If they could, the Edmonton Oilers would probably love to play the Ottawa Senators every night. In seven meetings in 2020-21, the Oilers have seven regulation wins and 34 goals scored – an average of nearly five goals per game – which has helped their star players pile up the points.
As the Oilers head into their final meetings of the season against Ottawa, on Wednesday (3 p.m. Mountain Time/5 p.m. Eastern) and Thursday (5 p.m. MST/7 p.m. EST), here’s a look at how their big guns have performed and a look ahead to when the teams face off at the Canadian Tire Centre.
With 22 goals and 42 assists this season, McDavid is running away with the Art Ross Trophy. He’s amassed 16 of his 64 points in the seven games with Ottawa, the most against any opponent in 2021. He has two five-point games; the first was against the Sens in Edmonton’s 8-5 home victory on Jan. 31 when he had four assists and the game-winning goal.
Edmonton’s captain scored twice and had six assists in last month’s three-game series between the two teams at Rogers Place, bringing his season total against Ottawa to three goals and 13 helpers.
Draisaitl has also feasted on the Sens this season, with seven goals and 10 assists which accounts for 30% of his 57 points, ranked second in the NHL behind McDavid.
The German centre had two monster performances against the Senators: he assisted on six of the Oilers’ eight goals on Jan. 31, leaving him just one helper short of tying Wayne Gretzky’s franchise record of seven; and he had a hat trick and two assists in a 7-1 win on March 10.
Draisaitl has scored the game-winning goal twice against the Senators: on Feb. 2 at the Canadian Tire Centre and on March 8 in Edmonton.
Nurse is the NHL’s leading goal-scorer among defensemen with 13, and five of them have come against Ottawa. He had the game-winner in the most recent matchup, a 6-2 victory at Rogers Place, on March 12.
“Doc” has a total of seven points against the Sens, and he’s scored at least one point in six of the teams’ seven meetings. Nurse has fired 23 shots at Ottawa’s goalies, scoring on 22% of them, and boasts a plus-8 rating.
Alongside Nurse, Barrie forms the NHL’s top point-scoring defensive pair, and like his partner, he’s consistently produced against the Senators.
As with Nurse, Barrie has only been held without a point in one of the seven matchups. All told, he’s got three goals – more than he’s scored against all other teams combined – and 8 assists against the Sens with a plus-9 rating.
Barrie buried the game-winning goal when the Oilers bested Ottawa 3-2 on Feb. 9. He also recorded three assists, his second highest total this season, in their 7-1 win on March 10.
Oilers Look to Go 9-0
With clubs playing each other so frequently this season, every team seems to have that one opponent who has their number. For Edmonton, it’s shaping up to be the Montreal Canadiens (who have so far taken four of five), and for Ottawa, it’s the Oilers.
Against the rest of the North Division, the Oilers (16-14-2 vs. teams other than Ottawa) and Sens (13-15-4 vs. teams other than Edmonton) aren’t that far apart. Those 14 points from their seven head-to-head meetings are why the Oilers are firmly in a playoff spot (13 points clear of the fifth-place Canucks) and the Senators have long been out of the race (13 points back of the fourth-place Canadiens).
Coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Monday, the Oilers are now in third place in the North, trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs by seven points and the Winnipeg Jets by one point. Picking up four points in the Nation’s Capital is crucial if they want to stay in the hunt for first place.
An Edmonton win would mark only the 14th time in the expansion era (1967-68) that a team has beaten an opponent eight times in a season. The Washington Capitals became the 13th team on Sunday when they picked up their eighth win of 2021 over the New Jersey Devils. Before that, the feat had not been accomplished since 2007-08 when Montreal won eight against the Boston Bruins.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.