24 November 2013

Game n°24 preview: Sens jet into Carolina to play Canes

Last night's game wasn't a repeat of the Sens' last win versus Detroit, not exactly, but it was definitely one of the most scrummiest and most peculiar matches we've seen in a while. If we're being honest, the Sens don't get too fired up to play anybody — except the Flyers for some reason — so a potential rivalry between Detroit would be excellent, for both the teams and national coverage. And, of course, for the second game of our back-to-back, we go to... Carolina.

Does anyone get revved up to play Carolina? I mean, besides struggling teams in need of an easy win?

Well, at this point the Sens qualify as a struggling team who needs an easy win, so getting revved up to play the Hurricanes would probably be a good idea. Carolina's lost four straight and have a 5-8 record at home, so one must assume that this is a winnable match for Ottawa, especially since they're missing Alex Semin. On this point, how wondrous is it to read at the bottom of NHL previews that the Senators have no reported injuries?

Now, we do have something of a goalie controversy bubbling just under boil. Anderson's pedestrian save percentage of .900 is somewhat petrifying when compared to his 2012-2013 year, and suggests that consistency over one season need not necessarily translate into consistency over multiple seasons. Granted, he did only play 24 games last season, about a quarter less than a starting goaltender could be expected to play. Meanwhile, Lehner's numbers from last season to this season have stayed relatively the same (from .936 to .940), and he's nearly played the same amount of games as year (12 last year; 10 so far this season).

What does this mean? Probably that MacLean has a lot more problems to deal with in regards to his roster than he'd like. And that's not even counting the number of penalties Cowen and Phillips are taking a night. (The good news on that front: Carolina's PP conversion rate is 27th at 12.8%.) The Ottawa Senators haven't exactly found their "identity" yet, and it's doubtful that they'll manage to do that any time soon, but in the meanwhile, they'll have to keep on the sunny side of .500 by winning games like this one.


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