Ottawa - Oct. 20, 2011 - It’s a theme that's been all too familiar with the Senators this year. A sub-par effort and start in the first period and then a deficit that's too hard to climb out of. Tonight, though the blame was solely on the goaltending.
Starting his 2nd game in a row, Alex Auld stopped just 6 of 10 shots in the first period and the Senators found themselves behind 4-0. Auld was replaced at the start of the first period by Craig Anderson who stopped 17 of 20 shots. Combined the Senators goaltenders had a .767 save percentage which is not good enough for an NHL goaltender and especially for a young team that needs strong goaltending to even have a chance to survive. In fact both Auld (4.90gaa and .830save %) and Anderson (4.98gaa and .852 save %) have put up poor numbers. You can blame a big part of the goals against average on sub-par defensive play, with both goalies being hung out to dry on numerous occasions, but the save percentage is strictly on them.
Although I don't think prospect Robin Lehner is ready to become the Senators starting goalie it’s hard to imagine he could play any worse than the current tandem. The opening goal was scored from the corner by Matt Read (not known as a goal scorer) from almost on the red line; a goal which deflated the young team. Auld gave up an equally bad one on the winning goal in Washington Saturday night. The difference was that he recovered from that goal to play a strong game. Tonight he didn't.
Goaltending is such a pivotal part of a hockey team and even more important for a young team who not only has to fight each night just for a chance to win but has to fight to regain their confidence.
Another bad start
One has to wonder with a young team why they aren't ready to start. Is it nerves, the fear of not making a mistake, the coach not having them ready to play? I don't know the answer to this one.
It will be interesting to see if the Senators manage to bounce back from tonight's bad game. Last week after losing 7-1 at home to the Colorado Avalanche, the Senators bounced back with a strong game in a 2-1 loss in Washington that they should've won. The Senators will also catch the Jets playing their 3rd game in 4 days so a fast start and strong goaltending is what's needed for a chance to win.
Thanks to everyone who posted comments last week in relation to my article.
Here is the best response which I thought I’d answer this time:
“I disagree. I think the whole team was bad not just the goalies”. - Gordon Campbell
Thanks for the comments. Remember if you’d like to make a comment and possibly end up in this article e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org