Sens Cut The Sabres Lead.

2 games, 2 statement wins.

6-2 vs. PIT, 5-3 vs. BUF.

Is this team getting it together, or are they getting lucky?

Well, after 20 games, the defacto 1/4 mark of the season, the Sens sit a mere point out of 1st in their division, and tied for 10th best P% in the league.

All this while  playing several games without their best dmen (Kuba, Volchy), their #1 goaltender, and their #1 centre.

Doesn’t seem like luck to me, despite the opinion of a certain MLSE sycophant on SNET.

Tonight showed back to back games where Ottawa ceaselessly dogged the puck, forcing the opposition into repeated turn-overs in the offensive zone.  It would seem to me Clouston as his players all pulling in the same direction, and that bodes well for the future.

The only outstanding area of concern is Spezza.  Sure, he’s playing a tremendous 2 way game, and I have no issues with his over-all performance, but eventually his lack of production will cost this team a win.  Tonight however showed improvement, and he had his chances, leading me to believe the best is yet to come.

I doubt anyone expected more at this point than what the Sens have delivered, and with Volchy on the mend, the future looks bright.

But, with an angry WSH up next, OTT will have to keep their ego’s in check, and their work boots on, or risk a humiliating beat down come Monday night.

Ah the NHL, the wonderful word of “what have you done for me lately!”



11 Responses to “Sens Cut The Sabres Lead.”

  1. Spezza’s play has impressed me to no end this year. The guy has improved in so many ways that I can’t believe it’s the same guy. The scoring will come, hopefully not at the cost of some of his dumb plays from the past. I agree with you on the ego thing. A perfect example was Neil’s stupid penalty towards the end of the third. That is a little too much swagger in the attitude department. The team should come first.

  2. I agree whit Carver that the late game double minor was perhaps not the most clever action available. Kept the fans (me) in the game to the very end though.

  3. The Sens have been good at “finding a way”, which is awesome. I’m not too worried about Spezza’s (lack of) scoring. Like Fisher’s scoring, these things are cyclical. Hockey is a team game and the season is long.
    I’m worried about the team’s balance with no Chum. With Kovalev gone too, Clouston had to shorten his bench and the Sens didn’t have their “Fourth Line Surprise” that has been so effective against other teams’ weakest links. I really hope Winnie, Shannon or Regin gets a spark and can provide some of that missing energy. I’d love to see some “Win One For Chum!” signs at SBP until he’s back.
    Funny how we don’t hear so much from the Picard (or Campoli, Lee) haters after these games. These young guys are being pressed into playing minutes they shouldn’t have to…and they’re coming along. I still shudder at what a bunch of angry skilled forwards can do with this crew (hello…Caps anyone?) but for these last few games they’ve really done well, so props are due. Lee seems to be trying hard to concentrate on being a “stay at home” guy, which is a good thing. It didn’t turn out too badly for Phillips when he made that choice all those years ago.

    The one “individual stat” I’ve been worried about is finally on the good side. After this game, both Ottawa goalies now have a Save % above .900. Woohoo! It’s hard to win games if your goalie isn’t stopping more than 9 out of 10 shots on goal.

    As for the hate for Neil, his teammates know that he saved their bacon for 56 minutes so they were glad to save his for 4. When Shannon crapped the bed in the first period on the second line, Clouston put Neiler up there with immediate results. I wish the refs would stop calling things based on “reputation” and just call what actually happens. They always seem to “not see” what the opponents do and capture every second of retaliation and sticking up for your team.

  4. Just to continue with the comments. Regin and Shannon have not been effective. I say continue with Cheechoo until they show they’re better. I know I have said this before. But it is incredible that Sens have both Kuba and Picard for Meszaros. Campoli is not great but not bad either for the price tag. Carkner is the best rookie so far. I keep looking at the baby Sens, Karlsson is not as dominant as he is billed to be. So chances are we see Lee most of the Season whenever another D is needed.

  5. The Neil 2x penalty…a joke. If Shannon earned a penalty for not running away after Mair chased him down, why wouldn’t that douchebag Kaleta get an unsportsmanlike for acting like he’d been gutted by Neil? A 2x minor was truly a farce.
    As for the defense…very impressive. I think campoli has looked brilliant the last few games, playing great defense with tremendous transition. Picard has shown some stunning offense, to go along with his occasional brain freezes, but all in all, nothing to complain about, at all. Carks…what can I say? Big minutes, solid defensive play, and the ability to throw with anybody in the league…awesome.
    I also think Winnie is coming along, considering his time off. I vbelieve he brings everything Chum has to offer. Next up will be Bass should Regin not get it together soon.

  6. Um guys… 2 assists in one game is a pretty good night. If Spezza gets 2 assists every game this year, that’s 164 points! We have NOTHING to worry about with Spezza. He’ll get a few more bounces and the goals will come too. Chill on the 1 goal thing. He’s still a HUGE factor on the ice.

  7. @Oman – He was also a huge factor in the Sabres 2nd goal and was a liability all night long—which is one reason why the timing of the “tremendous 2-way game” comment is odd. Obviously Spezza has played some nice all-around games this year, but last night was not one of them. It actually concerns a lot that he can’t seem to have a presence in both ends of the ice on the same night—he’s either putting up points or he’s playing a game that keeps me satisfied.

    Last night appeared to be a step in the wrong direction for Spezza Imo. I was not pleased at all.

    • Mike, in all fairness, it’s pretty tough to hang that goal on Spezza. It wasn’t his man alone in front of the net to tip it in, it was Picards. In fact, if you watch the play that led to the goal, you’ll see that Picard lost 4 consecutive puck battles, then, after the last, allowed Kaleta to move uncontested to the front of the net for the tip in.
      Admittedly Spezza looked pathetic in his akward attempt at stopping the pass, but he had his man covered, unlike Picard.

  8. GN:

    Regin and Winchester are the key to our “New” 4th line they get to cary #26 or #41 but those two got to get it together between them.

    If I’m Alf, I step on Jason’s three gammers and hand him the factory model…he’s illegal and that tooth pick toe cannot stop the puck let alone shoot it…it might/should change his luck! Remember he’s skatin’ like never before so when your skating good things eventually go your way.

    And…and like I said 4 games ago…if Kuba plays at all these guys are going to be fun to watch…that was a 4mill type game last knight followed by #4’s the game before.

    Carks’ shortfall is his skating so he just lets #45 skate miles out there for him every night don’t under sell this…don’t get me wrong Matt pays it all back and then some around our own net…that’s why they are so effective a pair!

  9. Hey Mike – From what I’ve read when Yzerman concentrated on being a 2-way player he went 20+ games without scoring a goal – Bowman didn’t hang him out to dry but then again that Detroit team might have been a tad stronger thsn the current Sens – still if Spezza can be an Yzerman style player I advocate patience

    • Stevie Y’s worse statistical year just happened to be the year he won the Conn Smyth…take it for what it’s worth.

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