Zack Smith gives multiple craps about the upcoming homestand. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Ottawa Senators have lost four games in a row, all in regulation. While they are still sixth in the eastern conference, they have dropped to eighth in the east in terms of points per game. That's the bad news.
The good news is that the Senators played very well last night in a road game against the Stanley Cup champions. Despite being unlucky on several counts (no power plays, an own-goal, a centre-ice goal) the Senators were right in the game to the end. They will also play the next five games at home starting with the Islanders on Friday, the Maple Leafs on Saturday as well as the Blues, Predators and Oilers next week. The Senators are 14-9-1 at home and the Predators are the only club of the five with a winning record on the road.
This is a very winnable stretch of games for Ottawa, with no travel and relatively easy opponents compared to the schedule in January. A strong run here could help Ottawa open up a gap again for the last playoff spot. Losing the first two games on home ice, especially against the Maple Leafs, and the wheels might start to come off.
It is obvious to say that if the Senators win, things are good, if they lose, it is bad. But, this could be a defining stretch of games for the Senators season. By the end of the trip, there will be only two weeks left until the trade deadline, so the results here could very well shape what Bryan Murray does.
Here are today's links:
- Recap from last night. (Silver Seven, Ottawa Sun, Senators Extra)
- Bryan Murray doesn't want to disrupt any chemistry among the club's current players. Some people want Chris Kelly back...where exactly is he going to play? (Ottawa Sun)
- The digital face-off thinks Alfie should have been the MVP of the all-star game. Also, apparently Eugene Melnyk said on the weekend that Robin Lehner will be called up at some point this season. (Ottawa Sun)
- Bobby Butler's goalless drought is now at 12 games and he isn't shooting a whole lot either. (Telegram & Gazette)
- The Senators have allowed the first goal for eight consecutive games. (Ian Mendes)
- A list of ten rental defenceman available. Would you like anyone on the list? Please don't say Andy Sutton. (Pro Hockey Talk)
- Paul MacLean was very upset with the players at practise. (Dan Séguin)
- Colin Greening might have scored last night, but he was replaced on the top line by Erik Condra. Chris Phillips didn't practise. (Score Ottawa)