Hi folks! With a lot of discussion already penned around the Sens blogosphere with recaps of how last night's game went, I decided to do something a little different in this space here. As we all know, the Senators lost last night in a game that was pretty even after 20-30 minutes of play, but ended up with a distinct territorial advantage by the end, culminating in three goals against in the third period for the Senators. I wanted to talk about something positive here and remembered that a lot of you responded positively to our 'Tactical Formations' series earlier in the year, so I thought I'd break down both Senators goals below.
Goal 1 - Kyle Turris (assists to Clarke MacArthur and Mark Borowiecki)
A pretty aggressive defensive zone faceoff formation for the Senators, with no defensemen directly behind Kyle Turris. Instead, Borowiecki is to the right of Turris in the "right wing" spot, and Gryba is the Senators player closer to Anderson. The other two forwards are Bobby Ryan (directly in front of Gryba), and Clarke MacArthur, the closest to the left end boards. This all starts with a clean defensive zone win by Turris.
Borowiecki is mobile enough to retrieve the puck and circle behind the net to evade the Predators strong two-man forecheck. Gryba is around for support. That little blur in the top right corner is Clarke MacArthur, who has ditched coverage and is getting ready to give Borowiecki a zone exit option.
Borowiecki has completely beat the two Predators with his speed, and has Kyle Turris as a riskier mid-ice option due to #18's coverage, Bobby Ryan as a far cross-ice option, or Clarke MacArthur, who is now completely off the screen perched in the neutral zone.
Oh there you are, Clarke! Borowiecki finishes his fine play with a crisp pass to MacArthur, who one-touches it to Turris to advance into the Predators zone with speed. Shea Weber was too aggressive in his pinch while focused on MacArthur, and doesn't have the ability to recover now.
Turris has Ryan as an option, but decides to pick the top-left corner on Pekka Rinne - a feat in itself, given the size of the Finnish goaltender.
Recap: MacArthur ditching the zone makes me think that it's a set defensive zone play, but the initial faceoff alignment with Borowiecki on the right-side is odd, especially because I think it'll be hard for a player to make this kind of perfect play consistently. MacArthur's one-touch play isn't to be understated either, as he clearly had a purpose to let Turris and Ryan enter the zone, taking advantage of a) Nashville's aggressive two-man forecheck, and b) Weber's aggressive pinch.
Goal 2: Alex Chiasson PP (assists to Cody Ceci and Chris Phillips)
This goal is a pretty interesting hybrid set-up, which is something that the Senators love to do with their active defense or fourth forward on the point.
The personnel here include Milan Michalek (LW), Mika Zibanejad (C), and Alex Chiasson (RW) as the forwards, with Chris Phillips (LD) and Cody Ceci (RD) on the points. Usually, PP2 ran with four forwards, but I think that MacLean saw that there was only 13 seconds left on the PP, and thus put his "second-pair" out for the offensive zone draw. It's a contested faceoff that Chiasson helps scoop out.
Zibanejad then sends the puck back to Ceci, and the forwards begin to set-up. Good battle from both Chiasson and Zibanejad to retrieve the puck after a scrummed faceoff.
Michalek sets up in front of the net, and we start to get a bit of an umbrella forming with Zibanejad up high on the right side, Ceci (with the puck) sliding over to the middle, and Phillips on left point. Ceci slides the puck over to Phillips as the two Nashville forwards on converging on him and Zibanejad.
Here we see Phillips go low with the puck, and actually has a good shooting option with the closest Predators forward stick turned the wrong way, and both Michalek and Chiasson's sticks on the ice ready for a tip. However..
Phillips moves way down low before flipping the puck to Cody Ceci, who does a fantastic job of getting the puck through the small lane he has. The puck is tipped by Chiasson (furthest right Senators forward with the right-handed stick) past Rinne, who is completely upright trying to see the puck past the Predators now compressed box of four, and the two Senators forwards.
Recap: great battle to retrieve the puck after a scrummed faceoff leads to good mobility by the Senators defensemen. Ceci does a fantastic job of getting the puck through (although Phillips could've shot for a rebound), and Chiasson is in a prime position to tip the puck low past Rinne on the left-side. I really like Chiasson on the powerplay, and he seems like a prototypical Bryan Murray forward - similar to Mark Stone - capable of providing net presence and down low play to a better extent than Chris Neil, who was used far too much in this role previously.
Let me know in the poll/comments if you liked this feature or if you have any feedback on the presentation (too lengthy? too many pictures? whiteboard diagrams instead?).
- Game recaps from last night. [Silver Seven, NHL, Ottawa Senators, 6th Sens, SensChirp, SenShot, WTYKY]
- Three offseason recap/season preview pieces to get your season started right. The first from Nichols, the second from Jack, and the third a ranking by our very own Sheer_Craziness. [6th Sens, SenShot, Silver Seven]
- Your weekly preview by Chris and Steve. [Bonk's Mullet]
- Varada broke down the Sens theme song and IT'S THE BEST. [WTYKY]
- Darren had a nice piece on Curtis Lazar, who I thought had a great first game playing in all situations yesterday. [Silver Seven]
- Travis has a column on the best Ottawa Senators of all-time. Do you agree? [SenShot]
- Your weekly checkup on the Ottawa area's local junior teams from Sareon. [Silver Seven]
- An interesting note here from Jeff on the BSens, who sent down Jakub Culek, Troy Rutkowski, and Chris Driedger to Evansville - the Senators new ECHL affiliate after Elmira was
stolenby Tim Murray. Rutkowski, signed to a three year ELC at the beginning of last year, begins his second season in the ECHL, where newly signed Driedger begins his pro career there. Driedger was supposed to be the backup for Andrew Hammond this year, but I think Randy Lee and co. want him to get a ton of games played. In addition, this is bad news for Culek, who was the Senators top 2010 draft pick (3rd round) as he was beat out by a forward on a PTO, Brad Mills. [SenShot]
- One special thing I'd like to point your attention to is our new "Rank the Performances" feature. If you haven't checked it out yet, please do and give us some feedback on it! [Silver Seven]
- Last week I mentioned that the Bonk's Mullet blog were in the process of rolling out their new authors. You can check out all of their bios at this link. [Bonk's Mullet]
- It's been really nice to have TSN talk about the Senators FOR A WHOLE GAME. Sportsnet's Hockey Central recently had a feature on the Senators, which our guest contributor Paul recapped for us. [Silver Seven]
- Our season preview finished (duh!)! [Ottawa's Record, Lineup Speculation]
- ICYMI, the Senators announced that mascots of former Prime Ministers will be on the ice for some games this year as well as around the community. Bonk's team has more. [Bonk's Mullet]
- Lastly, a fantastic piece by NKB on defensive defensemen, Mark Borowiecki, and Patrick Wiercioch. [Silver Seven]
- The cutest video of the week - Alexander Ovechkin went on a date with a young fan. [NHL]
- A great article on how the OHL is moving forward with a mental health program for its players. [Yahoo!]
- A fantastic series on the science of scouting, just applied to football (soccer). [SkySports]
- We saw at the value of loose puck recoveries at the beginning of the article. The folks over at Habs Eyes on the Prize look at it further. [Habs EOTP]