Marc Methot returned for game 2, but played only 18:12 - the lowest of any blue liner that didn't suffer a game ending injury, and far less than what would normally be expected of him when the team is down to 5 D. Should he be in the lineup, or kept out until he can carry a normal load?
Trevor: I wasn't able to watch the game (besides PVRing the final 10 mins and OT), so I can't really comment on how Methot looked. However, if he's still not 100%, I see nothing wrong with putting Freddy Claesson in his place. The only problem is, Ottawa might replace him with Ben Harpur which is a massive drop off. As long as the option is either a less than healthy Methot or a healthy Claesson, they aren't in that bad of a position.
Colin: From what I saw, Methot looked just fine. He was taking shots from the point and making passes, showing no signs of injury. I'm guessing the diminished TOI was Boucher's way of easing him back in after missing over three weeks. Expect to see that increase in the next couple games.
As for replacing Mark Borowiecki, it's a tricky situation. For one, we don't know (as of now) the status regarding Boro. The play looked bad, but to be honest, considering it was Boro, I was surprised he didn't return. If he's unavailable, I'd much rather have Claesson draw in, but it appears the immediate preference is for Ben Harpur.
Callum: I loved what I saw from Marc Methot on Saturday afternoon. You could tell Boucher was sheltering his minutes a bit, but he looked capable of more ice time. He never shied away from contact, had poise with the puck in his own end and had no trouble hopping into the playoff atmosphere after missing Game 1. He also took a couple hard shots and cleared the puck with force, so there's obvious improvement. If the Senators are going to win this series, Methot is going to have to play like he did Saturday. His presence in the defensive zone is irreplaceable.
nkb: Methot looked *fine* to me. He skated well, which has always been his calling card, and he looked fairly comfortable with the puck. That said, if he was fully healthy he would have played a lot more. He was also trying to keep his injured finger (him his left hand) off of his stick so it's not exactly an optimal situation.
My main concern is with the potential for re-injury. Even this somewhat hampered version of Methot is better than some of the other options on the left side. With Borowiecki hurt, if Methot isn't playing we're looking at an LD depth chart of Phaneuf, Claesson and Harpur. That should scare any Sens fan. If he's not in danger of getting re-injured (and I can't help but feel a slash in the wrong place might do just that) then he should play.
Ross: I'm with these earlier opinions that Methot was just being eased in. It's hard to go from no hockey in weeks to 22 minutes in the playoffs.
Adnan: The only other left handed defenceman on the night was Dion Phaneuf who had a three point night. So I have no problem in keeping Methot's ice time down. The bigger issue was taking Claesson out, and he definitely should be playing even if he seems #8 on the depth chart.
After two games, the Sens leader board has Phaneuf with a goal and 2 assists, then Ryan and Brassard both with one of each. Which is the most likely to stay in the top three for team scoring?
Colin: Although my pre-playoff prediction said Derick Brassard, I'll have to switch and go with Bobby Ryan. He's the team leader with eight shots on goal, and showed especially in game one that he still has the playoff energy left in him. The lineup could play a big part in this as well, as Derick Brassard is being paired with Brassard and Stalberg, whereas Ryan has Turris and MacArthur to help him.
Ross: I'm gonna go with Phaneuf. He seems energized after Game 2, and in Boston, Cassidy will probably focus on shutting down Karlsson with the Bergeron line.
Trevor: I'll say Brassard. He's the best player of the three, and I think he's going to play quite well the rest of the series. No particular reason why, I would just trust him over Ryan and Phaneuf.
Adnan: I will pick Phaneuf simply because he has a one point lead. #analysis
Callum: I'll go with Big Game Brass. He hasn't been overly impressive yet, but Boucher tends to surround him with quality talent and gives him the best minutes. He's going to show why he has the nickname he does very soon.
nkb: I'm going to break from the group and say Bobby Ryan because he seems to have found a home in the top six alongside Clarke MacArthur and as a key cog on the first power play unit. I'm not quite ready to say Ryan's back to his 60 point a season form but if he continues to be given these kinds of opportunities he's got a good chance to be a solid point producer.