Ottawa - Nov. 2, 2011 - A late period collapse by the Ottawa Senators cost them the game and ended their six game winning streak. For 45 minutes the Senators battled hard, although they were outplayed by the Bruins in stretches and outshot 33-17 after two periods. Tied 3-3 with 15 minutes left to go, the Senators gave up two goals in a 37 second span, the second on a breakaway to lose 5-3 to the Bruins in Boston. Playing their fourth game in six nights and with trips to New York, home to Ottawa and back down to Boston in a three-day period it’s not surprising that the Senators seemed to run out of steam in the last half of the third period.
Senators’ goaltender Craig Anderson started off well in this game, stopping 16 of 17 shots fired at him in the first period and 30 of 33 after two period. However, Anderson couldn’t finish off what he had started giving up two late third period goals in the contest. This was the type of game that the Senators need Anderson to steal.
Despite a six game winning streak, not a single game this year in my opinion has been stolen by the goaltenders. Offensively the Senators have been great and although defensively they’ve had trouble in their own end, it now appears to me that goaltending is their achilles heel and when hasn’t it been? I can’t name a single goaltender in the history of the Senators that has been a standout. Certainly Dominik Hasek was a great goalie, but he never lived up to his billing here in Ottawa, and his infamous groin injury will forever go down in the minds of Senators fans as a guy who quit on his team and wouldn’t play injured like so many Canadian born players do during playoff time.
Craig Anderson is also not living up to his billing at this point. His goals against average (3.80) and save percentage (.880) are sub-par despite his 6-3 record. One of the keys to the Senators sustaining some consistency over the long term is goaltending, which the Senators are not getting from their number one goaltender.
As good as the power play has been for the Senators this year; the penalty killing has been equally as bad. The Senators now sit 27th in the league with a penalty killing efficiency of 74.3%. Even when the Senators do manage to kill a penalty they look like they’re in trouble. On numerous short-handed situations the Senators turn the puck over in their own zone and even when they do get the puck and have time to move it they panic. Every short-handed situation is an adventure for the Senators and they often just hang on. Special teams can win you a lot of hockey games in the NHL and on nights like this a few penalty kills can make the difference between a win and a loss.
Next Game vs. Montreal (Friday)
The Senators play their next game at home to the Montreal Canadiens. It will be interesting to see how well the young Senators bounce back from a loss. The Canadiens have won two in a row and are starting to get solid goaltending from Carey Price and steady play on the back line so it will be interesting to see how the Senators cope with a team as fast as them.
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