Ottawa Senators: Tight Games Are Not A Good Sign


Who doesn’t love tight hockey games? It’s thrilling to watch two teams compete against each other in a close game where it seems like either team could pull away with the win. It certainly makes for exciting hockey. It seems like the Ottawa Senators find themselves in those kinds of games a lot. Right now, they are playing tight hockey games. However, there’s one thing that doesn’t seem to match up.

Have the Senators been playing those tight, exciting hockey games, or have they just been struggling?

Struggling to play with the lead. Struggling to finish out games, even finish out plays.

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The Senators currently sit in 2nd place in the Atlantic division, behind the 13-2-1 Montreal Canadiens, after their loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. The team has seemed to be designated the test rats for the new 3-on-3 overtime. Half of the team’s games have gone past regulation, five of those games going to the shootout.

It’s no secret how Erik Karlsson feels about the new OT, but no matter how he feels he’s playing an awful lot of it.

One glaringly obvious piece of evidence to support the fact that Ottawa is playing tight games is their goal differential. Their goal differential is currently even with 42 goals for and 42 goals against. One important piece of the puzzle to separate that goal different is secondary scoring. To read more about that, here is an article on the need of the team’s secondary scoring to improve.

After what was a heartbreaking loss to Carolina, there’s need to look at the problems the Sens are having. 4-3-3 in their last 10, the team needs to find ways to play with the lead.

They continued to deal with penalties on Sunday against Carolina, totalling 3 minor penalties all coming in the 2nd period.

For most of the game against Carolina, the Sens were leading a game that they had no business leading. By the end of the night, the Hurricanes outshot Ottawa 46 to 21. For the season, Ottawa has only outshot their opponent five times out of their total fourteen games.

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The Senators’ powerplay has been another piece of the puzzle that needs some polishing. Having scored only 6 goals out of a total of 43 power play opportunities, they currently sit tied 25th in the league in PP standings.

Although it’s still early in the season, the Senators need to switch their focus on the powerplay back to the simple way of doing things. Shoot often, and generate traffic in front of the net. There’s a really it’s a cliché. It’s because it works.

Tight games are great for hockey fans, but, 2nd in the Atlantic doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re at .500%.