Silver Nuggets: October review and looking ahead to November

Milan Michalek has been one of the big reasons for Ottawa's recent success. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

October is over and done with and it went surprisingly well in the end for the Senators. Ottawa went 1-5 in the first six games and 6-0 in the last six games. As I mentioned before, the Senators were trailing almost the entire time in the first six games (78.7%) and led only 0.8% of the time. During the streak, the Senators lead 30.1% of the time, trailed 25.5% of the time and were tied for 44.4% of the time. Overall in the first twelve games, Ottawa trailed 51.9% of the time and led only 15.6% of the time. So now that you know that Ottawa escaped with a 7-5 record despite only leading for 15.6% of the minutes played, who is responsible for their success?

The Main Players: Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson. What can you say about these players, they were spectacular and are the three best players on the team. Spezza leads the team in points with 15, Michalek leads the team in goals with 8 and Karlsson leads the club (and the NHL) in assists with 12. I don't want to imagine where the Senators would be without these three players. Of the 36 goals the Senators have scored, 25 of those goals have involved at least one of these three players and often more.

The Supporting Cast: Sergei Gonchar, Filip Kuba, Chris Phillips, Colin Greening, Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Neil. Gonchar has really been turning it up lately and he now has 9 points in his 11 games. Kuba has been solid in both ends of the rink and playing against the opposition's top lines with Karlsson. Phillips is having a much better season with a reduced role. His partnership with David Rundblad is allowing him to spend a lot less time in his own zone. Greening has been a very pleasant surprise on the top line and already has four goals. Alfredsson has come up with the plays when the team needed it the most, he will be missed while he is hurt. Neil, while annoying me at times, has largely been good and sparked a couple of rallies.

Looking ahead to November, the schedule is a lot tougher. Eight of the twelve games are on the road, including a six-game road trip with stops in western Canada. For what is worth, seven of the eight teams in a playoff spot on the morning of 1 November 2010 finished in the top eight last season.

Also thanks to Erin, we can have seats in the lower half of the 300 level for the 22 December against the Florida Panthers for $31. Email me at the address on my profile if interested. We are in the 20 people range now! Links after the jump.

Tonight's game

  • Game preview. (Ottawa Sun)
  • Some what of a split on the panel tonight. Five predict a Boston win, three are going with Ottawa. Peter went with 3-1 in favour of the Bruins. Poor Ian Mendes has a 3-9 record. (Senators Extra)
  • Lines today: 1) Greening-Spezza-Michalek, 2) Foligno-Da Costa-Butler, 3) Condra-Smith-Neil, 4) Filatov-Winchester-Konopka. (Allen Panzeri)
  • Brian Lee is a scratch for the seventh straight game. Defensive pairings remain the same. (Allen Panzeri)
General Sens News
  • Jason Spezza feels the two losses to Philadelphia and Colorado helped the club. Had the club lost them in close games, the team might not have realised it needed to change things. (Senators Extra)
  • Bryan Murray isn't happy about Wojtek Wolski not being disciplined for his hit on Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson will be out of action for at least one week. (Senators ExtraOttawa Sun)
  • Wayne Scanlan looks back at the Senators winning streak and how they won each game. (Ottawa Citizen)
  • Chris Stevenson feels the Senators recent success is largely because of their ability to move the puck out of their zone quickly. The David Rundblad pass for Colin Greening's goal was particularly impressive. Stevenson also thinks Jason Spezza has been the best centre in the NHL so far. (Toronto Sun)
  • Another one of Ottawa's puck movers, Erik Karlsson, is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. We've previously had a discussion here about his contract extension, here is another look. (Welcome To Your Karlsson Years)
  • The Senators didn't know what to expect, but they are not surprised at their recent success. A major part of the success has been their power play. Colin Greening has been standing in front of the net on the power plays, and it is going to get tough for him tonight to do it against Zdeno Chara. (Ottawa Sun)
  • Mika Zibanejad is back in Sweden and doing interviews in Swedish. I am only posting this so you can watch him speak Swedish. (Dragskott)
  • After each game, Gord Wilson interviews a player in a segment called Senators All Access. After the Toronto game, it was Robin Lehner. Lehner, wearing a Binghamton Senators shirt, was impressed with the atmosphere and made a point to say the Ottawa fans were better than the Toronto ones. He also has no hair. (Ottawa Senators)
General Hockey News
  • You know who else is a big fan of Alexander Ovechkin aside from me? Wayne Gretzky is, judging by this stick received by the Capitals public relations guy. (Sergey Kocharov)
  • How bad are things for the 15th place Bruins? Just four months after winning the Stanley Cup, they are on board with Fail for Nail. Note: Yes, I know they are joking. (Stanley Cup of Chowder)
  • The Detroit Red Wings signed Niklas Kronwall (best known for Kronwalling Dany Heatley) to a seven-year $33.25 million extension. (Yahoo!)
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