Thursday, November 13, 2008

Speechless: Isles 3, Sens 1

Another disheartening loss for Senators and Senators fans. I don't really know what to say... I can't figure out what to attribute this loss to. The best guess I can make is that the Senators were outhustled on the night. The Islanders got to the puck first, won puck battles, made the simple plays and drove to the net. So the Islanders won 3-1, and the Senators continue to search for answers.

On defence, Filip Kuba opened the scoring with a goal on the Senators' first shot of the game, one of only five they had in the period. It wasn't pretty; the Islanders outshot the Sens 16-5 in the period. It doesn't make sense that the Senators, after all that has happened in the last few days, could come out so flat to start the game, but they looked overwhelmed by the Islanders.

Kuba, for one, had a great game offensively. Although he got pick-pocketed on the penalty kill when Trent Hunter scored the game-winning goal, he was all over the place in the offensive zone. I can't count the number of times he jumped into the zone, and he finished with a game-high eight shots on net (!) in 25:35 of ice time. Would have been nice to see another goal, but he--along with a bunch of other Sens players--came up against a pretty solid goaltender in Joey MacDonald.

Kudos also has to go to Shean Donovan, who responded to a promotion by creating some chances, and to Nick Foligno, who responded to a demotion by creating some chances. And to Alex Auld, who once again kept the Senators in the game through the first period.

Two Senators players had particular intensity on the night: Mike Fisher and Daniel Alfredsson. Each were credited with four hits, and Fisher in particular just looked pissed off. They obviously want to break the slump, and want to do what they have to in order to get it done. Midway through the third Fisher ripped a shot that chimed the post, the Sens' best chance of the third. Alfie had five shots for the Sens, second most after Kuba, and had an assist on the goal.

The Sens went 1-for-7 on the powerplay, and are 1-for-16 on their three-game losing streak. After starting the season so hot on the powerplay, you have to wonder what's happened. In the third period, when the Sens were awarded a five-minute powerplay to end the game, the powerplay was so chaotic it was impossible to keep track who was where; four forwards (Fisher, Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, and Jason Spezza) and Kuba were just all over, trying to power the puck in the net. It didn't work, and there was too much trying to force things, and taking shortcuts instead of following all the necessary steps.

The Sens just had no business in that game. It was a disjointed effort, players seemed to be everywhere and yet nowhere, and the Islanders were able to keep their game simple to win the game. One thing commentator Garry Galley said that stood out was that the Senators are under so much pressure now they're thinking too much, and they can't do the things that should come naturally. I think that's certainly true, to a degree, and a lot of players are holding their sticks too tightly. Something's got to give, hopefully sooner rather than later.
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