Senators shut out by Thomas, Bruins win 2-0

A 2-0 loss was certainly not the result the Ottawa Senators wanted when they were set to take on the Boston Bruins Monday night, but it's the kind of thing Ottawa has probably come to expect when facing Tim Thomas in nets. It was a very tight game, for the most part, with both teams exchanging shots, scoring chances, and big saves, until Boston broke it open in the third period. The Senators couldn't beat Thomas to get back into the game after going down, and that was all she wrote.

Sens killer: Tim Thomas
There is only one tonight. The Level 12 ogre-mage* continues to shut down the Senators whenever he plays them, and has now won the last ten games he's played against Ottawa. He stopped all 29 shots he faced tonight, none of the saves standing out as highlight-reel stops, but huge nonetheless. He's become legendary amongst Senators killers, and could enter the category reserved for Ed Belfour and Gary Roberts if these teams ever meet in the playoffs. It's true that Chara could probably also be classified as a Sens killer, but doing so would downplay the amount of killing that Thomas inflicted.

Sens heroes: Brian Elliott, Alex Kovalev, Jarkko Ruutu
For the first two periods, Elliott was among the Senators' strongest players against Boston. He was making strong saves, with 12 in the first alone, and kept Ottawa in the game through the second period when it looked like they were being brutally outplayed. Neither goal was particularly awful, although the team needed Elliott to stop the very stoppable second goal. Still, Ottawa had no business staying in that second period, if not for Elliott.

Kind of looked like Kovalev enjoys the physical challenge of going up against Zdeno Chara tonight, which seems like the opposite of what you'd expect. Of particular note was a play in the first period, where Kovalev rushed to beat Chara and kind of did, before being taken down hard by Chara behind the net. And, near the end of the game, he even got into a sort-of fight with former teammate Steve Bégin. It was an uncharacteristically gritty, hard-working game for Kovalev, and perhaps if Ottawa got a powerplay opportunity (more on that later), he would have made some magic happen for the Senators' offence.

Of all Senators, Ruutu had the best scoring chances. He had a great opportunity short-handed after Patrice Bergeron coughed up the puck, he was sent on a breakaway by Chris Phillips late in the game. Obviously, he couldn't convert any of the chances he had, but it was a strong game for the pest nonetheless.

(Read more... )

Sens zeros: Josh Hennessy, Erik Karlsson
Might not be fair to put Hennessy in this category considering he only had 5:02 in ice time, he gave the puck away for what would ultimately be the decisive goal. He didn't do much else on the night, and that makes it even uglier for the guy. If it's any consolation for him, though, it wouldn't matter how well he played tonight; when Chris Neil returns to the lineup on Wednesday, Hennessy is (in all likelihood) right back to Binghamton.

One kid who's not going to be going back to Binghamton, though, is Karlsson. He was softer on the puck tonight, for whatever reason--maybe he was hesitant because the Bruins are pretty big, or he was just tired after an emotional game last game, or maybe he's sick of playing with Filip Kuba while Kuba drags his ass all over the ice (seriously, the veteran has to pick up his game). Karlsson was soft in front of the net on Bergeron's game-winning goal, and that's why the rebound went in instead of getting cleared harmlessly to the corner.

Why does this keep happening: Zero powerplays
For the third time this season, the Senators played a saintly team, and were therefore given no powerplays on the night. I could bring up instances where Boston should have been assessed powerplays, we could talk about whether or not the Senators are getting in positions to draw penalties, or whatever else, but we could also mention an old cliche: One is an event, two is a coincidence, three is a trend.

Ugly stat of the night: Jesse Winchester 5-for-21 in faceoffs
I guess the faceoff magic Winch had in his stick for his first couple games on the top line had worn off before tonight, because he was absolutely destroyed in the faceoff circle tonight, with a 24 percent faceoff win number. You've heard it before, but it's not easy for his line to get offence going without the puck, and that's even more devastating because it meant the puck was away from Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek. No one else on Ottawa was below 50 percent in faceoffs.

Commenter of the night: Dany Hea-Traitor
Partied like a rock star who's mildly funny at times.

* - Nickname explanation: Ogre because he's short, mage because he wears a mask/cage hybrid he calls a 'mage', and Level 12 because it makes it even nerdier.


Mark's take:  I didn't see this game, but the way Tim Thomas plays against Ottawa, I'm not surprised.  I would, however, like to point out that Filip Kuba was a team worst minus two on the night.  Kuba's last three games:  minus three, minus one, minus two.  His December reads like a first grader learning subtraction.  I realize plus/minus can be a deceptive stat, but it's not unfair at this point to ask for more defensively from him.    At the very least, if he is going to be on the ice giving up goals, he needs to provide some kind of offensive support to balance it out.  Isn't that why Bryan Murray signed him?

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