The Ottawa Senators are back home after a four-game road trip across the US. It started off badly with a 6-4 loss against the Wild and then it got worse with two more losses to the Stars and Rangers. They salvaged the trip with a win against the Flyers in the finale, which ended a four-game drought for the Senators. Everyone is over the Uber video, but the anemic defense still persists. The comments couldn’t have been truer about how bad the penalty kill and defence are.
It’s not going to win games, though drafting Brady Tkachuk takes the attention away from the defence a bit. The Senators needed to rally to beat the Flyers, as they erased a 3-1 deficit in the 3rd period. Matt Duchene provided a highlight reel goal as he batted a puck in midair in the back of the net. And no, it wasn’t directly in front of a gaping wide open net.
He had to put some accuracy on that swing, like a baseball player finding a hole through the infield. It didn’t help to cure any defensive issues, though. In fact, it just highlighted how the Sens how to crawl out of a 3-1 hole to win. That isn’t a winning formula. On the bright side, the Sens should have a talented offence for when they figure out their blue line.
If the young forwards drain the salary cap on their next contracts, good luck improving the defence with immediate talent. They will have to play their cards right by drafting accordingly and developing the minor leagues. Craig Anderson is likely not going to be around to see a drastic change defensively. He is 37 years old and I’m sure the Sens would like to stick a better goaltender between the pipes soon. Not to take anything away from what Anderson has done for the organization. The Rangers haven’t played since defeating the Senators on November 26th. They’ll look to make it two in a row over Ottawa. Head below for our free Rangers vs. Senators pick.
N.Y. Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators Pick
For a team that is in rebuilding mode, the Rangers have been playing pretty good hockey. Expecting much more than a record of 13-10-2 in a season without much isn’t realistic. They’re not going to have enough to hit the playoffs, so sending talent away for prospects will likely be the goal at the deadline. Ex-Ottawa Senator, Mika Zibanejad, is having a nice season with the Rangers. His stock continues to go up as the Rangers will be dangling the bait at the trade deadline.
Chris Kreider has been the most effective with 13 goals and 8 assists. His +/- is a team leading 7. Other teams will inquire about Kreider, though the Rangers might want to reconsider unless it’s a must-do offer. You want to keep one or two guys around to guide the younger members of the team, and Kreider provides that as well as skill.
The Senators are feeling lonely at the bottom of the league defensively. They’ve allowed a whopping 4.28 goals per game for 31st in the league. Ottawa are nearly a goal back of the Flyers who have given up 3.58 per game. However, the offence has been doing its part with 3.56 goals per game for 4th in the NHL.
If only they could find a way to limit the amount of shots on their own net, 38.3 per game for last, naturally. The Rangers aren’t far back in 27th with 33.3 shots allowed per game. They’ve also gotten hammered on the road defensively, allowing 4.18 goals per game, which actually eclipses the Senators’ awful numbers. Senators games have seen an average of 9.6 goals per combined in their previous six. That will happen when your defence is embarrassingly bad, yet have some fun forwards on the ice who just want to score. This is likely a 5-3 or 4-3 final score, so 6.5 still is a tad too low.