First off, you may notice that under the byline for Silver Nuggets today, it doesn't say "Adnan". It also doesn't say "Peter Toomanyvowels" or Mark or Darren. It says Dave Young. For the foreseeable future, your daily Nuggets of Senators news/joy will be delivered by me. I am incredibly excited to write more than the occasional piece for this blog, and hope you guys don't see too much of a drop off from the incredible job Adnan has been doing. If you could help a (Sens) brother out, let me know in the comments or on Twitter what it is you'd like to see from this feature, or send me stories you think the Silver Seven community must see.
I experienced the joy/despair of voyaging down from school in Kingston back home to see one heck of a game last night. The Senators battled and truly played a solid game, outshooting and out-chancing the Rangers. Amazing goaltending on both ends, but in the end the big story was King Henrik Lundqvist. He stole game 3 in a way only the best goalie in the world can. I was sitting in Section 315, right directly up behind King Henrik and had a wonderful view of the Senators offensive zone for two periods. As such, it became incredibly apparent what insane dedication the Blueshirts have to keeping Senators out of the slot, and how willing they were to get in the shooting lanes all night long.
As you can see above in the shot chart, there is a large empty area between the hash marks of the New York zone. Some of that has to do with active sticks keeping the Sens from being able to carry the puck into that area, but much of it has to do with the incredible shot blocking of the Rangers. Dan Girardi leads the NHL with 17 blocked shots (next highest is 12- Willie Mitchell) and has 11 more than any Senator (6- Sergei Gonchar (!)).
It seems when New York does this Paulrus is content to send guys to the front of the net for traffic and to send shot after shot after shot from the blue line. Erik Karlsson leads the Senators with 18 shots (he is third in the league among all players), twice as many as second place Jason Spezza. It worked in game two, with the game-tying goal and game winning goal both coming from right in front of the net, but in game three, the bounces didn't go Ottawa's way.
If the Senators plan on coming back in this series, they need to find a way to break through the defensive effort of the Rangers and find a way to get to the scoring areas on the ice, or else they will be at the mercy of puck bounces for better or for worse.
After the jump I give you your Senator-loving goodness in the form of many many links.
Last Night's Game:
Boxscore: Rangers vs Senators boxscore
Scoring Chances: [6th Sens]
- The Ottawa Senators were fined $10 000 by the NHL yesterday for Zenon Konopka's "antics" in the warm-up of game two. Konopka himself received a $2 500 fine. In case you missed it, here's Peter's story.
- In one of the craziest stories yesterday, there was some "talk" that Shanahan may reduce Carl Hagelin's suspension if Daniel Alfredsson's injury was not as severe as originally thought. The Sixth Sens have an excellent run down of the whole story.
- According to Elliotte Friedman it was team doctors that told Alfie he couldn't play in game 3 even though he badly wanted too. (@friedgehnic)
- Ian Mendes discusses some all-time Sens playoff villains and whether Brian Boyle is finding his place among them. [Mendes]
- Jason Chimera with an awful incident last night. Thats not going to be comfortable today. [Puck Daddy]
- In keeping with the nasty that has been this spring's playoffs, Nick Backstrom with an ugly match penalty at the end of the game. Don't think having him out of the line up is going to help the Caps come back in this series. [Puck Daddy]
- Lots coming out of the Pens-Flyers weekend fiasco. Most notable is James Neal with two (!) hearings, which has got to be some kind of record. [NHL] Even more interesting are rumours that the Penguins support both Neal and Asham suspensions (before they even happen!!) [Rob Rossi]
- Lastly, in the news story that upsets me most of all, Daniel Sedin will be travelling to LA to join his teammates, and likely will play in game 4. This smells of a panic move by an organization more worried about getting embarrassed in the first round than making sure their best player is healthy in the long run. Fact is, Sedin is a wonderful player, but top to bottom, Kings deserve full marks for their 3-0 series lead. [The Globe and Mail]
- Florida heads to Newark to take on New Jersey with their series tied 1-1. Stephen Weiss had a huge impact in game two scoring two goals, but the Devils won four games in a row at home down the stretch.
- Detroit looks to even their series with the Predators at Joe Louis Arena where they had incredible success this season, but lost last game.
- After a scary moment in game two between Mike Smith and Andrew Shaw, the Coyotes travel to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. Both of the first two games have been tied in the final seconds and won in overtime, with each team taking a game. As part of the Nuggets I am going to start giving you all a Game of the Night on nights the Senators do not play. This is the first one!
- Lastly, not in the NHL, but Brynäs will play game 5 of their SEL final series against Skellefteå and will be looking to close out the series after failing to get the sweep. Senators mega-prospect Jakob Silfverberg had two goals in game 4, but was unable to get the hat trick in overtime, despite having a penalty shot. If he should score this game, it would be his 12th of the playoffs, tying an SEL record held by Daniel Alfredsson himself.