There are no words.... (PHOTO: Andre Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

Sens At The 40 Game Mark – Senators Keep On Hanging In There


Beyond almost everyone’s expectations (perhaps including their own), the Ottawa Senators will just not go away, and they are actually playing better now than at any other point in the season so far.  As they near the midway point, they are still hanging in the battle for a playoff spot.

Here is a quick snapshot of how the Senators have done in the last 10 games (click on opponent for a detailed recap in case you missed it):

Game # Opponent Result Quick Synopsis
31 @BUF W 3-2 (OT) Cowen’s OT tap in seals the deal against divisional rival
32 BOS L 5-2 Sens no match for defending champs as grinders Peverly, Kelly and Paille do the damage
33 PIT W 6-4 Senators 5 goal second period paves the way, Spezza and Cowen 4 points each
34 BUF W 4-1 Condra gets a pair, Turris gets an assist in Senators debut
35 FLA W 4-3 (OT) Butler banks in OT winner off Campbell to end 3-1 homestand
36 @CAR L 2-1 (OT) Ottawa gets a point that they probably didn’t deserve thanks to Anderson
37 MTL L 6-2 Anderson allows 5 goals in 22 minutes as Sens drop important divisional matchup
38 CGY W 4-3 (OT) Alfredsson scores 400th in OT to cap comeback from 3-0 deficit
39 @BUF W 3-2 (SO) 8 posts but Ottawa grits out a road win with Butler’s SO winner
40 NJD W 3-2 (OT) Alfie with second OT-PP winner in 4 days

 

COMPARING THE SEGMENTS SO FAR

W L OT/SO L PTS GF GA PP PK
GAMES 1-10 5 5 0 10 29 39 10/34 (29.4%) 34/47 (72.3%)
GAMES 11-20 5 4 1 11 29 26 4/35 (11.4%) 35/40 (87.5%)
GAMES 21-30 3 4 3 9 30 33 4/39 (10.2%) 38/46 (82.6%)
GAMES 31-40 7 2 1 15 31 30 6/35 (17.1%) 25/33 (75.8%)

The Senators are coming off their best stretch of the season.  It was a very close bunch of games, with 6 of 10 requiring extra time.  Being able to win 5 of those extra points made the difference as they bested their previous high segment by 4 points.The power play enjoyed a bit of a resurgence, although it is not up to the level of the early part of the season when the PP carried the club.  The penalty kill continues to be an area of concern, as it has dropped to 25th in the league.  Their 2 regulation losses were replete with bad goaltending, but if they can lose only 2 of 10 games, the Senators will be happy with the overall result.

Biggest Surprise

The trade for Kyle Turris.  I am still not sold on him as a second line centre, and his stats (0G, 4A in 7 GP) back that up.  He has shown he is capable of skating at the NHL level but his play with the puck still leaves me wanting more and I haven’t changed my mind much since the deal:  Turris is a solid NHL player who will not be a star, and they gave up too much to get him (David Rundblad and a 2nd round pick).

Biggest Disappointment

Losing the game to Montreal in such disappointing fashion.  It was a very important matchup at the time for two reasons: 1) a win would solidify the Sens in a playoff spot and 2) a loss would put Montreal out of contact with the playoff teams.  The fact that Craig Anderson only lasted 22 minutes and allowed 3 goals on 7 shots was disheartening.  Ottawa dominated the first period but came out trailing 2-1, en route to a 6-2 loss.  It turns out that the Habs have done well enough on their own to all but kill their playoff hopes by since (and the Senators have been solid after), that particular game, but it would have been nice to take that one.

SEGMENT STARS

3. Jared Cowen  – With the absence of Sergei Gonchar and Filip Kuba to injury, Cowen stepped up to fill some of the void.  He had 6 points, including a career high 4 point game, and was well over 20 minutes in all but one of the 10 games (which was 9 seconds shy of the 20 minute mark).  He has become a presence at both ends of the ice, and was a +2 in that period of time.

2. Eric Karlsson  – Opened up a 6 point lead in the NHL for defensemen scoring (5 G, 32 A).  His 3 goals this segment more than doubled the previous 30 games and he now leads NHL defensemen in SOG.  He added 9 assists for 12 points and will be an All-Star game starter.

1. Daniel Alfredsson – Adding another milestone with his 400th goal, and having 2 OT GWG seals the deal for the Captain, who it looks like will also be a starter in the All-Star Game on home ice. Racked up 12 points (5G, 7A) over the last 10 games).

SYNOPSIS OF THE LAST 10 GAMES

As the Ottawa Senators approach the midway mark of their season (Thursday vs Tampa will mark the halfway point), the Senators used this strong segment to make a playoff push.  Their current season pace would have them around 92-93 points, which might be enough for them to squeak in.  However, putting another segment like this together would make those hopes more of a reality.  The Sens’ current 6th place standing in the conference is a little bit misleading as every team around them have 2 or 3 games in hand, and IF everyone was to win their games in hand, Ottawa would sit 9th.  I know the teams chasing them will not likely win ALL of their games in hand, but the reality exists that the 6th place ranking is precarious at best.

 

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE NEXT 10 GAMES

With 7 of the last 10 games at home, the Senators will have to prove themselves over again on the road with 7 of the next 10 away from the friendly confines of SBP.  The schedule stacks up against them, as after a winnable game against the Lightning, they play their next 4 games against the elite of the Eastern Conference:  home and home with Philly, then Pittsburgh and the NYR.  Then they get three teams (MTL, TOR, WPG) that they are either fighting for a playoff spot with or trying to not let back into the playoff race.  They complete the 41-50 game segment in the middle of a 4 game West Coast road trip to California (and then Phoenix in the next segment).  All this comes before the Senators host the All Star Game (during which most Senators players will have a full week off).  I think the goal for this segment would be to come away with 12-15 points, which should keep the pace going for a playoff position.

 

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Tags: Craig Anderson Daniel Alfredsson Jared Cowen Jason Spezza Kyle Turris