Boy, how about that second line?
While the top line has struggled to find the back of the net, the line of Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris, and Cory Conacher has been dominant.
The Senators came out of its first weekend of hockey with 3 of 4 points, but the biggest story seems to be the contrast between the top two lines. While the Michalek-Spezza-Ryan trio appeared to have a bit of difficulty finding its footing in the early going, the line of Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris and Cory Conacher has carried the Senators through 120 minutes.
The Senators have scored 5 goals in their first two games, and the Turris line was on the ice for four of them. Two were scored by the blueline (Karlsson and Cowen), while Conacher and Turris each have a goal of their own. Turris, arguably the team's best player thus far, leads the team with 4 points. Meanwhile, each player on the top line only has a point apiece, Spezza with the goal and Ryan and Michalek assisting on it.
The underlying stats for the second-line, and Turris in particular, are extremely impressive. Turris is averaging close to 19 minutes per game, and according to The 6th Sens, Turris has out-chanced the opposition a whopping 17-8 through so far. The second-line's Corsi For Percentage in close games, the best indicator of puck possession we have, puts the trio at the top of Ottawa's roster and all three are above 60%. It's a small sample size and other teams will certainly adjust their game plans if the second line continues to dominate, but the Senators currently have the luxury of a second line that poses a serious threat to other teams.
Even though Senators fans are watching Bobby Ryan and Jason Spezza with great concern right now, we have to remember that a large part of the reason that the Turris line has been able to dominate is that teams are forced to put their top shutdown players against the top line. This leaves Paul MacLean with the ability to let the Turris line feast on easier competition.
And though the Spezza line still looks a bit lost out there, they are still outchancing, outshooting, and generally outplaying the opposition. It's only a matter of time before the line that includes the only three players on the roster with 30 goal seasons under their belts will start hitting the back of the net. But until that happens, we can thank the Turris line for keeping the team afloat.