Feb 15, 2012; Sunrise, FL, USA; Ottawa Senators left wing Nick Foligno (71) battles for control of a loose puck during the second period against the Florida Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Sens At 60 Games - Senators Stumble, But Still In The Driver's Seat

After getting a bad feeling of Deja Vu from last season’s miserable January, the Ottawa Senators gave their fans a glimpse of the downside of a young team during this segment.  Remarkably, as they embark down the stretch on their “who would have thunk it” season, they are still in control of their own destiny when it comes to making the playoffs.

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
51 @LAK L 4-1  Phantom penalty shot call was nail in coffin for Sens
52 @PHX L 3-2  No-goal call on Foligno was turning point in loss
53 @BOS L 4-3  Seidenberg’s centre ice slapper handcuffs Anderson for the winner in the third
54 NYI L 2-1 (OT)  Mark Eaton scores OT winner in his 600th game
55 TOR L 5-0 Reimer makes 49 easy saves for shutout as Kessel and Phaneuf dominate
56 STL L 3-1 Elliott wins in his return to Ottawa
57 NSH W 4-3 Phillips scores a pair in his 1,000th game; Fisher gets nice ovation in his return to Ottawa
58 EDM L 4-3 (OT) Celebration of Phillips’ 1000th game marred by OT loss
59 @TB W 4-0 Spezza’s hat trick, Anderson’s SO set the pace on Dad’s trip
60 @FLA W 6-4 O’Brien’s first career goal breaks the ice en route to Florida sweep



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%)
GAMES 41-50 7 2 1 15 30 18 5/30 (16.7%) 31/33 (93.9%)
GAMES 51-60 3 5 2 8 25 32 6/31 (19.4%) 28/34 (82.4%)

CURRENT PACE:  93 points

Biggest Surprise

Phillips scoring his first two goals of the season in his 1,000th game.  It was great to see Phillips’ mile wide grin after the second goal, and his post-game 3-Star skate was fabulous.

Biggest Disappointment

In a game with so much on the line, the Senators were dominated by the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Ottawa recorded 49 shots on James Reimer, but never really got quality chances.  They couldn’t handle Phaneuf and Kessel, and the 5-0 loss was the lowest point in a low segment.  For the first time in months, the chance of the Senators falling out of playoff contention looked like it might be a reality.


3. Bobby Butler – Was a healthy scratch for three of the 10 games, but when he got his shot on the first line, he made it count this time, with 1 goal, 5 assists and a +4 rating in the last 4 games.

2. Erik Karlsson  – 3 goals and 4 assists and proved that when he is on his game, there isn’t a better defenseman in the league.  Also showed that when he is off, he is still only 21 years old and can play that way.

1. Jason Spezza – Made up for being pointless in the first 5 games of the segment by scoring 13 points (5 G, 8 A) in the last 5.



This segment tells me 3 things:

1.  The Senators are not good enough to just show up and get wins.  They need to work on every shift and make the most out of their chances.

2.  Craig Anderson needs to be spelled every once in a while.  At the tail end of 17 consecutive starts and 22 consecutive appearances, he looked incredibly tired and ineffective.  You are paying Alex Auld $1M to be a goaltender.  Let him do it once in a while in a starting capacity.

3.  If Spezza and Karlsson are on their games at the same time, watch out.  The duo is dynamic and can carry the team enough to make point #1 above almost moot.  However, both are relatively streaky and if both are in lulls at the same time, the Senators are not very good, as is demonstrated by the 7 game losing streak where they combined for 4 points total.  In the last 4 games where they went 3-0-1, they combined for 17.


The Senators have had a few days off, where other teams have played some of the games in hand they hold.  The good news is that they have had some help, and no team chasing them can pass them just by winning the games in hand.  The Senators once again control their own destiny.

Over the next 10 matches, Ottawa has 6 at home and 4 on the road, including another trip through Florida.  They face the Bruins twice, and the Rangers once.  The most important matchup might be this Wednesday night’s battle with Washington, as a Senators win against the Caps will almost put them out of reach of the 9th seed Capitals. A loss to Ovechkin and Co, a team they do not traditionally play well against, would bring Ottawa back to the pack.


Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.

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Tags: Chris Phillips Erik Karlsson Jason Spezza

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