The weekend was a bit of an emotional ride. On Friday, the Senators snapped their seven-game losing streak with a big 6-5 win over the Islanders. The offence was humming, Thomas Chabot scored three points, Ryan Dzingel scored two goals, Mike Condon looked fantastic in relief. That quickly gave way to Sunday though, when the Sens got outshot 49-21 by the Jets, and maybe the best Senator of the game was Mark Stone who had two shots on goal.
So now the team heads out on the dreaded California road trip, with their season in freefall. During the Hamburglar run of 2015, the California trip sweep started the Sens’ late-season resurgence. This time it comes earlier in the season, but it’s hard to see it as anything other than a make-or-break point for the playoffs. Sweeping California could see the Sens in a playoff spot, or at least within a couple points with a couple games still in hand. Dropping a game or two would be like treading water. Losing all three in regulation would likely lead to four months of “They’re not mathematically eliminated, but...”
Mark Stone missed practice yesterday with an illness
due to his parents watching a crushing defeat, but is expected to play tonight. Ben Harpur will draw back in, but Boucher hasn’t revealed who will be scratched if Stone is good to go. My guess is Freddie Claesson based on yesterday’s pairings. Here’s my guess at the lineup:
Stone - Brassard - Ryan
Smith - Duchene - Dzingel
Hoffman - Pageau - Dumont
Burrows - Thompson - Pyatt
Harpur - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Chabot
Oduya - Ceci
Here are some thoughts on tonight’s game:
- With both Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler hurt, the Ducks should really be a joke right now. Former (primarily Binghamton) Senator Derek Grant was their 1C until the Adam Henrique trade.
- Alexandre Burrows played 9:26 on Sunday, after just 6:47 against the Isles. That’s his second-lowest total as a Senator, slightly ahead of the 6:02 he had in Game 3 against the Penguins before his season-ending injury.
- Thomas Chabot played 22:21 on Sunday, showing he may be starting to earn Boucher’s trust (albeit in a terrible game). In terms of share of 5v5 shot attempts, Chabot and Fredrik Claesson were tied for best on the team with 43%. What’s impressive was Chabot’s came in an extra 7:04 of ice time
- Do you know who was worst in terms of share of 5v5 shot attempts? Burrows, with a paltry 19%. To be fair though, only Dzingel and Oduya finished above 50%.
- Erik Karlsson is now in unprecedented territory — nine games without a point. It’s not a stretch to say this team lives or dies by his scoring. Unless, apparently, Chabot steps up
- Craig Anderson has an .895 and Mike Condon has a .904 save percentage. If we bumped these up to their career averages of .916 and .908 respectively, the Sens would’ve allowed 19 fewer goals thus far. Considering six goals’ difference is generally equated to a win, that’s three more wins the Sens should have if their goaltenders weren’t below their career averages. Consider: the Sens are only five points behind the Canadiens for the Atlantic’s final playoff spot. Partly, that’s frustrating, but there’s also that glimmer of hope that if the goalies (especially Anderson) figure things out, things could improve in a hurry
Here are some stats for tonight’s game, via NHL.com except Corsi/Fenwick from NaturalStatTrick.com:
|Penalty Kill %||76.2||27th||83.3||4th|
|Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)||46.32||29th||53.97||2nd|
|Fenwick (5v5, SVA)||46.94||27th||54.01||1st|
|Goals||Matt Duchene||27||Brad Marchand||34|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson (out)||53||Brad Marchand||51|
|Points||Karlsson/Stone (both out)||62||Brad Marchand||85|
|Shots||Mike Hoffman||253||David Pastrnak||236|
|TOI/GP||Erik Karlsson (out)||26:44||Zdeno Chara||22:53|