While much of the spotlight this week has been directed at Erik Karlsson‘s struggles, Jason Spezza‘s return and Craig Anderson‘s early exit, there is plenty of spotlight to go around, and a couple should be directed at Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg.
After playing a solid series against the Canadiens in round 1, the rookie Swedish duo has been invisible in round 2, unless you count camera shots after Penguins goals. Through 2 games, neither has put up a point, and are a combined -6 with only 7 shots on goal between them. They only saw 10 minutes of action on Friday night, meaning the coach also has the same expectations that are not being met.
It is a lot to place on a pair of rookies, but if the Senators are going to get back into the series. Perhaps splitting them up and moving Zibanejad to the wing where he doesn’t have so much responsibility will take some of the load off his shoulders. In fact as I write this, if this morning’s skate is any indication, the Senators will indeed be splitting them up for tonight’s game. Silfverberg will be playing with Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson, while Zibanejad moves to the third line to play with Zack Smith and Chris Neil. Cory Conacher will play the wing alongside the returning Spezza and Milan Michalek.
Perhaps the best line this series has been the 4th line of Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Colin Greening and Erik Condra. When your 4th line is your best line offensively, you are in trouble most of the time, and that is where the Senators find themselves now.
Maybe the shakeup and the return of Spezza will be the tonic to cure what ails the Senators and they can get in the win column in this series.
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