This season I will be taking a snapshot of the Senators in 10 game segments, and breaking down what went right and what went wrong over the span of games.
This week we obvioulsy look at games 1 to 10:
The first segment of the season can be summarized in any number of cliches – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, Jeckyll and Hyde, the Best of Times, the Worst of Times. However, as they wrapped their 10th game with a record of 5-5, there has been Much Ado about Something.
Here is a quick recap of the season so far:
|Game #||Opponent||Result||Quick Synopsis|
|1||@ DET||L 5-3||4 first period goals against led to loss|
|2||@ TOR||L 6-5||Late comeback attempt falls short for 2nd straight game|
|3||MIN||W 4-3 (SO)||MacLeans first NHL win, all 3 score in shootout|
|4||COL||L 7-1||Sens score first for 1st time, but all downhill from there|
|5||@ WSH||L 2-1||Deserved a better fate in this game|
|6||PHI||L 7-2||Never in this one from the start|
|7||WPG||W 4-1||Signs of life by beating an upstart Wpg club|
|8||CBJ||W 4-3||2 goals in last 37 seconds to steal a win|
|9||@ CAR||W 3-2 (SO)||Cough up 2 goals in last 5 minutes to give a point away|
|10||FLA||W 4-3||Foligno wins it with 3 seconds left|
Chris Neil – The rugged Senators winger has taken his game to a new level early on this season and has been one of the best players, and maybe the most consistent one. He has had game changing shifts on more than one occasion and his physical play has provided some jump in games that were lacking.
Craig Anderson – Although he has gotten his game back on track in the last 4 games, Anderson started out poorly and it brought back fears of goaltenders past. Having given up 5, 6, and 7 goals among the first 4 games, he hasn’t allowed more than 3 in his last 4 games. Although his start was disappointing, he is positioning himself to be a star in the next segment.
Scoring 2 goals in the final 37 seconds to defeat Columbus on home ice was one of the most electrifying non-playoff moments in franchise history. The Senators had no business being in that game but still came away with two points. This will not happen very often this season and the atmosphere afterwards (among those still in the building) was playoff-worthy.
3. Chris Neil – When the Senators were 0-3 and the season was ready to get out of hand in the 4th game, Neil took over. Trailing 2-0, Neil’s hit on Clayton Stoner behind the Minnesota net was game changing and got the Senators season started. There were bumps on the way after that, but the Sens are 5-2 since that moment. STATS: 1G, 2A, 48 PIM, among league leaders in hits
2. Erik Karlsson – Not only is he providing offense, but he seems to have learned how to play in his own end better. With his size he will never be an overly physical player, but as the season has advanced, he has used his positioning much better. He is 2nd among the league’s top scoring defensemen and is in the top 20 in average time on ice. STATS: 1G, 9 A 10PTS
1. Jason Spezza – Picking up where he left off after returning from his shoulder injury last February, Spezza has been dynamic this season. He is 55% on the faceoffs, and is among the league scoring leaders, and has scored the deciding goal in both Senators shootout wins. STATS: 5G, 8 A, 13 PTS
SYNOPSIS THROUGH 10 GAMES
In a season where almost every prediction saw the Sentors finishing in the basement of the Eastern Conference, who would have thought that, even after only 10 games, that they would be at .500 and in contention for a playoff spot. (Actually I would have as I predicted they would make the playoffs in our season preview). Some would argue that they haven’t beaten any good teams yet, but you can only play the teams that are put in front of you. They did get smoked by a good Philadelphia team, but they played Washington very tight and deserved to win that game.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN THE NEXT 10 GAMES
This will be a very important segment as they play 6 divisional games, including 2 each against rivals Toronto and Buffalo. They also play the Rangers twice and then close out the segment on a western Canadian road trip. The divisional games will determine if the Senators are indeed for real or if the decent start was just a case of facing a number of mediocre teams in a short period of time.