Game Day- Senators Close Out Road Trip in Phoenix

SensChirp October 20, 2013 25
Game Day- Senators Close Out Road Trip in Phoenix

After sloppy performances in San Jose and Anaheim over the weekend, the Ottawa Senators look to end their road trip on a positive note in Phoenix on Tuesday night.

It won’t be easy though as the Sens will be facing a Coyotes team that has reeled off three straight victories including a 5-3 win in Carolina on Sunday.  They are a well-coached team under Dave Tippett and will certainly give a sputtering Ottawa team all they can handle in this one.

I’m not sure what the record is for earliest use of the term “must win” but tonight’s game must be pretty close.  No it’s not a must win for the team but for a fan base that has been on edge after back to back losses over the weekend, a win would go a long way to calming the nerves a little bit.

This six game road trip has been gruelling for the Senators but if they can close it out with a win and a 2-2-2 record, things won’t look quite as bad as they head home for games against the Devils and the Oilers.

The Senators will take their game day skate around 2:30 PM today so we’ll know more details on the line up at that time.  After an ugly outing on Sunday, I would expect MacLean makes a couple changes.

(UPDATE 3:21 PM)- Here are the line combinations from the game day skate in Phoenix. Kassian and Gryba are in. Corvo and Da Costa have the night off.

Michalek-Spezza-Ryan
MacArthur-Turris-Conacher
Greening-Smith-Neil
Kassian-Pageau-Condra

Methot-Karlsson
Cowen-Wiercioch
Phillips-Gryba

Craig Anderson will get the start for Ottawa.

Puck drop is scheduled for just after 10:00 PM with the game available on Sportsnet East and on the radio at TSN 1200.

  • -A key piece in the Bobby Ryan deal has suffered a significant setback with Anaheim’s AHL team.  Stefan Noesen tore both the ACL and MCL in his knee over the weekend and is expected to miss the rest of this season.  A severe knee injury that early in a player’s career is always devastating but here’s hoping he has as quick a recovery as possible and can get back on track next season.
  • -An article from Senators Extra includes some interesting comments from Sens GM Bryan Murray about his level of patience and the possibility of changes.  While trades are always an option, I would suspect the team would try out some of their own guys before making a deal.  With Zibanejad, O’Brien, Hoffman, Borowiecki and Ceci waiting in the wings, a call up/demotion is the most likely option if the Sens continue to slide.
  • -Keep a close eye on how Head Coach Paul MacLean uses Jean Gabriel Pageau during tonight’s game.  Pageau played a team low 3:02 on Sunday night and is really going to have to earn his ice time tonight. If he struggles again, the #FreeMika campaign could have its way before the home opener on Thursday.

  • Jacques

    You mean low-lights!

  • matsoukas45

    i hate to say this but 19 and number 9 look old and to slow they are terrible. It looks like turris and macathur should get number 1 minutes

    • Conor_smythe

      they look old??? you must have really good seats

      • matsoukas45

        I think they have played terrible stop being a homer

        • Conor_smythe

          hahahahhaaha. I think I’m more harsh on the team than you,

  • Phil.

    (sarcasm) I propse widespead panic. I also propose someone demands Murray’s head for not keeping Rob Klinkhammer. (end sarcasm)
    We are 5 games in and only 2 teams are more than 2 points ahead in the East standings. There is plenty of time for ups and downs for all teams.

    • boom

      I’m less concerned about the losses than I am about how they are losing.
      Anderson has played one real strong game, the rest have not been good.
      Karlsson looks like he doesn’t care. It’s like he has forgotten everything he learned about when to take chances and when not to…

      Spezza looks awful.

      We can talk all we want about DaCosta and Pageau, and whether Zibanejad should be up here, but as long as our top 3 players are stinking the joint out, it makes little difference who plays in the bottom 6.

      • Phil.

        I completely agree. Obviously if Spezza, Anderson and Karlsson don’t improve, it’s going to be a rough year. And I agree that neither SDC nor Pageau are the make or break players. I just think it’s too early to assume the top players will be subpar for the long haul.

      • Sandy

        Even though he is my fav… I have absolute respect for Lehner.

        He faced 50 shots in SJ allowing 3 goals.. (2 on the PP) and last night faced 47 shots and allowed 2 goals.. That’s a lot of shots and quite a workout against teams he has never played against before.

        He is a beast… and will only get better…

        One of the few positives last night NO power play goals against.. Another positive the play of Turris.

        He has been the best Sens player the last 3 games..

  • NickofTime

    Now that we can see how big some of the western teams are & how easily they control the game against the Sens PM needs to end the Da Costa & Pageau experiment & put some bigger bodies into the bottom six. They just cannot compete against bigger teams, unfortunately, there is only one Montreal team in the league with smaller players.

    Also nice to see PM take Ryan away from Spezzza & put him with Turris who has been playing so much better this yr & put Greening back on that line. Keep in mind that there is no need to panic until the 20 game mark & Ottawa is still in the thick of things thanks to some other crappy teams in the east. PM really needs to give Hoffman, Zibanejad & Grant a shot here in Ottawa sooner rather than later.

    • Jacques

      I agree Grant would be a big improvement on Smith in the 4C spot!

      • Sensturion

        I’ve liked Smith’s game so far. Da Costa and Pageau? Not so much.

    • Sandy

      IF he was NHL ready.. Buddy Robinson would be ideal.
      Didn’t the Sens have Klinkhammer a few years back? He is doing quite well..

  • jasonontheoldsenschirp

    Sens are going to bounce back and win tomorrow night.

    That it all.

  • Sandy

    .500 on this road trip would be great. This is the most brutal road trip in the NHL.
    Listening to Pierre McGuire this morning.. he said the back to back involving travel to and from SJ is just brutal.

    They have a noise bylaw that stops flights late at night. So teams have to fly to San Fran or Oakland and bus 2-3 hours to SJ.
    Not surprised the Sens were sluggish.. but they were just downright awful. I have never seen this team play like that.
    The previous losses were all by 1 goal — losses due to too many penalties and too many PP goals by the opposition.
    Last night they were just outmatched and outplayed…
    These young players who have never played a Western conference team sure got a rude awakening.
    How much better could this team have done if this road trip was a month or two in the season — rather than at the beginning.
    In the pre-season line combos played together.. but not the entire team.. They are not ‘gelling’ as a team yet.
    Spezza is far from game shape.. I agree with Yost that Turris’ should play at the #1 centre position with McArthur & Ryan and let Spezza go a line down — at least until he gets his skating legs going. He has had little game time and little practice time and he is behind everyone else.

    The defense looks extremely terrible. They don’t seem to know where they are on the ice?
    I think today, McLean should make them watch that game last night to see how bad they really did.. and what they were doing so very wrong..

  • MoeDozer

    not to sound like a smart ass but i somewhat expected this road trip to most likely have an ugly turn because the team has to deal with a ton of travel time (if anyone else has had the opportunity to fly coast to coast often can tell you just 3 hours of jet lag can really mess with your circadian rhythm) so that reduces your overall energy and practice time. sens last year were 10-11-3 on the road. but 15-6-3 at home. even though last years sched had tons of bad luck timing (all the back to back nights while playing leafs on second night every time).

    obviously that road record is not acceptable if we want to be a serious contender this year but it will not improve until the team gets a chance to come home, regroup, get some tough practices in.

    the positives from this trip is this was a good lesson to the entire team from young guys to vets. Im glad we got it out of the way early in the year rather than near the end when we are fighting for points.

  • SensChirp
  • Mat

    No need to repeat, those were horrendous games in SJ and Ana. We looked like we didn’t even belong in the same league. Thank god for Lehner cause we were on life support for practically 120 min.

    And can we PLEASE focus in the first two minutes?? WTF!?! How deflating is it when you’re down 1-0 every first shot of EVERY game!?! We need to start warming up properly and work hard from the drop of the puck.

    This team’s confidence is rattled. Can Spezza motivate his troops? Prove yourself #19…

  • hq8

    what a shit show in anaheim. i thought they would have a better game than they did in SJ considering SJ is the better team. i think pageau is not ready for regular season crunch yet and two faceoffs last night absolutely burnt him. great kid with a lot of passion, but maybe the time is not right now. what was he doing out there on a faceoff against getzlaf of all people on the second goal……?!?!?!
    its just frustrating. i know its 5 games in and all but we had a great finish to last year given all the injuries. this year was supposed to be an exciting start but its been a snoozer and full of disappointment. the only positives left to pick after the last game are: ryan, karlsson looking somewhat better and lehner. otherwise the game was full of bad pinches, bad penalties and a very very lousy effort on faceoffs.
    i dont know, but the possession style system that maclean wants them to play is not going to work with DaCosta and Pageau taking draws at 30%. usually a 3C/4C has to be 50% and above at faceoffs – otherwise the system falls apart. and that is happening to the sens.
    just very very disappointing.

  • MethotToMyMadness

    Hard game to watch as a Sens Fan. But we did play two of the NHL’s best teams in a back to back and we kept it close against SJ, and the wheels just feel off last night. Nothing you can do about that. But like some are saying, it was an eye opener for many of the younger guys, which is good for the long haul. Another positive, we’ve now seen back to back situations of what Lehner can do when called upon.

    Can Ottawa play pound for pound with the West? I think so. We are not a small team by league standards. But are the Sens in good enough shape after such a brutal road schedule to start off the season? I think we know the answer.

    It will be nice to have this Western swing out of the way early. Looking at it from a game situation, the Sens always play better when trying to catch up, then trying to keep a lead. I think the same will ring true for the overall season standings. I’d rather see the Sens play better each week going forward and earn those points while playing catch up, than getting an early lead and facing the pressure of trying to maintain it all year long.

    Love how Ryan is heating up, 3 goals in 3 games, I think we can stop the bad press in that dept. And I love how Turris is getting play time with him now, great decision by PMAc. But if we do want to see some chemistry with Ryan and Spezza, they will need to play together eventually.

    Looking forward to finishing this trip off in Phoenix and making it back home for the opener where we’ve had a much better record. Stay calm Sens fans, better games are coming.

  • Sandy

    As good as the Sens were in last season’s 48 games… they didn’t play a Western Conference team.
    It’s almost like a different league out there. Other than Boston & Pitts.. I don’t think there is another team in the East that can compete with the likes of them (including the wanna be Leafs)… (not counting Edmonton in that).
    But the good teams Chi, St Louis et al.. are just really really good. They built mostly from within… big and fast and now they are reaping the rewards.
    A couple of positives from last night — Ryan, Turris, Lehner and NO power play goals against… At least that is something to hang their hats on.
    This team is better than they have shown the past couple of games.. but they are not in the class of SJ or Ana yet..
    Had this road trip been played a month or two into the season… would the results have been as they are now?

    • Jacques

      I think if you aspire to win a Cup you must eliminate the western team in the Final. So let’s build a team that can.

  • Floridasensfan

    Was a super fast game against the sharks, both sides were flying.
    We put up a good fight.
    Against the Ducks we were wore right out, could hardly skate up the ice in the third.
    When you are tired you don’t make the best decisions either.

    We get rested and play lesser teams we will own them.
    The sky is not falling.

    As long as we are way better at the end of the season where we can beat shark type teams all is good.

  • The Apostle

    The west coast swing has traditionally been tough for the Senators, I think our issues are being magnified this time round because we have no body of work to fall back on, this is our first look at the team. There are plenty of things that I don’t like about what has happened so far, but a win tonight and we finish with 6 pts out of a possible 12 which is none too shabby.

    We did look out matched against the Sharks and Ducks and that is worrisome but I’m going to try and wait until the 15th game of the season before joining up with the trade him, sack him, shoot him brigade.

    Focusing on the limited positives – really like what Turris has brought so far, feel he’s been our best player. REALLY like the fact that bobbyfuckingryan is amongst the goals. We gave up a lot to get him but I don’t think we are going to be disappointed in his production this year. There have been touches of the proper Karlsson but he’s still some way from his best. The positive of that I think is that there is so much more to come from him. Lehner has been great in the games he has had so far, he is everything that we want in a back-up goalie this year and let’s not forget that that is what he is for us, a back-up.

    I think we’ll be better able to judge this team once it’s got some home cooked meals inside it and it’s the middle of November. Absolutely there are things we need to improve, not least the fact that we seem to be trying to break the team’s personal best for shots allowed every time we hit the ice. Anderson has not been lights out for sure, but I question how effective any goalie tandem is going to be when they are facing 45+ shots every night (and that’s just the ones that require saves).

    • http://www.Merchaholic.ca Merchaholic

      With this win against the Coyotes I really hope we take off on a winning streak!! We got some serious firepower and just have to keep it firing off on all these opponents. Time to run the scores up like them Sharks were doing. As long as our D stays solid around our goalies and our forwards are smart. We should fly.