Senators News: May 9th

-The Sens look to knock off the Habs tonight.  Brian Gionta is gone for the playoffs, Brandon Prust will miss the next game,  and Carey Price is being replaced by Peter Budaj due to injury.  No Ottawa roster changes are expected.  Can the Habs pull it out?  Given that they’ve dominated most of the series (despite being down 3-1) it’s certainly possible, but it does seem like the Sens are in their heads.  If the score gets lopsided in Ottawa’s favour I expect a lot of extracurricular nonsense.

Scott had the scoring chances of the last game 14/12.

Eric Gryba had a good comment about his likely reception in Montreal:

I’m expecting to get a little more attention than I have in the past, but that’s all part of a spectator sport and the fans bring a different element to the games and that’s exciting and that’s the way it should be.

Travis Yost looks at the numbers to illustrate how the Habs suffered by trying to play “safe” after they went up 2-0.  He also shows the Corsi ratings for Ottawa through the series with Daniel Alfredsson on top and Sergei Gonchar on the bottom.

Dave Young looks at Paul MacLean’s in-game adjustments from the Sens overtime win.

Darren M looks at the statistics of rallying back from a 3-1 series deficit and offers this sensible caveat:

All of those Senators victories (and the Canadiens comebacks) seem somewhat irrelevant: they featured different players, coaches, and opponents. The current Ottawa Senators can’t say that they’ve got a perfect record when up 3-1, just as the current Montreal Canadiens can’t take credit for pulling off two incredible comebacks in a decade.

-The Don Cherry of bloggers, Jeremy Milks, pokes some fun at fans who leave games early while suggesting Chris Neil was a more important cog for the Sens in their last game than Erik Karlsson (check out Neil‘s Corsi numbers via Yost’s link for some amusement).

-Amusingly, the Habs motto this season is “no excuses”, but all they’ve been doing is making excuses throughout the series.

-Dave Stubbs (link above) seems to buy into the conspiracy theory that the officials are out to get Montreal.  I’m not sure what the logic is–the league prefers a small market Canadian team to win?  Diving into conspiracy land is not generally advisable, but if you go there you have to have some reasoning behind it–I don’t see it here.

Jack Todd believes a lot of the criticism aimed at P. K. Subban is due to his race, but I think Lyle Richardson‘s response to the idea is correct:

Subban undoubtedly faces considerable criticism and challenges, some of it undoubtedly from racists and bigots, but his flamboyant, personality (especially on the ice) has more to do with it than the color of his skin. Subban is a confident, sometimes cocky young star unafraid to speak his mind, which sometimes rubs opponents and fans of rival teams the wrong way. Furthermore, Subban isn’t the NHL’s first black superstar. Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr was the first, followed by future Hall-of-Fame Jarome Iginla. True, they’re bi-racial, played their junior hockey in the WHL and aren’t as flamboyant as Subban, but that doesn’t diminish their significance as the NHL’ s first black superstars.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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