Fast forward to present day, the Senators are sitting on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. We’re still only in the month of November, but the concerns for the Ottawa Senators are starting to pile up.
A Cause for Concern: The Ottawa Senators Struggles
Since returning from the NHL Series in Sweden, the Senators have been held winless. The team managed to win both games overseas in back to back fashion. The Sens played their first game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins after coming back home. November 16th to be exact.
This is where the Ottawa Senators Strugglings all started. Since returning from Sweden the Senators are 0-5-1. It’s alarming that they’ve lost that many games, but it’s also concerning to think they’ve only squeezed a single point out of only one of those six games. They have lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Islanders. As mentioned before, the Senators struggles go beyond the scope of wins and losses. All of the stats you’re about to read are based on their previous six games. The Senators have allowed 3.50 goals against per game. Something that is highly unusual for a team coached by a defensive mindset in Guy Boucher.
They’ve also struggled to puck the puck in the net, the Senators are sitting on an average of 1.33 goals per game. Simply not bringing enough high power offense on a consistent basis. In addition to not being able to spark their offense, the team sits at 45.92% in expected goals for at 5v5. Nowhere near enough to help them get their offensive production back up and running again. Here are some heat maps from NaturalStattrick.com, on shots attempted on 5vs5 in their last six games. You can see all of their latest news on their twitter page twitter.com/NatStatTrick.
Game 1: Pittsburgh Penguins
Game 2: Arizona Coyotes:
Game 3: New York Rangers:
Game 4: Washington Capitals:
Game 5: Columbus Blue Jackets
Game 6: New York Islanders
Special Teams Misery
You would hope when a team is struggling to generate chances 5v5, their special team units would give them a lift. That scenario is nowhere relative to the Senators. On the man advantage the Sens rank 26th in the league. It’s to the point where if the Sens draw a penalty, not many fans get excited anymore. When failing to convert, it’s usually because they can never get set up in the offensive zone. They either move the puck way slower than they should be, or they have trouble entering the zone.
Another reason contributing to the Ottawa Senators strugglings is their penalty kill. When the season first began, the Senators were top 5 in penalty kill percentages among the NHL. Today they sit 18th among the NHL in PK%. The more penalties you take and you don’t kill off, your goals against per game are going to start costing you sooner rather than later.
With even just a slight improvement in special teams over their next stretch of games, the Senators could see positive outcomes from it. Whether it be on the powerplay generating more goals, or simply killing off more penalties to give themselves a chance to stay in the game.
The Ottawa Senators Need To Find Answers Quickly
With their upcoming games, not many will be played at home in front of their crowd. The Senators next 7 games are all on the road and against some tough opponents. They play the Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres. With already being on their heels, the Senators face their annual californian road trip soon, which is not always friendly to the Canadian teams.
In simpler terms, the Senators have to turn their woes around quickly before they’re in bigger trouble than they are right now. They have to virtually improve in almost all aspects. Effective special teams and high danger chances are the things that they have to try and be better in. They’ve also let their foot off the gas in the recent stretch of games also. If the team has a dominant first 20 minutes, their offense completely evaporates for the remainder of the game. Consistency will be key to the Ottawa Senators if they’re looking to turn things around.
Whether they want to admit it or not, the Ottawa Senators strugglings are catching up to them. The clock is ticking on them turning their rough stretch around. It’ll be up the players and staff if they’re ready to get up and win some games, or just sleep through their next stretch of games again, which would put a threat on their playoff hopes. The Senators have until the Christmas break to turn things around, if they are unsuccessful in doing so, Christmas won’t be so jolly after all this year in the capital city of Canada.
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