Let's talk about accountability for a second. Does it make sense for us to scrutinize every detail of D.J. Smith's system, and break down every single clip of high-danger chances against, but when it comes to goaltending, we soft-pedal porous performances and applaud mediocre play?
A .900 save percentage? Sometimes a coach is only as good as his goalie.
I don't blame Joonas Korpisalo for Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Even though Ottawa allowed 28 shots against, which is quite low considering the opponent, their execution (or lack thereof) on the power-play and timely errors shot them in the foot. What I will do is call him out for allowing 4 goals on 23 shots against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The same goes for Anton Forsberg, who allowed 4 goals on 22 shots against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That's what I call unacceptable. Matt Murray and Cam Talbot are feeling much better about themselves. That's the difference between being 13-10-0 and being 11-12-0. Which is a bigger difference than you'd think considering the games in hand Ottawa has.
So let's compromise. We'll blame the coaching staff and players for the loss against Carolina and the goalies for the other two losses in December.
After outplaying five opponents in a row, they got manhandled by the Hurricanes. Let's see how they do against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
Here are the projected lines, with Korpisalo starting (the right choice of the two goalies on the roster), and Mark Kastelic returning from a high ankle sprain:
- Jacob Larsson has been recalled from Belleville on account of nobody seeming to know where Maxence Guenette could be. Expect him to be the 7th defenseman on this road trip. Larsson has 4 points in 18 games with Belleville this season. Hm.
- This will be the Blues' first game since firing head coach Craig Berube. He coached St. Louis to their first Stanley Cup in 2019 but as key players have declined, in tandem with a 13-14-1 record this season, it was deemed to be time for a change. Drew Bannister will be coaching in his place on an interim basis.
- There's been quite a bit of leniency towards D.J. Smith from President of Hockey Ops Steve Staios and owner Michael Andlauer, but losing this game should go a long way toward a change on the bench. Berube's a good coach who just hit his expiry date in St. Louis. Maybe there's an opportunity there.
- It's an 8:00 pm EST start tonight, available on RDS, TSN5, and TSN1200. Viewer discretion is advised.
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