Wednesday was a day off for the Ottawa Senators, who were licking their wounds following the Chicago Blackhawks’ 6-5 comeback win Tuesday.
From a fan’s point of view, an 11-goal game offers plenty of entertainment. But from a coach’s perspective, it means there were way too many mistakes. There are endless areas for improvement and it stands to reason that Senators coach Paul MacLean will offer up plenty of video for the team to digest before meeting the new-look New York Islanders on Friday.
Come Thursday, a main question will revolve around whether Robin Lehner will get his first start since losing 3-1 to the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 19. Will struggling defenceman Jared Cowen be a healthy scratch against the Islanders? What are the chances Mark Borowiecki will be recalled from Binghamton of the AHL (that decision would require a counter-move and every other Senators defenceman would need to clear waivers before being assigned to the American Hockey League).
For now, here’s a statistical look at the first dozen games, with some comparisons to the state of affairs early in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
It’s not all bad — the club’s power play and penalty kill success is among the top half of teams in the NHL — but it’s clear the Senators must seriously cut down on the goals and shots against.
The goaltending numbers are nowhere near where they were last season, but the Senators’ struggles shouldn’t all land on the netminders’ shoulders. Defensive awareness must improve. What isn’t easily determined is the number of turnovers at the blue lines, a glaring weakness for the Senators against Chicago and throughout the opening month of the season.
To the numbers:
2013-14 Record After 12 Games: 4-6-2
2012-13 Record After 12 Games: 6-4-2
2013-14 Goals For-Goals Against, First 12 Games: 35-38
2012-13 Goals For-Goals Against, First 12 Games: 31-23
Most Shots Against Per Game, 2013-14: Ott: 37.0, Tor: 35.5, Buf: 35.2, Was: 34.5
Most Shots Against Per Game, 2012-13: Buf: 33.5, Edm: 32.8, Tor: 32.3, Was: 32.3, Car: 32.2, Ott: 31.3
Senators power play percentage
2013-14: 20.0 (T-13th, NHL)
2012-13: 15.9 (20th, NHL)
Senators penalty killing percentage
2013-14: 84.2 (8th, NHL)
2012-13: 88.0 (1st, NHL)
Craig Anderson goals against average
2013-14 season: 3.16 (30th, NHL)
2012-13 season: 1.69 (1st, NHL)
Craig Anderson save percentage
First 12 games, 2013-14 season: .911 (23rd, NHL)
2012-13 season: .941 (1st, NHL)
Robin Lehner goals-against average
2013-14 season: 2.41 (30th)
2012-13 season: 2.20 (9th)
Robin Lehner save percentage
2013-14 season: .936 (13th)
2012-13 season: .940 (2nd)
Senators faceoff percentage
2013-14: Jason Spezza 55.3, Derek Grant 52.4, Zack Smith 50.6, Kyle Turris 44.5, Mika Zibanejad 35.3, Jean-Gabriel Pageau 30.9
2012-13: Jason Spezza 57.1, Zack Smith 51.8, Kyle Turris 49.0, Jean-Gabriel Pageau 48.8, Mika Zibanejad 46.4, Jim O’Brien 45.7
Senators top three in plus/minus: Clarke MacArthur +6, Cory Conacher +6, Kyle Turris +3
Senators bottom three in plus/minus: Jason Spezza -6, Milan Michalek -6, Erik Condra -5