Golden Knights down Senators 5-1 after trade for Jack Eichel

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Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith couldn’t hide his frustration following Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights because it was the third straight game the Sens gave up five goals.

Smith felt Vegas played a more mature, disciplined game than his team.

“We had an entire line change and leave two (defencemen) out there and it ends up in the back of the net,” said Smith. “You’re not going to win in the National Hockey League if you can’t get on and off the ice.

"That’s a mature team that just played north, south, nothing fancy, and you can win games like that in this league.”

The Golden Knights (5-5-0) won on and off the ice Thursday when the team acquired Jack Eichel in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres.

Jonathan Marchessault led Vegas with a pair of goals, including an empty-netter. William Carrier, Janmark, Brett Howden and Alex Pietrangelo also scored for the Knights.

Goalie Robin Lehner didn’t make things easy for his former club with 38 saves to improve his record to 9-0-3.

Brady Tkachuk scored the lone goal for the Senators (3-6-1). Ottawa starter Filip Gustavsson stopped 35 shots in the loss.

When Eichel will join the Knights is unclear as the 25-year-old will undergo artificial disk replacement surgery soon.

“I played with Jack and obviously I've been talking to him quite a bit the last few months here,” Lehner said. “First and foremost, I'm just happy for him. He gets to go and take care of his body his way. I think that's a big step for all of us players in the league, that we respect his choice.

"I wish him the best in recovery and as for him as a player, he's a world class player. I've played with him for a few years and I've seen what he can do and he's up there when he's healthy and he's on his game. He's up there with anyone.”

The Senators had a solid first period, but just couldn’t find a way to beat Lehner and then found themselves chasing the rest of the night.

“That's when we needed him the most, in the first period, or that game could have gone sideways quickly,” Knights coach Peter DeBoer said of Lehner’s play.

"“It's a different game if you're chasing all night. He was our best player in the first and that allowed us to kind of get our feet under us and I really liked our second period and our third period.”

Smith had a different opinion about the last two periods, but agreed Lehner was the difference.

“We get all kinds of chances,” said Smith. “If you’re playing a weaker goalie we probably score five, but you can’t give up five. The chances against are blatant mistakes.”

Vegas opened the scoring when Carrier seemed to whiff a bit on his shot, which threw Gustavsson's timing off, and gave Vegas a 1-0 lead at 4:31.

Vegas made it 2-0 at 11:21 on a tip-in by Howden for his first of the season.

Poor defensive play left Marchessault all alone at the side of the net to backhand the puck past Gustavsson at 12:25.

Defensive breakdowns continued to be an issue for the Senators, and Thursday's game was filled with errors.

“We just didn’t do the little things good enough," Tkachuk said. “The little details on forecheck.

"The way we want to play is we’re a fast, physical team and we kind of slowed the game down and made life tough on ourselves so we’re going to take this opportunity to learn, but we just can’t make those mistakes again."

Tkachuk scored his second of the season as he tipped in Artem Zub’s point shot at 15:50.

Pietrangelo made it 4-1 late in the third and Marchessault capped the evening with an empty-net goal.

Ottawa winger Connor Brown admitted his team was likely guilty of allowing frustration to creep into their game.

“That’s the immaturity,” said Brown. “I mean you’ve got to just be patient. If you’re getting chances you’re doing the right thing so just keep with the recipe that gets you opportunities to score.

"Sometimes you’re going to score, sometimes you’re not going to. It’s just about what you’re doing to get those chances, create chances and if you force it against a highly skilled team they’ll make you pay.”

Impressive saves at both ends of the ice resulted in a goal-free first period.

Lehner made a nice save on Nick Paul early in the game and Gustavsson was tested a couple times by former Senator Evgeni Dadonov.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2021

Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press

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