Silver Nuggets: Faceoffs are the new Outshot

Michalek and Wiercioch are delighted at Spezza's "choo choo" noises. - Christian Petersen

Now that the Senators have won a game, what other problems do they have?

Last night, the Ottawa Senators beat the Phoenix Coyotes in overtime, 4-3. They were outshot in that game 37-32. While it's never ideal to get outshot, a delta of five is by no means insurmountable. The Senators are still giving up too many shots, but as long as they can keep the shot count close, they should have a reasonable chance of winning games.

So, what's the next problem plaguing the team? In a word: Matt Kassian. Ha, just kidding. That's two words. No, the next problem is faceoffs. The Senators weren't a great faceoff team last year, and much of that was attributed to Jason Spezza's absence. The problem now is that Spezza has returned, and the Senators still aren't a great faceoff team. Including Spezza's stats, the Senators are winning just 44.8% of their faceoffs--a number that was mirrored almost exactly in last night's game. Leaving Spezza out of it, the number drops to 40.8 percent. Here's how everyone's doing so far:

Player Pos. GP FOW FOL FO%
Clarke MacArthur L 6 1 0 100.00%
Jason Spezza C 5 65 53 55.10%
Bobby Ryan R 6 1 1 50.00%
Z. Smith C 6 35 37 48.60%
Kyle Turris C 6 56 71 44.10%
Stephane Da Costa C 4 10 20 33.30%
Jean-Gabriel Pageau C 6 18 41 30.50%
Colin Greening C 6 2 5 28.60%
Milan Michalek L 6 0 1 0.00%

Bottom line here: If Spezza is not taking the faceoff, your line is probably starting its shift by chasing the puck. This is probably an important factor in the substandard play of the third and fourth lines. Pageau and Da Costa are getting murdered out there on faceoffs. Given that Z. Smith is apparently the second-best faceoff man on the team, it's unsurprising he's taking the defensive zone draws for his line. As for the rest of the team, the best way for the boys to continue to lower their shots against is to possess the puck more, and the best way to do that is to stop chasing it and start winning it.

Sens Links

  • Forbes looked at NHL ticket prices, and Varada has some thoughts about ours. Namely: Would you pay more? [WTYKY]
  • Kyle Turris doesn't want to talk about his time in Phoenix. Because you just don't get it, man. [SE]
  • The 6th Sens has a GIF up of Marc Methot's great feed to Cory Conacher for the game winner. Seriously, it's a really good pass. [T6S]
  • Cyril Leeder talks about the new ramp to CTC, and how it should help relieve traffic flow. I'd love to hear a bus blogger's thoughts on this. [Inside the Senate]
  • Curtis Lazar is still growing his game. [NHL.com]

NHL Links

  • Paul Holmgren says Chris Pronger will never play again. So... that means he can't be on long-term IR anymore, right? [The Hockey News]
  • An ugly play marred a game between two top teams as Dan Boyle was injured on a hit by Maxim Lapierre. Joe Pavelski called Lapierre "an idiot." [CSN Bay Area, free video whether you want it or not thanks to Comcast]
  • Lapierre is going to have an in-person hearing for the hit. [PHT]
  • Meanwhile, Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres gets a 10-game suspension for a check to the head. It looks like Bobby Ryan is going to dodge a bullet for a similar hit. [PHT]
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