6 December 2013

Game n°29 file notes: Lightning out-Leafs Sens for 3-1 loss

It looks like the Pesky Sens are back in every way but goals and wins.

Taking a look at Extra Skater's game-by-game performance graphs, Ottawa's been over fifty percent in even-strength close Fenwick For % for the last five games — the longest stretch of games over 50% in FF% since the season's start. Yet we stumble through alternating wins and losses, unable to string together consistency in shooting and scrounge up enough points to get us over .500.

And last night's loss wasn't for a lack of trying, not really. The Senators outshot Tampa Bay throughout the night; only Cory Conacher and Chris Phillips were under 50% in Corsi For % on the night. Five out of nine power plays of the game went to them as well, which helped in the shot department. But our shooting percentage wilted at 2.9%, which is the 5th lowest sh% of the season so far, and we received sub-.900 goaltending save% from Lehner (which is only his fourth out of 14 games so far, at even-strength).

But we weren't just unlucky. Tampa Bay's goals came from odd-man rushes and players left open as Ottawa's defensive holes revealed themselves again. Even despite all the great backchecking we received from forwards (Ryan, Michalek and Zibanejad are three surprising standouts regarding coming back to support the defence), even despite the offensive zone time we logged, the Lightning took advantage of the few breaks they received. And this time, Bishop out-goaltended (sorry, is that a word?) Lehner. And Robin knows it.

How did the lines hold up? Well, they stayed consistent, at least. And though we didn't win this game, the possession numbers corroborate Paul MacLean's keeping them together. The question of finish, chemistry and GF% will come up over a longer period of time. At this point it seems pretty clear that we have skill and potential; if we can just prevent our opponents from out-Leafing us and keep our PK and goaltending from regressing past the mean, then games like last night's might be winnable.


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