A small, slight bump in the hope metre?
Photo courtesy NHLI via Getty Images
It’s the tiniest of sample sizes to be sure.
Ottawa’s Senators roll out two straight wins in a season that has seen so very few of these positive streaks.
Still, it’s a bump; slight as the headline indicates.
The odd part is the Senators accomplished the duo wins against one of the NHL’s worst teams, and one of its best.
First, Ottawa steamrolls Anaheim 4-0 – a shuffling team that’s put up a neat and tidy seven-game losing streak. The Ducks are sinking faster than my RSP portfolio.
In Saturday’s match against the Winnipeg Jets – don’t think I need to tell you they’re one of the league’s absolute best and a legitimate Cup contender, but there you are anyway – Ottawa showed a spark and perhaps a harbinger for the future.
Yes, they gave up way too many shots on goal (again) and there were times during the matinee where the Jets manhandled the youngish and much slighter Senators.
Give them credit. Ottawa was the better team for almost the entire first period.
The impressive sight was watching Ottawa take everything the physical Winnipeg side was throwing at them and shrugged it off. When 260-pound Dustin Byfuglien, six-foot-eight inch Tyler Myers and six-foot-five(s) Blake Wheeler and Adam Lowry are doing their best to run your players through the boards, that’s some pluck and nerve.
Another high point was the home team’s transition game. Get the puck, move the puck.
The forwards helped out the defence and the defence did its best to help the forwards.
Good stuff during a season that has produced very little of it.
Notes and notions: I like bits of Anders Nilsson’s game – size, net coverage – but you can see his flaw, the netminder gives up far too many controllable rebounds . . . Saturday afternoon, Garry Galley of CBC echoed the thoughts of this corner from last week’s scribbling – any rebuild in Ottawa without Mark Stone and/or Matt Duchene would be unsettling . . . How good is Stone? On a team with a -29 goal differential, Stone is a +15. The big-time rumour has Stone headed to Winnipeg. The reasoning behind Winnipeg is because it’s his home town. Nope. Don’t quite get that . . . Next up – surprising Dylan DeMelo at +14 . . . Let’s keep going. Coming in last is Maxime Lajoie at -18 . . . Speaking of Max, after a superb start the young blueliner looks a little overwhelmed and likely fatigued . . . Could say the same of Brady Tkachuk who’s scored just twice in his last 19 games . . . Two weeks to go folks before the trade deadline. Strap on the crying towel (potentially?) . . . Keep hearing this one from the pundits regarding Ottawa, and it goes something like this: ‘When the Senators get back to being really good in the next few years, wouldn’t Stone want to be part of that?’ Good vibrations, but what guarantee is there that the Senators are any better in 3-4 years anyway? . . . Still think Toronto needs to add a heavy forward and heavy d-man . . . By the way, ‘heavy’ is the new cliquey word happening in hockey and who doesn’t want to be cliquey? . . . The Leafs – outside of Zach Hyman, Nazem Kadri and newcomer Jake Muzzin – play an almost stoic brand of hockey. Hockey is passion and guts in the playoffs. This is problematic . . . Didn’t hate the Montreal trade to reacquire Dale Weise in the least. If the Habs net Boston in the first round, as is the case with the Leafs, they’ll need some muscle . . . Mike Hoffman’s name came up in trade rumour circles this past week. The former Senator is enjoying a nice season in Florida with 24 goals so far . . . Keep your eyes on the St. Louis Blues. This team was written off as ‘see-ya-next-year’ prior to Christmas. Today the Blues sit in a playoff spot out West. They’ve won six straight . . . Carolina went from being potential sellers to potential buyers. The ‘Canes are hovering over a playoff rung right now.
Senators week ahead:
Tuesday, Feb.12: Carolina at Ottawa (7:30 pm)
Thursday, Feb.14: Ottawa at Detroit (7:30 pm)
Saturday, Feb.16: Ottawa at Winnipeg (7:00 pm)