"Chris Phillips is wrong. Confidence is something that can be picked up at the grocery store." ~ Guy who regularly hits on grocery store cashiers
If you're an Ottawa Senators fan, every game of this young NHL season seemingly feels like its become the most important one of the season. With each passing game, there's this growing sense of urgency that the Senators need to reverse their fortunes and soon. As I wrote for James Gordon's Ottawa Citizen Prediction Panel, a loss against Toronto and the Sens Army will be reduced to a catatonic state. The only thing bigger than this game is JS Giguere’s equipment.
As the losses mount, the blame gets passed around. Is it the personnel? Is it Bryan Murray? Is it the coaching staff? As one reader pointed out, who has to run our bench to get this right, - the Auditor-General? It’s either Clouston or Carvel or both of them. At least, John Paddock and Craig Hartsburg could change the friggin’ lines.
Don Brennan believes that the problem lies in the fact that the Senators are not scoring more goals than they give up.
Is it that simple though?
With an 11-game sample size, let's take a look at some important numbers:
- Ottawa is currently tied for the NHL's 19th highest goal total with 26 tallies. Of all the teams below them in this ranking, only New Jersey has played in eleven or more games. Every other team has played less games.
- Having allowed 35 goals, Ottawa has given up the 8th most number of goals in the NHL.
- With a GAA of 3.16 and a save percentage of 90.0%, Ottawa has the 7th worst mark in both categories.
- To date, Ottawa's goaltenders have the 9th highest shot total in the League with 349. (Saving 314 of them.)
- The power play has overcome a bit of a slow start and is trending upwards at a 15-percent success clip.
- With an 85.1% success rate, Ottawa's penalty killing has the 9th best mark in the League.
- Even though he's only played six games, Jason Spezza hasn't committed a giveaway yet. Conversely, Alex Kovalev and Erik Karlsson lead the team with 14 apiece.
I'm not sure what it is about the Ottawa Senators but every time one player returns to health, a few players seemingly go down with injury. First it was Jason Spezza drawing back into the lineup and Milan Michalek needing time off to rest his ailing knee. Now that Pascal Leclaire is fit to backup Brian Elliott in Toronto tonight, Daniel Alfredsson left twenty minutes into practice yesterday with an undisclosed lower body injury. Alfredsson is expected to play tonight however.
- As I noted underneath the blog picture, Chris Phillips' confidence is failing him.
- In a must-read, former 6th Sens Podcast guest Kurtis Foster talks about the tragedy of his infant daughter's death.
- In the Senators Extra poll, 48-percent of the voters believe that the Senators will finish the season out of the playoff picture.