rs that were never going to be sustainable for the
: 15 sie 2019, 04:25
There is no doubting Ales Hemsky has been a nice addition to the Senators lineup. Over the past two games, Hemsky has assisted on six goals and found instant chemistry with Jason Spezza. For most of the season, Sens fans bemoaned the fact that Spezza was not playing with quality wingers. These last two games with Hemsky have only served to tease everyone, wondering what could have been if Hemsky was riding shotgun with Spezza all season long. But would the Senators be sitting in a playoff spot if they had acquired Hemsky a few months ago? Since Im officially banned from using the phrase "probably not" in this town, I will instead answer by saying I think its highly doubtful the Senators would be sitting in a playoff spot if Hemsky had been here since October. Ottawas big issue this season has been in their own end. And to be brutally honest, that has been their biggest problem since Paul MacLean took over as head coach a couple of years ago. To MacLeans credit, he has drastically improved the offense on this team. When they missed the playoffs in Cory Cloustons last season at the helm, Ottawa scored just 193 goals and was one of only three NHL teams who failed to crack the 200-goal barrier in 2010-11. So heading into MacLeans first season, the big question was: Who is going to score goals for the Senators? But MacLean worked his offensive magic and had terrific seasons from the likes of Spezza, Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson and the team ended up scoring 249 goals and ranking in the top five in the NHL in that category. Thats a remarkable transformation; bottom five in the league in goals one year to top five the next. But Ottawas defensive game showed no real improvement in that first season under MacLean. They ranked 24th in goals against under Clouston (giving up 250 goals) and they also ranked 24th in goals against under MacLean (giving up 240 goals). In fact, no team that made the playoffs in 2012 allowed more regular season goals than the Senators. And when you give up as many goals as the Senators do, you either make the playoffs by the skin of your teeth - or miss them altogether. This trend appears to be rearing its ugly head again this season, as the Senators have no real problems scoring goals. They currently rank in the top half of the Eastern Conference in goals scored with 185 - more than playoff-bound teams like Montreal, Philadelphia and the New York Rangers. But the Senators have surrendered an astounding 213 goals this season - the second-worst total in the entire NHL. And no matter how many goals Hemsky would have added to the offensive side of the ledger, its hard to imagine how he would have helped with the defensive breakdowns that have been problematic with this team for months. A lot of people will point to the lockout-shortened season a year ago, where the Senators were the stingiest team in the Eastern Conference, sporting a 2.08 GAA. But last year needs to be taken with a grain of salt because it was only a 48-game schedule and the Senators were still giving up a ton of quality chances. Take a look at Ottawas NHL ranking in shots allowed/game since MacLean took over and you will see they didnt actually have a great defensive improvement in that department last season: Shots Allowed/Game (NHL Rank) 2011-12: 32.0/game (29th in NHL)2012-13: 31.3/game (23rd in NHL)2013-14: 34.4/game (28th in NHL) Even though the Senators were near the top of the league in GAA in 2012-13, they were still giving up too many shots and chances each night. They werent necessarily playing a tough, defensive style. Instead, they were bailed out by unbelievable goaltending that was producing numbers that were never going to be sustainable for the long-term. Craig Anderson, for example, had a .933 save percentage while short-handed last season - a number that has tumbled by more than 100 points this year. In short, the Senators brilliant goaltending masked the issues for this team last season. Now that the goaltending has been average this season, it highlights the defensive issues that have been around for the better part of three seasons. The best teams in the NHL over the past three years - like Chicago, St. Louis and Los Angeles - have all ranked in the top 10 in fewest shots allowed. Even a team like the Blackhawks, who have the reputation of being offensive-oriented, have allowed the fourth-fewest shots against this season. Again, MacLean deserves a ton of credit for turning this team into an offensive juggernaut. And if Hemsky re-signs next season, there is every reason to believe he can flourish in this system. But now is the time that MacLean and his staff need to fix the defensive flaws with this team. He is trying to implement a similar system he used in Detroit when they won the Stanley Cup in 2007-08. That season, the Red Wings had no trouble scoring goals, ranking third in the NHL in that department. But they also allowed the fewest shots per game at 23.5 - the best number in the entire league. The offensive comparisons to Detroit are accurate, but its the defensive game for Ottawa that still has miles to go. Bryan Murray didnt make any trades involving defensemen at the deadline because the organization believes they have the right personnel on the back end. If thats the case, its the system that needs to be adjusted moving forward. So when it comes to the re-build that started a couple of years ago, its fair to say the Senators are only halfway there. Paul Pogba Jersey . Crawford hit his slam off Pirates starter Edinson Volquez to give San Francisco a four run lead in the fourth and they never looked back. Brandon Belt had three runs batted in as well. Bumgarner pitched all nine innings and allowed just four hits. Olivier Giroud Jersey . Switzerland faces Belgium or Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals in April. Serbia dropped into the World Group playoffs in September. A confident Chiudinelli and Lammer defeated veteran doubles player Zimonjic and young Krajinovic 7-6 (3), 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2. http://www.nationalfrancesoccer.com/bla ... ersey/.com Tour title, closing with a 6-under 64 for a four-stroke victory. The 22-year-old former North Texas player finished at 12-under 268 at Panama Golf Club and earned $112,500 to jump from seventh to second on the money list with $171,500. Benjamin Pavard France Jersey . -- Howie Kendrick had a two-run single in his first game batting leadoff this season, Chris Iannetta hit a pair of RBI singles and the Los Angeles Angels beat Cleveland 6-4 Tuesday night, sending the Indians to their fifth straight defeat. Florian Thauvin France Jersey . Nikolai Khabibulin was yanked in the second period, and the Ottawa Senators looked ready to put away a big road win.MONTREAL -- Clarke MacArthur scored on the power play 58 seconds into overtime as the Ottawa Senators held on to beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on Saturday night. Erik Condra, Colin Greening and Mark Stone also scored for Ottawa (19-18-7), which jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period at the Bell Centre. Daniel Briere, in his best game with the Canadiens (24-14-5), scored twice and had an assist while Brian Gionta also scored. After a scoreless second period with only seven shots for each side, Montreal mounted a comeback in the third. Briere brought his team to within one with a nifty move at the side of the net. He managed to jam the puck past Craig Anderson at 1:57 of the third off a behind-the-net pass from Tomas Plekanec. Briere, a 36-year-old former all-star, was back in the lineup after sitting out as a healthy scratch for two games. The Canadiens continued to press after his goal and put in another a few minutes later. Gionta shovelled in a loose puck at 4:46 off a point shot, after Plekanec and Briere had a crack at it first. But it wasnt enough after Ottawas quick start.dddddddddddd Greening quieted the crowd with a goal only 13 seconds into the game on a cross-crease pass from Condra. The Canadiens had a few tough bounces to start things off. What looked like a power-play goal by Rene Bourque at 4:05 into the first period was called back after a quick whistle on a scramble in front. Briere finally tied the score 11:32 into the first period when he managed to knock in his own rebound after a pass from Travis Moen. The tie didnt last long. The Senators regained the lead on a backhand shot from Mark Stone at 13:50. Condra scored again for the Sens 14 seconds later on a pass that went off the skate of Habs defenceman Francis Bouillon. Heading into the second period with a two-goal lead, the Senators played a more conservative style and were able to limit the chances on Anderson. Both teams had just seven shots apiece in the second period. NOTES: Senators captain Jason Spezza missed his fourth straight game with a hip flexor injury. ... Canadiens defenceman Raphael Diaz was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. ' ' '