A vast amount of media spotlight and to some extent blame has been placed on the goaltenders of the Ottawa Senators. The main three being Craig Anderson, Mike Condon and Andrew Hammond. If the last two results are anything to go by, there are bigger issues at play.
Over the last two games, they have conceded 10 goals and score none. Thus they are scoreless in their last two hours of NHL hockey. Supposedly a nailed on playoff team, yet all the focus was on the goaltenders as pucks flew into the Ottawa Senators net. The other end of the ice is far more concerning and is why the organisation must act fast if they are to prevent a titanic situation.
Two Game Shutout
You might be reading this and thinking, come on, lets not exaggerate these issues. Getting sparked 10-0 by two bang average teams isn’t cutting the mustard. The Buffalo Sabres are not in playoff contention yet and the St. Louis have had one of the largest conference final hangovers. The Ottawa Senators did not play the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals in their last two games.
What Do The Numbers Say
Frankly, there’s been too much attention on the goaltenders and not enough on the defensive and forward units. The Ottawa Senators Corsi For percentage (that’s essentially shots for and against divided by shots for) is ranked ninth worst in the league at 48.26 percent. This is not a definitive measure of a teams success or failings but a playoff team needs to be over the 50 percent mark. Meaning every game, Ottawa Senator goaltenders are having a higher workload than their opponents and if you believe the numbers, will concede more goals.
Added to this, The Ottawa Senators Fenwick For percentage (that’s the percentage of all unblocked shots taken by team) is eighth worst in the league at 48.25 percent. Again below par of 50 percent. Showing they are allowing more unblocked shots on their net than their opponents which not only gives the goaltender a higher workload. It shows that players aren’t committing to get in front of shots, or working hard enough to get into those positions.
Finally, in terms of Goals For percentage (goals for minus goals against divided by goals for) sit in 11th with 46.99 percent. Once again showing that the Ottawa Senators are not only allowing more shots and unblocked shots but more goals as well. Their penalty differential doesn’t fair well either at minus 11. Linking that with the other statistics, if you offer up too many penalties, you will concede more shot attempts and eventually more goals.
The numbers aren’t always the best medium to show a teams failings but here the numbers match the play. The general consensus is that the team are not working hard enough in games and has shown up in the figures. Those numbers clearly highlight the failings of the offense and defense. If the Ottawa Senators had Carey Price those numbers would not change vastly. There’s still five other guys on the ice who need to do their job. The argument will be that Guy Boucher sets them up defensively and that it is likely they will allow more shots off. Evidently, they aren’t defending well to stop the goals nor are they outscoring their opposition.