We are well past the point in the season where the glass can be half full. Trailing the final playoff spot by 5 points, the Ottawa Senators absolutely need to amass as many points as possible during this stretch, and taking a point in a game where there were 2 readily available to them simply isn’t good enough. At least, for those who still would rather see the Senators past April 11th, where their last scheduled game will take place, ironically, in Philadelphia.
It was Mike Hoffman and Craig Anderson against the world last night, and it was almost enough as Anderson made some highlight reel saves in the third period while protecting the lead that Hoffman had given them with a highlight of his own for his team leading 13th goal of the season. Hoffman was all over the ice, and when he wasn’t possessing the puck he was back defensively stripping a Flyer of it.
The Sens played well enough to win, but when the chips were down they couldn’t find the finish that they needed among their 42 shots and 84 attempted shots on Steve Mason. You would be hard pressed to find a multitude of quality scoring chances among them, however, and although Mason was named first star of the game he wasn’t overly tested, and it was a case of quantity over quality in that respect.
The big part of the letdown for the Senators has been the power play, which is 0 for its last 26 and hasn’t scored since early in the Anahiem game on December 19th, almost 8 full games ago. That has to get better and at least contribute if the Senators hold any hope of clawing into the postseason.
During the World Juniors I was touting Lawson Crouse and I stated that judging from his performance and the stats he was putting up in Kingston, that he could be a component that the Senators needed. Well, in the last ISS ranking Crouse was slotted in the #9 hole which is right around where the Senators (barring a lottery win) would and could be picking. I even said that wherever Ottawa drafts, if it is outside the top 2, if Crouse is on the board he is the guy they should pick.
Well, I guess I am not alone in that thinking any more. ISS released their January rankings and Crouse was the big mover, rising 6 spots to #3 behind Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. TSN Draft guy Craig Button somehow had Crouse listed at 18th in his December 8th ranking, but if there are 17 better players than him then this will be the best draft ever. He is the guy Senators fans should cross their fingers for, because he could turn out to be the combination of size, grit, and scoring ability the Senators have never really had.