After the Ottawa Senator’s agonising loss in the shootout to the Philadelphia Flyers. We analyse the Sens shortcomings in front of goal.
For a team sitting second in the Atlantic with a realistic chance of capturing the top-spot, you wouldn’t think that goal scoring would be an issue. It is for the Ottawa Senators.
The Sens have 14 in their last eight games, 13 if you don’t count the winning shootout goal against Pittsburgh. That leaves them with an average of 1.75 goals per game in that period, in comparison to their already-low 2.5 goals per game average.
I’m well aware that the Sens System is one that places far more emphasis on defence than offense. But you need to score more goals than the opposition to win games, it’s hockey 101. They’ve conceded 21 goals in that eight game span, a 2.62 goals against per game. Only .12 higher than their season average which pins them to ninth overall.
They’ve been outscored on average .875 goals per game, a losing formula. Which clearly explains two wins in eight games for a record of 2-3-3. The Sens have by themselves allowed Montreal to pull away and the teams below (Boston and Toronto) to draw nearer.
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Bobby Ryan simply cannot buy a goal. He is now on a ten-game goal drought. Ryan’s last goal coming on Valentines Day against Buffalo. Not only that, he is pointless in nine. For a top-six forward that is a pandemic. He’s only managed to put together 24 points in 58 outings all-year. This is a big drop from last year where he had an average of .691 points per game. That figure has dropped to .413 this time out. For a man who is on $7,250,000 until the end of time, .413 points per game isn’t going to cut it, irregardless of the system.
It’s not just a Bobby Ryan bashing, his teammates need to step up too. Kyle Turris has been the team’s leading scorer with 26, still lower than most teams highest goal scorers. Turris has a point output of .708.
For me, Mark Stone is comfortably the Sens best forward asset. His .769 points per game emphasise this. Not only that, his 17.6 percent shooting percentage is incredible.
Also bear in mind that Erik Karlsson has still flourished under The Systems’ restraints, albeit he has been given so more freedom to roam.
Has The System Killed Creative Flair?
In a lot of ways it has, having to rely on the chances afforded by other teams mistakes, they can be few and far between. Added to this, when breaking out the Sens are under such a defensive mindset, at times they look as if they’ve forgotten how to attack.
It’s not as if the Ottawa Senators don’t possess offensive talents. The top-six on its’ day is pound-for-pound up there with most elite teams. While not possessing one star individual their whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.
While The System should be celebrated for all it has done, there isn’t room for stagnation. If the last eight games tell you anything, it’s that teams are finally wising up to the Ottawa Senators tactics. Changes are needed to avoid an early exit from this year’s playoffs.