FIVE QUICK THOUGHTS
-Everyone knows that when it comes to today’s NHL, they don’t ask how many, they ask how.? Sure the Senators walked away with two points last night but as the final horn sounded in a Canadian Tire a little over half full, most of the conversation was focused on a less than stellar third period.? Ottawa went into the final frame in complete control of the game, with a 3-0 lead in their grasp and basically spent the finally 20 minutes hanging on for dear life. Probably not the ideal approach but maybe they’re thinking a couple moves ahead, hoping the Sabres will now be all tuckered out on Saturday night. You know, tuckered out from all the shooting. The Sabres bombarded Craig Anderson with 23 shots in the third period but in the end, they lost the game. And that’s what matters. I think that’s what matters, anyway.
-During last night’s broadcast, the camera panned to the Ottawa bench and stopped on a particular player. It took a good four or five seconds before I realized who I was looking at.? The shot was of back-up goalie Mike McKenna and it was in that moment that I realized just how much the Senators are asking of Craig Anderson right now.? Anderson, at 37 years of age, now has a back-up just a couple years younger and with 551 fewer NHL starts.? With Mike Condon headed to Belleville for an undetermined amount of time, Andy is basically on his own here.? McKenna is going to get a start here and there but basically, the Senators are going to be looking to Anderson to carry them for the foreseeable future.? Last night anyway, he looked more than ready for the challenge.? Anderson has had some ups and down this year but he was outstanding last night.? He was reading the play as well as he has all season and just looked really confident in net.? They’re going to need a lot more of that in the days and weeks to come.
-During TSN’s post-game coverage, Craig Button was raving over the play of Ottawa defenceman Thomas Chabot and went so far as to suggest that in the next couple of years, Chabot is going to be one of the best defenceman in the National Hockey League.? It may not take him that long.? With another multi-point effort (his 4th of the year), Chabot pulled into second place in defenceman scoring with 15 pts, trailing only Morgan Orriely of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who I could have sworn had 15 points through like 5 games.? While Chabot’s offence will always be what grabs people’s attention, it’s the progression we’ve seen in his own end of the rink that suggests he has what it takes to be a star in this league.? His gap control is so much better than it was at this point last year and you can tell that he’s reading the play quicker than he did early in his career.? At just 21 years of age, the sky really is the limit for this kid. I suspect it won’t be long before we are ranting and raving when some less deserving defenceman takes home the Norris Trophy.
-It’s no secret that possession numbers haven’t been kind to the Senators this year. In fact, coming into the game they sat 29th overall in the league in terms of CF%. Just a shade above 42%.? Even if you’re not a huge believer in analytics, it’s not hard to understand a number like that means you’re just spending way too much time in the defensive zone. And while the defenceman are a big part of that, it’s also an indication that they have a hard time sustaining pressure in the offensive end. That’s why a shift during the first period jumped out as being one of the best of the year. The trio of Dzingel-Duchene-Stone spent a good 90 seconds parked in the Sabres end of the rink and actually managed to complete a line change in the process. At one point, only Stone was left, and he was still all over the puck in the Sabres zone. More shifts like that, please.
-Pierre Dorion spoke to Brent Wallace during the first intermission of last night’s game and provided comments on a few topics. On the goaltending situation, he explained that Mike Condon will take the weekend to clear his head and rest a nagging injury before reporting to Belleville. He’s expected to start down there next week. On Alex Formenton, Dorion’s answer made it clear that a decision was imminent so it wasn’t all that surprising to see them send Alex Formenton back to London following last night’s game.? While that’s disappointing from a fan perspective (man is it fun to watch that kid skate). it’s probably the best move for his long-term development. Pierre Dorion danced around a question about Matt Duchene but based on his mood when discussing the topic, it still sounds like things are headed in the right direction.
-Bonnnnnnnnnus Thought- Brady Tkachuk is expected to return next week.
— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) October 16, 2018