Senators News: May 17th

-Two lineup changes for the Sens tonight: Andre Benoit steps in for the injured Eric Gryba, while Guillaume Latendresse replaces powerplay specialist Matt Kassian.

Graeme Nichols takes a look at the game tonight and talks about the underlying statistics that illustrate the Sens weren’t as behind the Pens in game one as the score would indicate.  He believes the inclusion of Latendresse is meant to help the second unit powerplay–certainly, unless his play warrants it, Guillaume won’t get much more ice time than Kassian did.  The switch to Benoit from Gryba is that of grit to skill; I also think Benoit will be a little more reliable in his own end as both Gryba and Cowen struggled in their own zone.  Nichols quotes Chris Phillips and Daniel Alfredsson who talked about the emphasis on controlling the play (possessing the puck) more.

Cory Conacher talked about his approach to every game:

I like to be in those dirty areas. I like to kind of [tick] off some of their players and get in their heads, and the fans obviously take note of that sometimes. It’s all fun for me and hopefully I can continue to do that.

Paul MacLean has liked what he’s seen:

We’ve been very pleased with his evolution. He was a good player when we got him. As advertised, he’s a very competitive person and his heart is bigger than his size a lot of times. But at the same time, he’s very competitive and he works hard to score goals and he goes to the dirty areas to have an opportunity to score, and those are the things that we like about him. And those are things that we continue to need to see from him, and I thought he was in there and competitive and battled at the net last night, and we need more people that’ll do that.

-Penguins coach Dany Bylsma is a big fan of Paul MacLean’s and believes he deserves to be named coach of the year:

He deserves it.  You talk about last year with his team, coming into an Ottawa Senators team that he didn’t know what to expect or where they would be at, he did a great job last year. But this year, different challenges for his team and his group, and they dealt with some injuries and still [were] consistently a good hockey team without some of their key guys and with some of their key guys. I would have cast a vote for him.

-If there’s one thing we can count on when it comes to opinion pieces on the Sens, it’s Jeremy Milks telling us the solution to Ottawa’s problems is to get physical.  Jeremy says the Sens need to emulate the Flyers of last year who were very physical.  The fact that Philadelphia had no difficulty putting the puck in the net doesn’t make the comparison particularly apt to me (nor did the Penguins have an alternative to replace Marc-Andre Fleury).  Milks also advocates playing on the edge, but not taking any penalties, which ignores how officials have called every game Ottawa has played Pittsburgh this year.  Don’t get me wrong, I agree that the Sens need to be physical because the Penguins do lose their cool, but it’s a lesser consideration when put next to goaltending and scoring.

Stu Hackel takes a long look at the Raffi Torres suspension.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)