Senators News: April 28th; Ottawa 1 Philadelphia 2

-Ottawa lost 2-1 to the Flyers last night in a game they dominated (out shooting Philly 44-25), but they simply could not score enough.  Craig Anderson was good, but not great in net (the trend since he returned from injury).  Kyle Turris scored the only goal.  The curious addition of Matt Kassian into the lineup was a non-factor, but I have to wonder if the team’s scoring woes will finally see Eric Gryba (who only played 11:07) scratched in favour of Patrick Wiercioch.  I was at the game and the Sens had a multitude of opportunities to score–they hit at least 3 posts beyond many other quality chances.  If they continue to play this way I think eventually the goals are going to come.  Here’s the boxscore; Scott had the scoring chances 20/12.  I can’t agree with Mark Parisi when he writes:

This was a game where you never had a strong feeling like the Sens were going to win, and that’s concerning. Passes were off all night, and players constantly had to take that extra second to corral the puck. They’re supposed to be doing everything more quickly, but for the most part, teammates aren’t giving each other a chance to execute quickly.

Mark’s feelings don’t jive with what I’ve seen, nor is there a statistical backing to match his notion of bad passing etc (something that should result in a large number of turnovers and poor puck possession numbers).

-The Sens play Boston (28-13-6) tonight; the Bruins are lead by Brad Marchand (36 points) and backstopped by Tuukka Rask (19-9-5 1.97 .930).  The game is important to both teams, as the Bruins will get second place in the conference with a win.  These are the scenarios for Ottawa: if they lose in regulation they finish eighth and play Pittsburgh; if they lose in OT or a shootout they finish seventh and face Boston; if they win they finish seventh and face Montreal.  The best case scenario for the Sens is clearly the third option.

Darren M writes an amusing post about fan-favourite Matt Kassian.

Ken Campbell dismisses the idea of late season momentum being a factor in the playoffs:

Over the past 25 seasons, only twice has the team with the best record in the last 10 games of the season won the Stanley Cup – the New York Rangers in 1994 and the Calgary Flames in 1989. In fact, the team with the best record in the league in the last 10 games is more likely to lose in the first round of the playoffs than it is to win the Cup.  Over the past 20 years, the team with the best record in the final 10 games of the season has lost in the first round of the playoffs 11 times, including four times in the past five years. It has lost in the second round 10 times, in the conference final three times and in the Stanley Cup final twice. (Yes, that adds up to 26 teams, but there were several years where multiple teams were tied for the best record over the last 10 games.)  And while it’s not advisable to completely suck wind down the stretch, it certainly isn’t a requirement. Over the past 20 playoffs, the Stanley Cup winner has gained an average of only 12.2 of a possible 20 points in its final 10 games. In 2002, the Detroit Red Wings were a putrid 1-3-6 down the stretch, which was a worse record than that posted by all other playoff teams that season. When the Montreal Canadiens won it all in 1992-93, they posted just a 4-6-0 record in their last 10.  In fact, no Stanley Cup winner over the past 20 years has produced a record better than 7-2-1. Last season, the Los Angeles Kings were furious in the second half of the season, but were actually just 5-2-3 in their final 10. Seven teams that made the playoffs had better records than that, including the 8-1-1 Vancouver Canucks, who fell to the Kings in the first round.

It’s a counter intuitive thought, but if Campbell’s numbers are correct it’s interesting to see that momentum doesn’t actually to exist in the NHL when it comes to results at the end of the regular season.

-Binghamton lost 3-2 to Wilkes-Barre in overtime, despite rallying from an early 2-0 deficit.  Nathan Lawson made 30 saves in the loss, while Shane Prince and Mark Stone scored the goals.  Here’s the boxscore.  The B-Sens play the Penguins again this afternoon.

-Ken Campbell (link above) echoes my issue with the NHL’s Central Scouting rankings:

The major reason why I pay almost no attention to the NHL’s Central Scouting rankings is that in this day and age, they still separate their rankings among North American skaters, North American goalies, European skaters and European goalies. How does that help you figure out where players are ranked? Really, the NHL’s scouting bureau has to get with the 21st century on this one…

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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