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Five Thoughts For Friday

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The bite of the injury bug, interesting lineup decisions, and more defensive woes

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

It’s been a fairly quiet week in SensLand. With only two games, one Monday and one tonight to speak of, a lot of attention was directed at matters off the Canadian Tire Centre ice.

Unfortunately, we do have to talk about that Nashville game too.

With all that in mind, here are Five Thoughts for Friday, December 14th, 2018.

Predator/Prey

The Nashville Predators are a very, very good hockey team.

The Ottawa Senators are...less than that.

Thus, it was no surprise that Ottawa was defeated so handily on Monday night. Though a 3-1 score may indicate a relatively close contest, a Senators Corsi rating of 42.42% shows that they have a long way to go yet.

While one can find reason for optimism in the talented youth within Ottawa’s lineup, a game like this is proof that even if the Sens can pull a playoff berth out of their hats, it may very well be a short one.

What a Du-Shame

When Matt Duchene went down with a lower-body injury against Montreal last week, one could hear millions of Senators’ fans cry out all at once, in collective anguish.

When GMPD stated that #95 would miss “weeks”, it was just the icing on the crap cake.

But, if a recent report by Bruce Garrioch is to believed, it appears that we won’t have to watch a Matt Duchene-less team much longer.

Granted, Guy Boucher is quoted as saying he hopes Christian Jaros will be back Saturday or Monday, with Duchene following “somewhere after that hopefully”, so it’s possible that we’ve seen the last of Matt Duchene until after Christmas. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging that he’s skating again so soon after his injury.

Bath To Reality

You’re in traffic. You want to get into the next lane. There’s someone there, in your blind spot, so you signal and get prepared to slide over. You know he’s probably going to cut you off, but you try to see the good in him and hope for the best. He takes a second before you slide over, giving you that slight ounce of optimism.

Then, he disappoints you. Shuts you out, and maybe even flips you off for good measure.

That’s what cheering for a Guy Boucher team is like.

Drake Batherson didn’t take any line rushes Thursday, with Bobby Ryan sliding in to his spot on the second line. It goes without saying, but Batherson will likely be the healthy scratch in Detroit.

Guy Boucher’s supposed commitment to playing the young guns is apparently trumped by the need to keep Max McCormick, Tom Pyatt, and Nick Paul in the lineup.

We’ll see how that goes for all involved.

McLovin’

I’ll admit, I was one of the first to jump in with the anti-Mike McKenna mob.

Maybe I should do that more often, because just after I sharpened my pitchfork, McKenna transforms into a solid backup goaltender.

In his last two appearances, McKenna faced 81 shots, turning away 76. Most notably, though, he turned in a sensational performance against the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Stopping 42 of 44, including this absurd pad-stack save in overtime.

Suffice to say, Mike McKenna deserved better than a 2-1 overtime loss against Boston. Hopefully he can turn in more performances like this down the stretch.

Paint the Brown Red

For all the negative perceptions of Logan Brown at the beginning of this season, he’s doing everything he can to dispel such notions.

In 13 games with the Belleville Senators, since he returned from injury, Logan Brown is on a torrid pace. 4G and 5A have the big young centre turning heads, and making a case that he may finally be ready to take that next step.

Brown is beginning to show some poise, along with the offensive capabilities promised when he was drafted.

If Logan Brown can continue to sustain a performance like this, it becomes even tougher for Guy Boucher to rationalize keeping Tom Pyatt in the lineup.