Chicago Blackhawks vs. Ottawa Senators Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 17th 2024

With their season-high, four-game winning streak now in the rearview mirror, the Ottawa Senators will aim to regroup when they visit the slumping Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon.

Ottawa was admittedly lethargic during Thursday’s 5-1 home loss to the Anaheim Ducks, allowing four straight goals to open the game.

That effort came in sharp contrast to consecutive victories against Nashville, Detroit, Toronto and Columbus — the first three of which are playoff contenders.

“We’ve been playing some really good hockey lately. It happens sometime during the season where you have a flat game like this,” said Claude Giroux, who tallied Ottawa’s lone goal against Anaheim. “The position we’re in right now, it’s just unacceptable. We were playing some good hockey, playing the right way, responsible, winning our battles. And we just didn’t do that.”

Senators goalie Joonas Korpisalo, who had three victories during the streak, yielded four goals or more for the 15th time in 35 appearances.

Although Ottawa held Anaheim without a shot for one 14-minute stretch, the Ducks made the most of their chances when they arose.

Frank Vatrano scored what stood up as the game-winning goal on a power play early in the second period, ending Ottawa’s stretch of 11 straight penalties killed.

“We had a good stretch going,” Senators coach Jacques Martin said, “so I think that we’ve just got to regroup.”

Chicago has lost a season-high eight games in a row but could be encountering a salve in the form of the Senators, who have lost 10 straight to the Blackhawks dating to March 16, 2017.

The Blackhawks are coming off Thursday’s 4-1 home loss to Pittsburgh. While the night saw the return of rookie leading scorer Connor Bedard, who missed 14 games with a fractured jaw, things began ominously as the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby scored 15 seconds in.

Bedard assisted on Philipp Kurashev’s second-period goal while collecting four shots and finishing minus-2 over 21:17 of ice time.

“Energy felt good,” Bedard said. “It was good to be back, for sure. I want to play games. I mean, it’s frustrating watching and you can’t be out there with your guys and try and help them win and go to battle with them. It’s what I love to do. It’s all I really want, so it’s nice to be back, for sure.”

Chicago is hopeful Bedard can help rejuvenate an attack that produced just 21 goals in his absence while finishing 3-10-1 over that span.

“I didn’t see any drop-off,” Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said of Bedard. “I thought he was ready to go in the second half of that game. So when there were opportunities to get him out there a little bit more, I tried to do that.

“He was good. So that’s a good start for him and hopefully we can build on that as a team and get better next game.”

Saturday marks the beginning of a three-game road trip for Ottawa, which has won three in a row away from Canadian Tire Centre.

–Field Level Media

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