The Ottawa Senators are battling through early-season injuries, with Patrice Bergeron, Jamie Oleksiak and Frank Vatrano all on the shelf. At other points this season, Derick Brassard, Brent Burns and Tyler Bozak have all missed significant time.
Thus far the Sens have been able to weather the storm. They're currently tied for the Atlantic Division lead with 49 points, but the Florida Panthers have three games in hand. Ottawa has scored the most goals in the Eastern Conference and has the sixth-best goals-for average in the league. The Senators rank in the top-10 in the NEFHL in goals, shots and power play.
"There's no question the injuries have hurt us," said GM Mike McMahon. "We're not in the business of making excuses, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if you are without your top players for an extended period of time, it's going to hurt your team. When we are healthy, I honestly believe we can compete with any team in the league. There are obviously some good teams in the league, but we have a really good mix of talent and some great leadership. Our goaltenders have played well, despite tonight's result."
The Sens lost to Vancouver, 7-1, tonight.
"Vancouver has been one of the top teams in the league," McMahon said. "When you run into a team like that, shorthanded like we are with injuries right now, it's a tough task. Also, Henrik Lundqvist needed a night off, so we have that going against us as well. It is what it is. Like I said, if we're healthy, I think we match up just fine with Vancouver or anyone else. I'm not going to make any rash decisions on one game."
Tomorrow, we'll look at some players in the minors that the Sens see big things for in the future.