Stats show the Sens' struggles

Tuesday's win aside, the Ottawa Senators have been slumping as of late, and it was about time someone crunched the numbers to figure out why. I've already harped enough on penalties (most PIMs per game), power plays (23rd in league), and penalty killing (13th in league), so I'll ignore those stats here. Here are a few of the lesser talked about statistics that show where the problems lie.

47.8% faceoff percentage - 25th in the league

If you're not winning faceoffs, the other team has possession of the puck. If you're attacking and you lose the faceoff, the other team has a good chance to break out of their zone. If you're defending, the other team has a scoring opportunity. The Sens are near the bottom of the league in this department, thanks to pitiful performances at the dot by Peter Regin (45%) and Chris Kelly (38.3%).

0.92 five-on-five goals for/goals against - 22nd in the league

That's right - not only are the special teams not working, as the Sens are not performing well at even strength either.

2.9 goals against per game - 20th in the league

Pretty self-explanatory - if you're letting in 3 goals per game, that means you have to be scoring 4 goals per game to win them in regulation, and this batch of forwards cannot do that regularly.

9 fighting majors from Matt Carkner - 1st in the league
Some might see this as a good thing, but Carkner is supposed to be a defensive d-man that blocks shots, and should be filling in for Anton Volchenkov while A-Train is out with an injury. Hard to do that from the box, and it means that other defensemen have to eat those minutes. The next highest fight total for a defenseman? 3, shared by Kevin Bieksa, Jay Harrison, and Luke Schenn.

2.5 - Jason Spezza's shooting percentage

Of forwards with 40 shots or more, only Richard Park (2.2%), Shawn Thornton (2.4%), and David Backes (2.5%) are this bad.

-5 - Alexei Kovalev's plus/minus
Only one player on the Sens has a lower plus/minus (Jonathan Cheechoo with -6). However, I'd say Kovalev's is worse because Mike Fisher, who has been on Kovalev's line every game this year, is +3.

.896 - Pascal Leclaire's save percentage - 38th in league

Snoopy has started 14 games, and of goalies with more than ten starts, only Jose Theodore (.893) and Steve Mason (.879) are worse.

(Read 'The Good' after the jump... )

With all of the bad, there's got to be some good, right?. Here are a few of the positive stats:


28.0 shots against per game - 5th lowest in the league

This stat was certainly a pleasant surprise. Though the Senators have actually done well in preventing shots (at least by the league's measure), it should be noted that the shots they do give up usually contain a significant amount of beautiful scoring opportunities for the opposition.

4 short handed goals - 1st in the league

What's probably most amazing about this is how long it's been since the team got one of these. Ottawa's led the league in this category pretty much all season.

3 short handed points from Daniel Alfredsson - 1st in the league

Alfredsson has a goal and two assists while shorthanded, which is the best in the league. Milan Michalek is tied for first in short handed goals with those two he grabbed in the same game against Tampa Bay.

155 takeaways - 6th in the league

Yes, it's a terribly unreliable stat. Still, it's one that can be seen in games, with Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson stealing the puck with great frequency. Unfortunately, the Senators are also prone to far too many giveaways.

3 game-winning goals from Mike Fisher - tied for 3rd in the league

Fisher has 9 goals on the year, putting him tied for 19th in the league. Now, I don't expect Mike Fisher to hit 41 goals (his current pace), but I fully expect him to put up career numbers. In addition to leading the team in game winners and goals, Fisher also leads the Sens with 5 powerplay goals (tied for 5th in the league).

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