Some losses you can take with a grain of salt. Especially after 8 of their last 10 games being on the road.
But that wasn’t one of them, and there’s one more road match to go.
It seemed, apart from the first 10 minutes of the game, Ottawa was going through the paces in last nights match-up with the Stars. Almost as if they knew they didn’t have the gas to go a full sixty minutes, and tried to put it away early.
I guess, in some ways, the loss was Karma, how many late flurries has Ottawa capitalized on in this season? Enough to make one going the other way only fair, I guess. But I can’t help feeling like that game was given away. Those were 2 points there to be had, that if this team has real post season ambitions, may come back to haunt them. This will not be a team able to win on any given night, they will have to make the most of every opportunity, and last night, collectively, they squandered one.
Spezza has to be better, Foligno has to be better, and Alfie has to be better. Yes, they had their chances, and apart from the glorious save in the last second on an Alfredsson wrist shot, they collectively failed to push Raycroft into un-comfortable positions. A goalie shouldn’t be considered to have won a game, when he made just one great save, in the last second, no less.
No, the Sens dropped that game due to a lack of focus and effort. It wasn’t terrible, but, as the scoresheet showed, it wasn’t enough. If the Sens were beaten by a better team, fair enough, but to be beaten by a better effort…that just doesn’t cut it.
No doubt the team is tired, and likely were looking past this game (and the next), with thoughts of their own beds, and dressing room, but when you let a win slip away, in the final few minutes of a match, there has to be notice taken, and given.
I expected the vets to do more, and the rookies to play more directly. Too much passing, and too much reacting. They all know it, too.
On a bright note, I thought Rundblad looked much better than in his previous games, both with and without the puck (although, giving up the slot, to pursue an opponent into the corner…not a good decision, and the Stars netted one for his folly). I expect he will continue to improve with every passing game, and maybe the time in the press box helped ease him into the game, taking off some of the pressure of doing too much, or feeling undue pressure. He looked nervous at the start of the season, where as he looks comparatively composed (for a rookie) now.
Filatov, too, was decent. He went to the dirty places, maintained an effort to defensive play, and although didn’t help offensively, didn’t hurt the club either. This isn’t to say he was good enough, he wasn’t, but neither were a number of players.
I expect a far better effort in the next game, less cutesy passing plays, more N/S from the third line, and, hopefully, more production from the top line…although, with two rookies, that is still asking a lot. No doubt Washington is looking to have a “snap back” game against Ottawa, like they had last season at this time, that led to their season turning around after a bad start. Can Ottawa keep the Caps down, or will this be another blow-out?
Lastly, Foligno at centre. I don’t like it. As Canuck Nik once put it, on the wing he plays like a centre, on the centre he plays like a wing…but earlier in the season he was getting to the front of the net, which is what his game needs to be. Moving him to centre only stunts his development as a winger, IMO, and his play has done little to improve the second line.
The answer to this lack of a legit 2LC is not on the roster (yet). Can the team really wait an entire season (or two) for one to develop? I just don’t think so, and considering the extensive depth in the bottom six, and defensive prospects, I do still believe this team should make a deal for a centre
Is Brassard “the answer”, no, and his salary is a bitter pill to swallow, for sure, but he absolutely is an upgrade over Foligno, DaCosta or Regin, at centre.
Same can be said for Gagne and Turris.