Because I didn't get to see the Ottawa Senators play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night, I can't really offer much in the way of analysis of their 2-1 loss (although I'd love people to share their thoughts on the game in the comments section). Based on the stats, though, I do know that the Senators threw a lot of rubber at Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson--59 shots in all, including 32 that hit the net, 15 that were blocked, and 12 that missed the net--not to mention the bodies that went flying towards the net, too. But it's a sad reality that for this team to get even one goal with it's current lineup (which was without Jason Spezza and lost Mike Fisher part way through the game) takes a huge amount of effort.
I also know that Zack Smith scored that one goal for the Sens tonight, his third of the season in just 15 games--which is more production than Peter Regin, Chris Neil, Jarkko Ruutu, Chris Campoli, Filip Kuba, Chris Phillips, and Matt Carkner, all of whom have played significantly more than the lunchpail kid. But he drives to the net, which is something lacking for the Sens this season.
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I know that Brian Elliott didn't let down his teammates tonight, even though they let him down--both goals can be traced back to defensive-zone foibles, Kovalev on the first goal and Phillips on the second. As it was, he stopped 25 of 27 shots and gave the Senators every opportunity to win, if only they were able to get some better chances (and better luck) against Roloson.
I know that Nick Foligno had eight shots on net tonight, tied for the game high with Martin St. Louis and far more than anyone else on the team. On the other hand, neither Fisher (16:01 TOI before leaving the game due to injury) nor Kovalev (13:32 TOI) registered a single shot on Roloson.
I know that Kuba played only 17:23 tonight, less than any other Senators defenceman not named Brian Lee. Kuba had by far the least even-strength ice time of all Senators defenders.
And I know that five forwards, including Jesse Winchester and Ryan Shannon, were on the ice for the game's last faceoff and the Sens' big push to tie the game, which is a sad indication of this team's depth at the NHL level and also a pretty telling statement on the struggles of a bunch of players who weren't on the ice for that last push, including Regin, Neil, Ruutu, Kuba, Foligno, and Sergei Gonchar.
I also know that this team put together a couple of good games this weekend despite losing both, which is about the best you can hope for right now: We get to watch the team compete, but at the same time it's hardly hurting the team's chances for a lottery pick.
It's a sad time when that's the silver lining.
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