Bobby Ryan is coming off a terrible end-of-season slump, but heads..."/> Bobby Ryan is coming off a terrible end-of-season slump, but heads..."/> Bobby Ryan is coming off a terrible end-of-season slump, but heads..."/>

Despite Slump, Bobby Ryan Leads Young Forward Group Heading Into Montreal

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Bobby Ryan is coming off a terrible end-of-season slump, but heads into the playoffs as one of Ottawa’s leaders in terms of Playoff experience. With the slump hoping to be behind him, Ryan shifts his efforts into getting Ottawa past their 1st round opponent, the Montreal Canadiens

Ryan’s slump was highlighted by only registering a point in 3 of his last 18 games. This, of course leading to a career low 0.23 goals-per-game, just lower than his shortened season total of 0.24 goals-per-game. Sadly, it was just the last 20 or so games that took what was looking like a fantastic season and completely turned it around.

Ryan had recorded 49 points in 60 games heading into the slump, a total most Senators fans were pleased with. His goal scoring wasn’t there like we hoped it would be, but he had noticeably improved his game, especially in terms of 200 foot play. He was still on pace for 23 goals, but couldn’t hit the mark at the end of the day as his game slumped for the seasons last 20 games.

A similar issue occurred last season, yet Ryan was determined to have been playing through a sports hernia. The story wasn’t the same this season, as Bobby Ryan was quoted as saying he “just [sucked]” at one point in time.

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Luckily for Senators fans, Bobby Ryan’s game can only improve and since he’s had success in the playoffs before. Expect his game to be of great importance if the Senators are going to make some noise in the Playoffs.

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The Senators are a young team and Ryan will be the 3rd most experienced Senator in terms playoff games played. (Milan Michalek and David Legwand being the only two with more games of experience.)

Ryan has 10 goals in 26 career NHL games, and will have a few days to regain his confidence heading into an important series vs Montreal.

MacArthur Gets Another Chance

When Clarke MacArthur steps on the ice for his first playoff game as an Ottawa Senator, it will be just his 6th career NHL playoff game—a low total for someone with over 500 regular season games played.

Just under two years ago, MacArthur’s former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs were battling the Bruins in the opening round of the 2013 NHL playoffs. MacArthur registered two goals in that series, including one in game 7, yet found himself being healthy scratch twice under coach Randy Carlyle that series.

The Leafs let him go as a UFA and Ottawa gave him a shot, where his 55 point season in 13-14 erased any memories of the hiccups he had in 12-13.

Along with Ryan, look for MacArthur’s veteran presence to be a big factor in this series. MacArthur has 9 points in his last 9 games, and unlike Ryan, has been hot.

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Ryan and MacArthur worked well previously. If Milan Michalek is ready to go, could we see a new look top 6? Maybe with MacArthur and Ryan on a line centered by Mika Zibanejad and Michalek up with the big boys in Turris and Stone? We’ll see, but I doubt Cameron plays with the lineups too much, given the teams recent success.

Hammond Unproven In Post-Season, Remains Important

Another huge storyline to follow for this team. He, along with Karlsson and Stone have acted as “the big 3” it takes to compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

We’ve seen it in the past. Toews/Keith/Crawford in Chicago, Kopitar/Doughty/Quick in L.A, Bergeron/Chara/Thomas in Boston, all the recent Stanley Cup winners (or teams who have gone far) have had those big three.

While the fact remains that Ottawa may only have one proven top 3 guy in Karlsson, Hammond and Stone have acted as the other two down the stretch for the Ottawa Senators.

The matchup ahead isn’t easy, but the “Hamburglar” and Stone have bought each other a chance to continue their late successes in hopes of playoff success.

More Senators Notes

Senators GM Bryan Murray mentioned Buddy Robinson by name as the next call-up. While the team’s streak made it hard for Ottawa to make a roster move, Senators management owes Robinson one, have to wonder if he gets a sniff out of training camp—Jared Cowen hasn’t played in 8 games, yet Eric Gryba has been atrocious. Gryba could be one bad play away from a lineup change—Matt Puempel looked like a solid NHLer before his injury, have to think Ottawa looks forward to the return of Puempel and Michalek, hopefully in place of Alex Chiasson and Zack Smith—A Colin Greening buyout surely isn’t far away, a great guy, but a contract Murray certainly regrets, doubtful that we see him at all this—Andrew Hammond is the Senators’ x-factor, how far can he take them? A playoff series win would be nice.

Around the NHL

The defending cup champs are out this year, I’m thinking the cup comes out of the east, as despite the lack of elite level opponents the east has held something special unlike the west this year. New York tops the list of teams to beat—Robyn Regehr is set to call it a career in Los Angeles. A nice career for sure, but it shows how the speed of the game has caught up to veteran defenders who are slow on their feet—A few more affected NHLers?  Tim Gleason and Chris Phillips, who may find themselves calling it a career this off-season—One guy who seems to defy age? Mark Streit, who has had an amazing year and showcased his abilities vs Ottawa yesterday—a story to follow this, like any season was the NHL trade deadline. Should buyers be weary next season? look at the failures of this year. Mike Santorelli, Cody Franson, Kimmo Timonen, Antoine Vermette, and Andrej Sekera have all left things to be desired as big tag deadline deals—deals that worked out? Jeff Petry in Montreal and Zybnek Michalek in St. Louis. Have to think they command considerable raises come the Free Agency period.