Senators News: May 24th; Ottawa 3 Pittsburgh 7

-Ottawa was crushed in game four against Pittsburgh, a game that got so tilted I’m not sure any meaningful insight can be derived from it–in that sense it’s a plus as the Sens should simply forget about it.  Craig Anderson allowed six goals and made 32 saves in the loss, while Milan Michalek, Kyle Turris, and Daniel Alfredsson scored the goals.  The Penguins continued to make dangerous plays (Matt Cooke hit Colin Greening in the head, among other things).  The Sens did enjoy early 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but simply could not keep up with the Pens.  Here’s the boxscoreScott had the scoring chances 20/25.

-While some line juggling is expected going into tonight’s game the only roster change is either Cory Conacher or Matt Kassian stepping in for the injured Mark Stone.  Normally I’d pick Conacher, but at this point it’s hard to know what MacLean will do.

-I continue to be amazed at the circle-the-wagons approach in the blogosphere when it comes to Craig Anderson‘s play.  In a city happy to throw anyone to the wolves after even an average performance (see Varada below), no one seems to want to criticise the goaltender’s play.  Despite how some people want to dress it up, Anderson has been below average and the constant references to his play against anyone who isn’t the Penguins doesn’t seem particularly relevant.  Including the regular season he’s had two good games out of seven–that’s not a good resume.  Would Robin Lehner be any better?  We’re not going to find out.  Also skating largely under the radar is Jared Cowen, who should thrive in a physical series, but has had all kinds of trouble with down low coverage.  Zack Smith has been completely invisible, but I believe he has been playing hurt the entire series.

Varada looks at the officiating (sort-of) by examining the recent past and learning that the most penalized team in the playoffs (like the Sens) have done well.  Apparently because of that isolated stat Ottawa can’t blame special teams for their losses–or, at least, I think that’s his conclusion.  Varada dovetails from that point to look at game four specifically where (I think) he says that Gonchar was bad because he was too soft on the Dupuis goal (the 5-2 goal).  I think it’s a mistake to take one play that night as indicative of anything, nor was Gonchar the only player to make mistakes on a goal (so why pick him?).  Varada then says the tough players on the Sens weren’t being as physical because they were afraid of taking a penalty, but at the same time the officials didn’t give the game to the Pens.  I think what Varada is trying to say is that he doesn’t like the excuse that poor officiating dictates winning or losing, but it’s difficult to discern that in his post.  For my part, the officiating clearly is bad and it hurts the product (the games aren’t as entertaining when referees are inconsistent), but it’s unlikely to improve any time soon (the rhetoric that “these are the best” continues to be made by the league and the media).

Dave Young looks for positives from the game four loss, but for me the only interest tidbit he offers is that Dan Bylsma’s Penguins are 0-6 in closing out a series at home (which I take as an interesting anomaly, not a sign of anything).

-Here are my thoughts on The Hockey News draft guide.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


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