The Sens did all they could to lose their game on Friday night, but they managed to scrape by with a shootout loss and a loser point. Today marks one of the most anticipated returns of the year, with Sergei Gonchar coming in to town with the Dallas Stars. Joining him is former Boston Bruin superstar Tyler Seguin.
(4-6-3, 11 points) 6th Atlantic Division
(5-6-2, 12 points) 6th Central Division
1:00 PM, Canadian Tire Centre
TV: Rogers Sportsnet Radio: TSN 1200
12/01/2011 Ottawa 2 @ Dallas 3
Ottawa lost for a fourth straight game, allowing 57 shots and blowing a 2-goal lead twice. Something needs to change. Dallas lost 3-2 to surprising Colorado on Friday.
Players to Watch:
Jared Cowen, OTT- The big man will be playing with Erik Karlsson on the team’s first pairing. Hopefully he stops trying to do too much with the puck, and settles down in his own end. If he can’t do that, even with the team’s best player, then he needs to sit, even for just a game or 2 to relax.
Alex Chiasson, DAL- Has cooled off a bit, with 0 points in his last 4 games, but the Stars rookie has tallied 5 goals and 4 assists in the 9 games before that stretch. In 7 games last year, he had 6 goals and 1 assist, so he can definitely put the puck in the net. He plays on the first line with Seguin and Ryan Whitney, so he’s also got the benefit of some pretty good talent to play with.
Top 3 Storylines
1. Defence, Wherefore art thou Defence? Ottawa needs to stop getting pinned down in their own end. Robin Lehner now has the two highest regulation save counts for Ottawa, and they’ve both come within the first 13 games of the season. Completely unacceptable. The team has to be able to break out of their own end, and I’m still confused as to how they haven’t got it figured out yet.
2. Et tu, Gonchar? Staying with the defensive theme, with Sergei Gonchar returning to Ottawa today, some are wondering if the team should have let him go. I’ll admit, his play last year when Karlsson went down was surprising, and quite good. But that Gonchar is gone now. In his place is a guy who has 1 point in 13 games, and is 6th in ice time for Dallas defencemen. I’d take the 6th round pick every time.
3. Where are the fans? Ottawa’s home attendance has dropped in each of their first five home games, from a worrying 18,867 in the home opener against New Jersey, down to a dreadful 15,589 on Friday night against the Islanders. Will that trend change with a 1:00 puck drop on a Sunday afternoon? The NFL might have something to say about that. I just hope the struggling attendance numbers don’t cause Bryan Murray to do something rash. Some people are calling for a trade, but unless it makes the team better now and in the future, I don’t like it. Stick to your guns, let the young guys get experience. We have time to come back from this start, and we’ll be a better team for it.
Per James Gordon, and the Dallas Stars website, today’s lineups:
MacArthur – Turris – Ryan
Conacher – Spezza – Neil
Michalek – Smith – Zibanejad
Greening – Grant – Kassian
Cowen – Karlsson
Phillips – Methot
Borowiecki – Gryba
Wiercioch – Corvo
Whitney – Seguin – Chiasson
Benn – Eakin – Nichushkin
Rouseel – Fiddler – Peverley
Garbutt – Horcoff – Cole
Dillon – Robidas
Daley – Gonchar
Goligoski – Benn
*Head Coach Paul Maclean has not said which two players will sit, although we do know that Mark Borowiecki will make his season debut, Ottawa MAY dress 7 defenceman, and Colin Greening did not spend a lot of time on that 4th line in practice. My guess is that Greening and Gryba sit, with Boro playing as a 7th defenceman.
Ottawa needs to get back to basics. Play physical, get the puck out of your zone, and screen the other team’s goalie. Until they do that, we’ll continue to see 50 shot games, and way too many losses. Go Sens Go