Senators News: April 27th

-Ottawa plays Philadelphia (22-22-3) tonight; the Flyers are lead by Claude Giroux (47 points) and backstopped by Steve Mason (6-8-1 2.68 .911).  Craig Anderson will get the start while Matt Kassian slides into the lineup, replacing Guillaume Latendresse.  The teams have split their season series thus far (1-1), but while the game means nothing to Philadelphia, a win would put Ottawa in sixth place in the conference.

Travis Yost takes a look at the Sens lousy shooting percentage this season and offers up the following:

I think the ability of this team can kind of get lost in the fact that this club as a whole was mired in the shooting department like no other. When I say no other, I mean no other. The 2012-2013 Ottawa Senators have the worst even-strength shooting percentage of any club to reach the playoffs since at least 2007 [and almost certainly longer], converting at an abhorrent 5.94% rate. There’s some severe lack of puck luck in there, but I think a lack of individual scoring talent is probably contributory to some extent.

So, how does a team win hockey games when they can’t score goals? It would seem to me that potential common denominators here are (a) strong possession time; and (b) strong goaltending. With one or the other, you’re leaving things in doubt. The 12/13 New Jersey Devils are like a case study in this: elite possession metrics, but one that was victimized by poor shooting percentages and awful goaltending.

The Score-Adjusted Fenwick [stat] is most important of all, though. We know driving possession correlates strongly with winning long-term, and the best way to ascertain what teams are controlling the puck is by looking at even-strength shot attempt differentials. Vic Ferrari’s already shown the strength of the relationship.

It’s an interesting view and aligns well with the King’s Stanley Cup win (a low-scoring team with high possession numbers).

Scott offers some praise for Jean-Gabriel Pageau:

He’s crushing the possession game, playing tough minutes, over 50% on faceoffs, and starts in the defensive zone more than anyone else on team.

-Binghamton opens their playoff series against Wilkes-Barre tonight (here’s my preview); Nathan Lawson is expected to start.  I haven’t seen lines posted for Binghamton, but if they remain the same as the last practice they are: PuempelDa CostaStone; SchneiderDziurzynskiGrant; CowickHamiltonRobinson; PrinceCannoneJessiman.  The blueline was not settled, but will feature a combination of: Ceci, Borowiecki, New, Wideman, Claesson, Lebda, Eckford (my guess is that New will sit).

Stefan Noesen‘s junior career ended last night and he’s expected to join the B-Sens for their playoff push.  If he plays I’d expect him to bump out someone like Wacey Hamilton or Buddy Robinson.

Luke Richardson has an interesting opinion on taking penalties:

If you take a hard penalty, you hit a guy and get a roughing penalty or interference penalty, we will gladly kill those off but it’s those lazy stick penalties that you don’t want to take, the ones where you’re reaching, (or) the ones where your feet are not moving.

This approach gives players like Mark Borowiecki the green light to be physical.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that the NHL has not suffered due to the lockout:

Teams are filling up their buildings to 97.4 percent of capacity, and television  ratings on a national level in the United States and Canada, as well as in local  markets, are up considerably.

As I mentioned during the lockout, there was never going to be a long term impact from the shortened season.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)