Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

OTTAWA – Drake Batherson was not even sure he was going to play Saturday after a positive COVID-19 test on Friday. It was fortunate for the Ottawa senators that he did.

Batherson had two goals and two assists as the Senators defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3.

“I came in here and I was pretty excited on game day and I had 30 people in town and they were up in the box so I was super pumped to play in front of them,” Batherson said.

“Then I got the positive test and drove another right after, negative.”

And that was when the 30 friends and family from home got to see him play.

“Everyone from home, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton. People who had never seen me play before, so it was great to have them up,” Batherson said.

Zach Sanford, Michael Del Zotto, Parker Kelly and Tim Stutzle also scored for the Senators, helping to end their four-game losing streak. Jacob Bernard-Docker and Lassi Thomson each picked up their first points in the NHL with assists.

Del Zotto also had an assist, while Thomas Chabot had two assistants for the Senators (4-9-1). Filip Gustavsson made 28 saves for the victory.

Casey DeSmith was in goal for the Penguins (5-4-4) and missed 18 of the 23 shots he faced. Kasperi Kapanen and Evan Rodrigues, with two, scored for Pittsburgh.

Batherson scored at 9:40 in the third period to give the Senators a comfortable 5-0 lead, but Kapanen and Rodrigues scored at 11:49 and 12:55, respectively, before Rodrigues again scored at 15:57 to make it 5-3.

The Ottawa Senators' Parker Kelly (45) celebrates his goal against Pittsburgh Penguin's goalkeeper Casey DeSmith (1) during the second period of NHL hockey in Ottawa, Saturday, November 13, 2021.

Batherson put the match to bed with an empty goal at 19:11.

“We started scoring goals and had a good time and we had a really good time in the third until they scored and I thought we were making some immature games in front of our net,” Senators coach DJ Smith said.

“When you haven’t won in a while, it’s hard to shut the game out.”

After the second Pittsburgh goal, Smith took a timeout to try to calm things down.

“‘You played really well for 52 minutes and in two innings the puck ends up at the back of your net,” Smith told his players during the timeout.

“Told them just to take a breather.”

The Senators opened the game in the second period with four goals, including three in under six minutes.

“I think the second period is unacceptable and it eventually lost us the match,” Rodrigues said.

“Just no jam. We did not play heavy, we did not hang on to puck. It was sloppy. It was a bit of a track hit. It was not our type of hockey. That’s not how we play.”

Sanford opened the scoring at 5:21 and beat DeSmith on a rebound. Del Zotto scored his first of the season and the first of two power-play goals of the period when he beat DeSmith by a point shot from the face at 10:40 p.m.

Just 27 seconds later, Kelly scored his first of the year to give the Senators a 3-0 lead. But the biggest goal came from Stutzle, where his first in 16 games goes back to a hat-trick he scored on May 8 against Winnipeg.

“I want to play my best every game and I wish I could score every game, but that goal definitely helps the pressure. But I just have to keep going and play my game,” Stutzle said.

A pass to the front of the net was blocked, but went straight to Stutzle, who quickly hit the DeSmith short side while on powerplay.

It was no scoring in the first period, though it was not due to lack of opportunities, especially for the Penguins.

Gustavsson stopped Jason Zucker on an outburst, and shortly after, the Penguins had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:38, but not only did they not score, they managed just two shots on goal.

“It’s a big, big part of the game, 5-on-3 early. We’re not able to convert there. Just a few options out of it,” Penguins coach Todd Reirden said.

“On one we missed the net. On one we got a shot straight from the face, but not near enough chances for in that situation.”

Notes: With several players in the COVID-19 protocols, senators summoned Andrew Agozzino and defenders Jacob Bernard-Docker and Maxence Guenette. Scratch for the senators was defender Nikita Zaitsev along with strikers Agozzino and Scott Sabourin … Penguins were without strikers Sam Lafferty and Dominik Simon as well as goalkeeper Tristan Jarry.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 13, 2021.

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