There were a lot of passengers in Wednesday’s 7-3 loss to the Penguins that have put them on the brink. Putting that game aside, there are a trio of players in particular who must step their game up to a higher level if the Senators are going to stay alive for a game 6 at home on Sunday.
The centre has been pointless and a -4 in 5 games this series. The return of Jason Spezza was supposed to take some of the pressure off the young forward, but he has been overmatched at centre against the Penguins.
The “other” Swedish rookie has struggled almost as much as his countryman has. Silfverberg has only 1 assist in the series and is a -3.
3. Zack Smith
The centre recently turned winger has been ineffective in his stint on the wing. He has one point and is only -1 this series, but his key attribute – his physical presence – has been lacking.
Heading into the series, I said that the pair of Swedes should be broken up, and that Zibanejad would be better off playing the wing. Well, I was half wrong. As it turns out, they have been terrible, and almost invisible since they were split up. If the morning skate was any indication, the duo will be reunited for game 5, hopefully to get them back on track, because Ottawa needs all hands on deck to beat the Penguins, and their performance thus far has been disappointing. The third of the struggling trifecta, Smith, has been added to their wing (apparently) although playing Smith up the middle and Zibanejad on the wing would be a much better fit.
Either the threesome are going to blend together nicely and have a great game, or….you don’t want want me to finish that sentence.