Ottawa - Oct. 31, 2011 - Kaspars Daugavins scored his first NHL goal seven minutes into the third period, which turned out to be the winner as the Ottawa Senators held on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 for their sixth straight win. Robin Lehner made 23 saves to win his first game for the Senators this season. Lehner made a terrific sliding save to preserve the victory half way through the 3rd period.
Both teams were playing their third game in four nights and at times it showed. However, the Senators showed a little more energy and grit than the Leafs as they managed to grind out the win. The Senators fore checked the Leafs relentlessly and managed to make the Leafs work for everything they got. The energy level and work ethic were just a little bit better by the Senators then the Leafs and in the end it was probably the difference. Perhaps all the young legs on the Senators squad helped.
To say that the Senators power play this year is effective is an understatement. The Senators are the NHL’s number one power play, scoring 13 power play goals on 42 attempts for a 31% power play efficiency. The Senators were 2 for 4 with the man advantage tonight.
It’s hard to believe that this team leads the league in power play efficiency, especially with the start that they had, but the stats don’t lie. What I like about the power play is that they always seem to have someone in the paint to screen the goalie, tip shots or to get the rebound. How many years have we endeared an Ottawa power play where they always seemed to be playing on the perimeter. Shots would come from the outside and the goaltender would always be able to see the shot. Also, opposing players could play high on the defense. With players battling someone in the slot and the players playing low, it forces the short-handed team to release a bit from the blue line.
Part of the credit has to go to the puck movement from the defense. Both Sergei Gonchar and Erik Karlsson have done a great job quarterbacking the power play. To me though, it appears that the coaching staff should get a big part of the credit. They are putting one and sometimes two forwards in the paint and moving the off side forward (opposite of the puck) in the faceoff circle forcing one of the opponents forwards down low and clearing the blue line. This allows shots to come from the blue line and creates scoring opportunities.
Colin Greening is slowly becoming a rookie of the year candidate. It’s still early in the year, but if candidates were selected today, Greening would be one of them. At 6 feet 3 inches, 212 pounds, Greening is one of the biggest players on the team and has the body of a power forward. Big, strong, tough and with good hands, Greening isn`t afraid to play in the paint.
He`s played very well on a line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek and the chemistry reminds me a little of the Heatley-Alfredsson-Spezza line, although it’s too early to really compare. Greening is 3rd in rookie scoring with 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 12 games so far this season. At 25, Greening has developed very nicely in the Senators system and it will be fun to watch him develop more.
Thanks to everyone who posted comments last week in relation to my article.
Here is the best response:
“Gee, the Senators aren’t so bad.” - Joseph Cacciotti (Ottawa, Ontario)
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