It was no surprise to see backup goaltender Mads Sogaard make the start for the Senators during their game Monday against the Nashville Predators.
Starter Joonas Korpisalo, who was pulled after allowing four goals on 17 shots just over 30 minutes into the club’s 7-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday at the Canadian Tire Centre, has struggled mightily to have success with the Senators.
The concern surrounding the play of the 29-year-old Korpisalo is real, and so it should be. In 31 appearances this season, he has posted a 10-16-2 record with a 3.52 goals-against average and an .886 save-percentage. He is ranked 78th in the NHL in GAA and 35th in save percentage.
Korpisalo is also ranked last with 101 goals allowed among the 18 netminders that have played at least 31 games this season.
Signed to a five-year, $20 million US salary on July 1, he hasn’t had the first half either he or the Senators expected, and performances like the one on Saturday place both goalies under the microscope. Korpisalo started well in the first period and then came apart at the seams before being pulled.
Interim coach Jacques Martin wasn’t about to pin that loss on Korpisalo, but the reality is you need to get stops to have success.
“We lacked focus and we lacked detail when I look at the goals that we gave up,” Martin said before his team’s game against Nashville on Monday. “When I look at the goals we gave up, it could have been avoided with better detail and structure on our part.”
Martin said the play in front of the goalies and the key stops go hand-in-hand if this is going to get turned around.
“The goalies have given us, when I look at (their recent) stretch, they were pretty good because we were playing good in front of them.” Martin said. “It’s a reflection of how the team plays as well. I’m looking for our goalies to make the saves they’re supposed to make and then for us to give them the proper protection.
“We have to take away the shots from the dangerous areas and if we’re going to give them up they have to be from the outside.”
DOWN ON THE FARM
Prospect Oskar Pettersson will be a phone call away the rest of the season.
After signing a three-year entry-level deal with the Senators last spring, the club was granted Pettersson’s release from Rogle BK Angelholm, his Swedish league club, Sunday and he was expected to arrive in Belleville on Monday to finish the season in the American Hockey League.
The timing for Pettersson’s arrival couldn’t be better because winger Roby Jarventie likely will not play for the rest of the season. The No. 33 overall selection in 2020, who has nine goals and 20 points in 22 games with Belleville, is likely out long-term with a knee injury.
Selected No. 72 overall by the Senators in the third round of the 2022 NHL draft, neither the club nor Pettersson were pleased with the way he was being used and was a healthy scratch recently.
“He’s a prospect we really like,” Ottawa associate GM Ryan Bowness said Monday. “He’s played in the last two world juniors for Sweden and he’s performed well. This is in conjunction with the player and his development path. The plan, originally, was to have him come over next season but things have expedited in that regard.
“This gives him a chance to acclimatize himself to the North American game. We think he has an opportunity to play and we’re excited to get him over here. He’s a very reliable winger that has good hockey sense. When you bring a player from Sweden to North America, it’s about getting used to the smaller ice surface, and the different style of play.
“This will be mutually beneficial for the player and organization.”
Pettersson will make his debut on the weekend.
The 19-year-old Pettersson had no goals and one assist in 26 games with Rogle this season. He was an alternate captain with Sweden’s entry at the 2024 IIHF world junior championship and helped the club bring home a silver medal.
“As Oskar’s role has been limited with us, a request has arisen from Ottawa for him to finish the season in their organization, which we have chosen to accommodate,” Rogle GM Hampus Sjostrom said in a statement on the club’s website Monday.
“We hope that the move will have the desired effect for Oskar’s development and that we will have the chance to work together again in the future.”
THE LAST WORDS
Martin opted to make a couple of changes for his team’s game against Nashville. Mark Kastelic was a healthy scratch along with winger Zack MacEwen. That meant winger Dominik Kubalik returned against the Predators after he missed two games with a minor hip injury and was then scratched for two games. Martin noted that Kubalik has to be better defensively if he’s going to be in the lineup on a regular basis. He has nine goals this season … D Travis Hamonic, who has missed three straight games because of an undisclosed upper body injury, has resumed skating and was on the ice with a non-contact jersey for the morning skate. The expectation is that he will be ready to play when the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 10 after a nine-day break.
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