I've spent the past two weeks outside of Newark on business and made the executive decision to stay an extra night to catch our heroes take on the Devils Friday night at the Rock. Obviously, I'll never pass on getting a chance to see the Sens play, right? But a win wasn't in the cards here.
If the Buffalo game was an example of how to play without Spezza, this game was one where we saw just how much we need him. 0 for 6 on the powerplay, including a 1:22 two-man advantage, was the difference. Forget the heartbreaker Salo-esque goal that Elliott let in to put us down a pair, it was the lack of a leader on the powerplay that I noticed the most.
Some will argue (effectively) that Alfie runs the powerplay, or Kuba, or Kovalev. I will say that they are critical elements in the equation, but it is Spezza's vision from the circle that starts the cycle and creates chances. Without him we're passing back point to point without the major threat of feeding it down low. 5 on 3 situations should be a goal 100% of the time and it is alarming that we've struggled so badly with it. I know we were playing a semi-decent goalie, aka the best in the world, but to not score in that much time is just plain dumb.
I'm still not sold on Karlsson, either. He sat idly by why Pandolfo scored what turned into the game winner and there is nothing he can do about it. He's small. He can handle the physical stuff decently, as evidenced by his battles with Langenbrunner, but I'm not completely sure why he's here ahead of Lee (I know he's hurt, but Murray chose EK before Lee's injury). I don't think he has earned a free pass and feel that from time to time, we are praising him for just not playing poorly. He needs to start helping this team!
Not much else to report on the game. It was entertaining and I thought we slightly outplayed and outchanced them. As was the case v Buffalo, we've gotta bury our chances! I know we've played two straight Olympic starting goalies, but our scoring chances are strong enough that these pucks need to find twine. Have we not seen what happens when we leave the result to goaltending? Time to finish, fellas.
Back at it tonight v the Wild and their new equipment. What a weird story!
Prospecting: 2017 NCAA Free Agents
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