Dave Tippett. “He’s been up and down and we’ve had lots of talks. Probably his best game there. He had three or four really good plays. His skill level is strong and it’s good to see him feeling good when he’s got the puck. He was finding ways to make plays count,”

The game started ominously on Dadonov’s weak goal, then Khaira got his knee out on Josh Norris in the middle of the ice and with Erik Gudbranson, looking for his pound of flesh, Khaira went to the dressing room for repairs after the fight and the Ottawa defence got a misconduct for instigating — which was a bogus call.

Gudbranson also fought Zack Kassian in Ottawa too, and Kassian broke his hand in the fight. He’s had three scraps this season, two against the Oilers, all in the last month.

This ‘n’ that: The Oilers are 11-2 against Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary this season…Even though Koskinen got the W, Tippett will probably come back with Mike Smith Wednesday in the second of three games against Ottawa because he’s been much sharper. The Oilers have a back-to-back Friday (Ottawa here) and in Vancouver Saturday and they’ll split those games…Koskinen got his second assist of the season (fourth in his NHL career) when he got the puck up ice to McDavid, who fed Chiasson. McDavid played a whopping 25:21…Dadonov has scored in three straight games against the Oilers although Adam Larsson actually shot the puck into his own net on one of them…Archibald remains out day-to-day with an upper-body issue but hasn’t been put on injured reserve. He’s fifth in NHL hits (91) … Barrie, who has six points against Ottawa this year, also had six shots for the Oilers … Dominik Kahun was a healthy scratch, the first time that’s happened this year… Ottawa has scored twice in the first minute this season, both times against the Oilers. Connor Brown had one 26 seconds into the game in Ottawa last month…The Oilers killed the Senators in the face-off circle winning 31 of 52, so had the puck 60 percent of the time off the draw…Daccord, who played at Arizona State, looks a whole lot better as a No. 2 to Matt Murray than Magnus Hogberg…The teenager Stuetzle, challenging Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov for top rookie, had five shots. His goal went off the stick of Barrie and past Koskinen…Farmhand centre Cooper Marody is Player of the Week in the American Hockey League with eight points (five goals) in three games for Bakersfield. He leads AHL in scoring, a great bounce-back season for Marody who’s had concussion problems … Oilers fourth-round draft winger Carter Savoie (Denver University via Sherwood Park Crusaders) was a unanimous selection for the All-Rookie team in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. He has 12 goals (three game-winners) in 22 games as a freshman.

E-mail: [email protected]

On Twitter: @jimmathesonnhl

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021

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