Let’s start with the good news: although the Ottawa Senators have lost seven in a row, there’s another team in their division doing just as bad. Thank you, Detroit!
Anyway: Marc Crawford’s crew has to quickly hit the reset button after last night’s debacle against Tampa Bay, as they face a Florida team that’s of significantly lower quality, despite some familiar faces...
Here’s how the Sens will be lining up, with Anders Nilsson in net and Christian Wolanin re-entering the rotation. As of now, there’s no word on who will be coming out for the young defenceman, but my money will be on the left-handed Ben Harpur:
Duclair - Tierney - Ryan
Smith - Lindberg - Paajarvi
Balcers - Gibbons - Boedker
Chabot - DeMelo
Wolanin - Ceci
Borowiecki - Jaros
Meanwhile, here’s how Bob Boughner’s been rolling the Panthers lately, with starting goalie Roberto Luongo in net:
Dadonov - Trocheck - Hawryluk
Vatrano - Sheahan - Brouwer
McGinn - Borgstrom - Hunt
Matheson - Ekblad
Yandle - Pysyk
McCoshen - Brown
Extras: Mackenzie (inj.), Sceviour (inj.), Weegar (inj.), Reimer (inj.), Malgin (scratch)
- The Panthers have some really good pieces, including five top-six forwards (Huberdeau, Barkov, Hoffman, Dadonov, Trocheck), two top-pair defencemen (Yandle, Ekblad), and some decent NHL-ready forwards currently playing with them (Borgstrom, Hawryluk, Hunt) or soon to come (Noel, Tippett, Heponiemi). Where they really need help is on defence, where Mark Pysyk has taken a step back, and in the goaltending department.
- Pierre Dorion gets a lot of (deserved) flack for being a bottom-tier NHL GM, but I think Dale Tallon should be in the running as well. He gets a lot of credit for putting together a decent Chicago team, albeit with many high picks, but losing two top-six forwards to Vegas to protect the (now traded) Alex Petrovic, in addition to Jason Demers (Arizona), are moves that have hurt his current team dearly.
- Ex-Sens player Mike Hoffman has delivered for him, though, with the winger finally putting up his 30-goal season. We always knew he could...
- Alex Barkov plays 22.5 minutes a night (!!!), and is a tremendous talent, but hasn’t consistently been a positive, play-driving forward this year.
- Despite the fact that the team will likely miss the playoffs again, Bob Bougher’s systems seem to be helping, with the team ranking top-10 in some major statistical categories (goals per game, shots for per game, shots against per game, PP%, PK%).
- On Ottawa’s end: Anthony Duclair continues to impress, and may certainly be worth a one-year deal to see what he can do with a new coaching staff next season.
- The team’s bottom pair of Mark Borowiecki and Christian Jaros have been crushed at 5-on-5. The two are similar players — physical, active in the neutral zone, working on their offensive instincts, and struggle to exit their zone with control. Crawford noted that the Sens will try a rotation with their defencemen for the rest of the season, and I’d expect everyone but Thomas Chabot to get a turn sitting.
Here are some stats, via nhl.com and naturalstattrick.com:
|Penalty Kill %||79.4||22nd||80.8||13th|
|Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)||44.49||31st||51.61||9th|
|Fenwick (5v5, SVA)||45.01||31st||52.36||9th|
|Goals||Brady Tkachuk||16||Vladimir Tarasenko||28|
|Assists||Thomas Chabot||36||Ryan O'Reilly||41|
|Points||Thomas Chabot||49||Ryan O'Reilly||67|
|Shots||Brady Tkachuk||170||Vladimir Tarasenko||235|
|TOI/GP||Thomas Chabot||24:03||Alex Pietrangelo||23:51|