Silver Nuggets: Faceoffs are the new Outshot
Now that the Senators have won a game, what other problems do they have?
Last night, the Ottawa Senators beat the Phoenix Coyotes in overtime, 4-3. They were outshot in that game 37-32. While it's never ideal to get outshot, a delta of five is by no means insurmountable. The Senators are still giving up too many shots, but as long as they can keep the shot count close, they should have a reasonable chance of winning games.
So, what's the next problem plaguing the team? In a word: Matt Kassian. Ha, just kidding. That's two words. No, the next problem is faceoffs. The Senators weren't a great faceoff team last year, and much of that was attributed to Jason Spezza's absence. The problem now is that Spezza has returned, and the Senators still aren't a great faceoff team. Including Spezza's stats, the Senators are winning just 44.8% of their faceoffs--a number that was mirrored almost exactly in last night's game. Leaving Spezza out of it, the number drops to 40.8 percent. Here's how everyone's doing so far:
|Stephane Da Costa||C||4||10||20||33.30%|
Bottom line here: If Spezza is not taking the faceoff, your line is probably starting its shift by chasing the puck. This is probably an important factor in the substandard play of the third and fourth lines. Pageau and Da Costa are getting murdered out there on faceoffs. Given that Z. Smith is apparently the second-best faceoff man on the team, it's unsurprising he's taking the defensive zone draws for his line. As for the rest of the team, the best way for the boys to continue to lower their shots against is to possess the puck more, and the best way to do that is to stop chasing it and start winning it.
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- Lapierre is going to have an in-person hearing for the hit. [PHT]
- Meanwhile, Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres gets a 10-game suspension for a check to the head. It looks like Bobby Ryan is going to dodge a bullet for a similar hit. [PHT]