Silver Nuggets: Special teams edition

OTTAWA, CANADA - OCTOBER 22: Milan Michalek #9 of the Ottawa Senators skates against \Alexandre Giroux #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during an NHL game at Scotiabank Place on October 22, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

After the Senators scored two goals with the man advantage, and a third goal on a 4-on-4 situation that was essential a power play with the goaltender pulled, I thought it is worth looking at the Senators special teams.

In terms of conversion percentage, the Senators are third in the NHL at 29.0%. That is certainly an excellent rate, but it won't help as much if the club isn't drawing as many penalties. Last year the Senators were 15th in power play percentage but only 24th in power play goals. This year, the Senators are drawing more penalties and are actually tied for the league lead in power play goals with 9. They have earned 31 power play opportunities, good for 7th in the league, however their 3.875 power play chances per game is only good for 17th. It is clear that the Senators power play has been a huge part of their offence, and out of their 23 goals, 9 have been scored with a man (or two-man) advantage. That's 39.1% of their total offence and makes them the fourth most power play dependant team in the league.

While the power play has been excellent, the penalty kill is a different story. Their 69.2% kill rate is 29th in the league and the 12 goals allowed is 30th. They have been shorthanded 39 times, tied for 28th in the league. On a per game basis, they have been shorthanded 4.875 times per game, tied for 25th. The Senators penalty kill is responsible for 35.3% of their total goals allowed, which is 5th most in the NHL.

Ottawa's power play has been excellent but their penalty kill has been even worse. To make matters worse, the Senators are shorthanded exactly one more time per game than they are on the power play. On the bright side, the penalty kill will get better. No team has been below 74% on the penalty kill since the lockout. The power play will slide too, with the best post-lockout power play at 25.5%. The penalty kill unit is playing worse than it actually is and the power play is overachieving, but will the penalty kill improve more or will the power play falter more?

Last game

  • Recap of the 4-3 win over Columbus. (Silver SevenOttawa SunOttawa CitizenJackets Cannon)
  • Jackets Cannon tracked scoring chances during the game. The results relate pretty well with the Corsi ratings posted in our recap, with Jason Spezza's line out-chanced by pretty much every Columbus line. Zack Smith's line on the other hand had more net scoring chances regardless of who they were matched up with. Filip Kuba did a solid job on Rick Nash, coming out even in scoring chances with his line. (Jackets Cannon)
  • Ottawa's win was only the fourth time in fifteen years a team has won a game in regulation that they trailed in the final minute. (Ottawa Senators)
  • Post-game video with Paul MacLean. The Senators may have pulled it out late, but MacLean thinks the Senators deserved the win as they kept at it for 60 minutes. (Ottawa Senators)
  • Daniel Alfredsson was understandably very pleased, calling it one of the "sweetest victories". (Ottawa Senators)
  • Milan Michalek has been part of a finish like this once or twice before. (Ottawa Senators)
  • Jason Spezza was also very happy with the win, also mentioning that the club hasn't had such a win in a while. (Ottawa Senators)
  • Sergei Gonchar comments on the veteran leadership on the club, particularly that of Daniel Alfredsson. (Ottawa Senators)
General Sens News
  • The Senators recalled Kaspars Daugavins to Ottawa this morning. Daugavins has four goals and two assists for six points in seven games with Binghamton this season. He will wear #23. (Ottawa Senators)
  • Daugavins skated with Mika Zibanejad and Nick Foligno this morning. Daniel Alfredsson wasn't at practice. The lines were: 1) Greening-Spezza-Michalek, 2) Daugavins-Zibanejad-Foligno, 3) Condra-Smith-Neil, 4) Konopka-Da Costa-Winchester. (Sylvain St-Laurent)
  • Daniel Alfredsson will not play tomorrow in Carolina due to a hip flexor injury. He hopes to be back for Thursday against Florida. (Wayne Scanlan)
  • Bryan Murray hasn't decided on Mika Zibanejad yet and might consider making him a healthy scratch after tomorrow to buy more time before making a decision. (Steve Lloyd)
  • Jason Spezza had been asked to step it up this season and he has. He is currently third in the NHL in points with 11. Paul MacLean has also been happy with Spezza's play, commenting on his shift length as well. (Ottawa Sun)
  • Spezza was recognised for his recent performances by being named second star of the week by the NHL. (NHL)
  • Not everyone is happy for Spezza though. A Calgary Flames blog finds it depressing to see Jason Spezza "waste his career in Ottawa". (Matchsticks & Gasoline)
  • Colin Greening is off to a pretty good start playing with Jason Spezza. He is also the biggest and strongest of the Senators forwards. In terms of work ethic and endurance, Randy Lee sees some similarities between Greening and a former Senators player, Zdeno Chara. (Ottawa Sun)
  • Are the Senators as bad as predicted, following the last two games? Then again, they only beat two struggling clubs and needed two goals in the last minute against one of them. They were definitely expected to lose against Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington. Even the Toronto game on the road, the Senators were not expected to win. The only shocking loss so far has been to Colorado, so the Senators were realistically expected to be 4-4 at this point and they are 3-5. (Ottawa Sun)
  • Matt Carkner and Bobby Butler are skating again with the club, but are still not close to returning to the lineup. (Ottawa Citizen)
  • The Senators might have had their scoreboard breakdown twice already this season, but take a look at what happened in the Edmonton Oilers arena. (Black Aces Ottawa)
  • Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfredsson are doing what some expected Craig Anderson to do: steal some games for Ottawa. As Darren noted this morning, the trio has combined for more than half the Senators goals. If Jason Spezza were to get hurt, whether it is Zibanejad or Da Costa that replaces him in the following game, the Senators will have a player with one career point as their top line centre. (Welcome To Your Karlsson Years)
  • The Binghamton Senators rebounded from a 7-0 loss in Norfolk by winning 3-2 in a shootout at the same building. Robin Lehner stopped 36 of 38 shots as well as all four shooters in the shootout. He also assisted on both Binghamton goals. Andre Petersson scored his first career AHL goal and also scored in the shootout and was the best forward according to Kurt Kleinendorst. (Press & Sun-Bulletin)
  • Daniel Alfredsson to the Calgary Flames? That's crazy talk. Even if the Senators wanted to trade him, what does Calgary have that we could want? If Alfie wants a cup run, Calgary isn't exactly the place to go. To be fair, the article did say it is unlikely Alfredsson gets traded. (The Hockey News)
  • Paul MacLean said Peter Regin's injury won't impact the Mika Zibanejad decision. Zibanejad didn't play too much more than usual for the rest of the Winnipeg game, and he also played less than Zack Smith in the Columbus game. (The 6th Sens)
  • Erik Karlsson, already sporting a bit of a moustache, will be joining the movember challenge. (Ottawa Senators)
  • If you would like tickets to see the Senators take on the Florida Panthers with us on 22 December, here is the post with the details. Alternatively, simply email me at the address on my profile. (Silver Seven)
General Hockey News
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