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Falling at home

Posted By Mika Oehling On Apr 5 2012 @ 10:27 pm In Ottawa Senators | No Comments

The Ottawa Senators went down 3-1 to the Boston Bruins in what may be a blessing in disguise. While it’s rare to cheer for a loss, there’s always been a near psychological barrier when it comes to the Ottawa Senators beating the Boston Bruins. It may be the Tim Thomas factor, as he’s been a Sens killer in seasons past, or it may be the Chara factor, as the former Senator often comes back to haunt his former team, while other hometown fans still harbour ill feelings for having lost the burly defenseman in the first place. Whatever the factor, Ottawa has never been good against Boston.

Add in the fact that Boston rested some of its best players in Chara, Thomas and Boychuk, with Nathan Horton and Bergeron sidelined with injuries. So not only did Ottawa outshoot the Boston Bruins on the way to a 3-1 loss, they also went down to a pared down roster which didn’t have much to gain from this match up. Taking on the rested and fully loaded Boston club with Thomas in between the pipes is a frightening prospect after this game.

Ottawa’s record against the New York Rangers, on the other hand, isn’t that bad. So it may ultimately work in Ottawa’s favour to face off against the blue shirts instead. But that’s getting too far ahead of ourselves.

Ottawa had great momentum coming off its successive wins to clinch their playoff spot. Since then, though, they’ve put in some troubling performances against Carolina and tonight’s game with Boston. There are clearly some cracks showing; problems with officiating have reached a toll on coach Paul MacLean who was ejected late in the game, obviously making some unwelcome comments.

Ottawa worked hard in this game, got a few good chances, but failed to capitalize on some key chances. They’re still not doing much on the man advantage, of which they had 4 tonight, with 3 penalties and pulling the goaltender in the last 3 minutes of play. Spezza’s lone goal was a great individual effort while surrounded by Bruins and with a killer shot, but as the clock wore down, he tried to do too much on his own. Alfie was foiled a couple of times in front of the net, a tribute to Boston’s dedication to shot blocking and sacrifice.

It’s clear that Ottawa has a few things to work on before the post-season begins. They’re going to have to work on their power plays and creating some time and space for themselves in the neutral zone. They are being overworked in this area; the long cross ice pass was working for them, but there are some teams that this isn’t going to work as effectively against. Ottawa’s best chances in this game came from shots with lots of traffic in front; they’re going to have to pile it on and do so earlier in the game. And lastly, they might have to cool their heads for a bit. While nobody will argue the fact that officiating has been odd for Ottawa lately, arguing about it is not going to do any good.

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