Ottawa Senators at the 20-Game Mark

Ottawa has reached the 20-game mark and it’s time to take stock and see how the team has performed.  The Sens went 6-3-1 (identical to the previous ten games) which puts them 4th in the conference and they remain 2nd in the division.  Their 48 goals for is eighth in the conference and their 37 goals against is second.  Ottawa’s powerplay dropped to 17th overall (16.7%); they continue to have the 3rd best penalty killing in the league (88.0%) while being the 8th most penalized team; they have the 5th best 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio (1.26).

Player’s stats (INJ=games missed due to injury, SCR= scratched, SUS=suspended, AHL=games in the AHL):

Colin Greening 9-2-3-5 -1 TOI 13:46 SCR 1
Daniel Alfredsson
10-2-3-5 +1 TOI 18:28
Erik Condra 10-2-2-4 +3 TOI 13:55
Jakob Silfverberg 10-1-3-4 +2 TOI 15:50
Mika Zibanejad 9-1-2-3 +3 TOI 12:59 SCR 1
Kyle Turris
 10-0-3-3 +1 TOI 19:05
Erik Karlsson 4-2-0-2 +1 TOI 27:03 INJ 6
David Dziurzynski 6-2-0-2 +1 TOI 14:13 [AHL 4-1-1-2 +1]
Eric Gryba 6-0-2-2 -1 TOI 20:44 [AHL 4-0-2-2 +5]
Stephane Da Costa 8-1-1-2 -3 TOI [AHL 3-1-1-2 +1]
Patrick Wiercioch 8-0-2-2 Even TOI 15:15 SCR 2
Sergei Gonchar 10-0-2-2 +1 TOI 24:06
Zack Smith 10-0-2-2 -1 TOI 15:15
Milan Michalek 3-0-1-1 +1 TOI 18:23 INJ 7
Jim O’Brien 7-1-0-1 Even TOI 11:55 SCR 3
Andre Benoit 7-1-0-1 Even TOI 15:52 SCR 3
Chris Neil 10-0-1-1 -1 TOI 14:04
Chris Phillips 10-0-1-1 +1 TOI 19:51
Mark Methot 10-0-0-0 Even TOI 22:38
Kaspars Daugavins 9-0-0-0 -2 TOI 11:11 SCR 1
Mike Lundin 6-0-0-0 -2 TOI 17:02 SCR 4
Derek Grant 5-0-0-0 -1 TOI 8:39 SCR 1 [AHL 4-2-0-2 +1]
Peter Regin 3-0-0-0 -1 TOI 11:31 INJ 7
Jason Spezza [injured]
Guillaume Latendresse [injured]
Erik Karlsson [injured]
Jared Cowen [injured]

Craig Anderson 2-2-1 1.49 .952 INJ 2
Ben Bishop 4-1-0 2.17 .935

Besides the many injures to the team over this period (Karlsson, Michalek, Regin, and Anderson), what’s apparent is that the Sens have been able to win by committee.  No one player has dominated, with Greening and Alfredsson sharing the scoring lead with a modest 5 points over ten games.  The blueline, in the absence of Karlsson, has provided virtually no offense (trio tied at 2 points each), while on the forward side Turris is in the midst of an awful slump.  The Sens combination of great goaltending, excellent penalty killing, and strong defensive play has been enough (thus far) to keep them high in the standings.  Condra and Zibanejad lead the plus/minus column (+3), while the demoted Da Costa was a team worst -3.  Of the Binghamton players brought up both Gryba and Dziurzynski look like they belong, with the latter being the biggest surprise as he was not in the midst of a great season in the AHL.  O’Brien‘s play has suffered after a hot start, while Lundin‘s debut has been a big disappointment.  I’ve long thought that Bryan Murray’s pro scouting (signing free agents and making trades) does not match his amateur scouting and I wonder if some moves will be made in that regard.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: February 26th; Ottawa 2 Montreal 1 (SO)

-The Sens pulled off yet another victory by defeating Montreal 2-1 in the shootout.  The team did not play well and owe the win to Ben Bishop (definitely his best game of the year).  David Dziurzynski scored Ottawa’s only goal in regulation, while Jakob Silfverberg and Peter Regin scored in the shootout.  Here’s the boxscore.

Game Notes
-interference hasn’t just crept back into the game, but it’s starting to get ridiculous (especially hooking)
-speaking of the officiating, one has to wonder what sins Bryan Murray committed for the organisation to continue to be on the short end of the power play stick
-the Sens were dominated by the Habs for most of the game and had few opportunities
-both Chris Neil and Mark Methot took dumb, selfish penalties in the game (the Habs scored on Neil‘s)
Kyle Turris looks like he’s lost his confidence; along with his offensive woes he was horrific on faceoffs and took a pointless penalty in overtime
-Habs hit iron three times last night, the Sens just once (Regin in OT)
Silfverberg remains deadly in shootouts
Regin was not expected to play last night, but as Paul MacLean says:

I apologize, I said there were no changes, and after I came downstairs Peter marched into my office and said ‘I’m ready to play, I want to play. You’ve got to put me in the lineup.’  He’s a veteran player and when he comes in and tells you that, you’ve got to respect that. So I said, ‘well, you’re in.’ It was a good decision by him.

-I understand what Jeremy Milks means when he compares Dziurzynski to Brian Boyle as a player who has come out of nowhere for most, but let us recall that Boyle was a first round pick (1-26) in 2003 whereas Dziurzynski was a free agent signing out of the BCHL–very different pedigree.  Jeremy also doesn’t like people criticising Neil because he’s done good things for the team–just because a player makes good plays doesn’t mean they are immune to criticism because of bad ones

-Don Brennan, he (and Bruce Garrioch and various bloggers like Milks above) of the Sens aren’t tough enough arguments, finally looks at the lack of fighting by the Sens.  As Chris Neil points out:

It’s been different with all the injuries we’ve had.  For Smitty and me, you don’t just go out and fight, you’re playing a lot more. If something happens to one of our teammates, we’ve got to go take care of it. We know that. But you’ve got to play the game as well. We’ve been going against the other team’s top lines, (coach Paul MacLean) wants us to shut them down, and that’s what we’re focused on.

So the fighters on the Sens have to focus on playing the game as opposed to fighting and look at how the team has performed with that focus.  For those counting at home, the leader in fighting majors so far this season are the Toronto Maple Leafs (9th in the league), followed by NHL juggernaut Columbus (30th) and the Philadelphia Flyers (19th).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)