Ottawa Senators: The Need For Secondary Scoring


It has been much of a relief to see the first line in Ottawa have success. The theme surrounding the beginning of the Ottawa Senator’s season has been question marks. Kyle Turris has taken it upon himself to eliminate the questions surrounding his ability to be a first line centre.

Turris has gone through his fair share of struggles over the years. After the Jason Spezza trade right after the 2013-2014 season, the role of first line centre was put in his hands. Although having a career high in points last year with 64 (24 goals, 40 assists) it took a while for him to get things going, as he struggled to put up points at the beginning of the year.

This year, it looks like he has come prepared. He looks much stronger, and together with Mark Stone, their playmaking abilities have made for some pristine highlight reel goals. So far, Turris is a point per game play for the Senators, tallying 13 points through the team’s first 13 games.

Unfortunately, the praise earned by Turris and the rest of the first line can’t be said for the rest of the team.

Of course, Bobby Ryan has no doubt struggled early. However, lately it seems as though the stubbornness of Dave Cameron to not put him on the first line during the injury woes is paying off. Mike Zibanejad and Ryan are starting to develop some chemistry together.

Although things got off to a painfully slow start to the season for Ryan, he has come out alive and is helping the Senators win games. He ranks fourth on the team for points with 10 (5 goals, 5 assists) and has been terrific in the shootout for the Sens.

For a team that leads the league in shootout appearances with 5, Bobby Ryan has done his job in that department, going 4 for 5 in the shootout so far this year.

With the second line developing it’s chemistry without the likes of Clarke MacArthur, things are looking up for them.

It’s when you look at lines three and four that the trouble begins.

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Jean Gabriel Pageau has been excellent on the penalty kill for the Senators and, as always, you can expect him to show up against the Montreal Canadiens. He has been playing mostly alongside Alex Chaisson and Milan Michalek.

The third line for the Senators has combined for only 11 points this year, with Alex Chaisson continuing to have trouble finishing plays. Similarly to last year, Chaisson has been a solid third line forward for the Senators, but, when given a scoring opportunity, it seems everything is stopping him from putting the puck in the back of the net.

Through 13 games, Chaisson has recorded merely 2 points (1 goal and 1 assist).

The fourth line for the Ottawa Senators is met with quite obvious doubt. Powered by the likes of Chris Neil and Zach Smith, scoring is a rarity. The tough guys working alongside rookie Matt Puempel have combined for 5 points.

Most notably, long-time linemates Neil and Smith have been a driving force for the team to claim the league lead in penalty minutes. The duo has combined for 56 total penalty minutes through the first 13 games.

A game that goes by without one of those two in the penalty box doesn’t come by often.

Next: How Good Is Kyle Turris?

Along with the obvious need to stay out of the box, the Senators, currently holding a goal differential of +1, need their bottom two lines to contribute to the scoring if they hope to end games in regulation.

Without that scoring depth, when Turris and the rest of the first line is met with some adversity, the team could find itself on the losing end of these tight games.