Norris, Senators chase Oettinger, send Stars to fourth straight defeat

Josh Norris scored a pair of goals, Jake Sanderson recorded his 19th and 20th assists of the season, and the Ottawa Senators handled the Dallas Stars 4-1.

OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators put together one of their best 60-minute efforts of the season and reaped the benefits of it on Thursday.

Led by Josh Norris’ two-goal performance the Senators dominated the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars from start to finish en route to a 4-1 victory. Ottawa has won two of its last three, while Dallas had its losing streak extended to four games.

“I think when we play the system to a T like that, that’s kind of what happens,” Norris said. “Obviously it’s not going to be perfect every game, but that’s just the game we can look back on and kind of use it as a baseline to know that we can play that way and make it frustrating on other teams.

“I think we gave up 15 shots tonight, so hard for the other team to score when you do that.”

Thomas Chabot and Shane Pinto also scored for Ottawa (24-27-3). Anton Forsberg turned away 14 shots.

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“I thought we played an excellent game tonight,” said Senators interim head coach Jacques Martin. “I thought that was probably the game that we did the best job at checking. 

“I think our play away from the puck … was good. I thought our D were good at getting back pucks and our forwards being available. I thought we did a good job in the offensive zone controlling the puck. This is a good team and I thought we did a real good job.”

The Senators have picked up five out of a possible six points this week against some of the league’s toughest opponents. The week started with a win against Tampa Bay, followed by an overtime loss to Florida before Thursday’s win.

“I think we do need to do a better job of being more consistent in all games, no matter who we play,” said Pinto. “When we do play these top teams it seems like we find a way to play our best, but that’s just got to be consistent from here on out.”

Joe Pavelski scored the lone goal for Dallas (34-16-8). Jake Oettinger started the contest but was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals on just 11 shots. 

Scott Wedgewood gave up one goal on 19 shots in relief.

“There’s good losses and there are bad losses, and this is about as bad a loss that you can have,” said Stars coach Peter DeBoer. “So, we’ve got to respond.”

Coming off a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday, much was expected for Thursday in the Stars locker room.

“This room had all the feel that we were going to play a really good game,” said Pavelski. “Coming in, you could tell the guys were there and then we got out there and we got worse as the game went on.”

The game was tied 1-1 after the opening 20 minutes.

Norris opened the scoring at 4:12 of the first period, tipping in a shot for his 14th of the season. 

Pavelski tied the game with 9.3 seconds remaining in the frame on a delayed penalty call. His 20th of the season came picking up a Jamie Benn rebound in close.

But the Senators completely took over in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals and holding the Stars to just four shots.

Drake Batherson made a great pass to Norris, who got a step on Miro Heiskanen, to beat Oettinger five-hole for his second of the night at 5:37 of the second.

With the assist, Batherson picked up his 200th career NHL point.

Chabot made it 3-1 Ottawa at 8:56 when he wristed a shot to the top right corner from the inside of the left circle. That marked the end of the night for Oettinger.

Pinto completed the scoring with a power-play goal with 17 seconds remaining in the period when he was able to get an off-balance shot to go in.


Senators defenceman Travis Hamonic was a healthy scratch for the third straight game. 

Coming into the game, Dallas was tied for the NHL lead in goals per game at 3.63. Ottawa ranked 30th in goals against at 3.57.


Ottawa hosts the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.

Dallas travels to Carolina to face the Hurricanes on Saturday.

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