Curious Lineup Shuffle for The Ottawa Senators Heading Into Game 5


During game 3, I tweeted out that the best chance for consistent offense for the Senators would be to assemble the Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek line.  It appears that I will be getting my wish, judging from the morning skate.

Dec 13, 2011; Buffalo, NY, USA; Ottawa Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson (11) and center Jason Spezza (19) watch from the bench against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

In fact, other than the Spezza-Michalek-Alfredsson line, the other combinations are kind of confusing.  First, they are breaking up the most consistent trio of the series so far in Colin GreeningJean-Gabriel PageauErik Condra, replacing Pageau with Kyle Turris.  Then they are taking Pageau and playing him in a more defensive role with Chris Neil and either Matt Kassian, Guillaume Latendresse or Cory Conacher.

I would prefer to see Turris centering the Swedes Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg, giving them a potentially potent offesnive line.  Meanwhile I would put Zack Smith with Neil and “the other one”.  That line would have the greatest potential to get under the Penguins’ skin while being fairly responsible defensively. It would also allow Smith to move back to the middle, a position that he is much more sited for than the wing.

Paul MacLean gets paid the big bucks to make those decisions, so I am going to have to defer to the decisions he has mad.  However, I don’t completely understand them and am not convinced they will give the Senators their best lineup to win.