Senators' defensive woes continue

Kuba.jpgFlip Kuba doesn’t practice, could miss third straight game.

The Ottawa Senators were one of the few teams that I thought would make a serious push to acquire veteran defensive help at the trade deadline. Some maneuvering would be needed, considering how tight the Sens are against the cap, but if they are serious about making a focused push into the playoffs and beyond, there’s no question they would need more defensive help.

The Senators have allowed 187 goals this season; certainly not that far off the pace from Pittsburgh and Washington above them in the standings. Yet they are 4th-best in the NHL in shots allowed per game, while 20th in goals-against average. The goaltending and defense isn’t bad necessarily, but the Senators’ overall offense is not good enough to keep up with the Eastern conference powers.

If they had hoped to make some noise in the postseason, some form of help would be needed to get a young defensive corps shored up. Well, they added Andy Sutton. And Erik Karlsson is coming on strong.

But now the team is faced with the possibility of Filip Kuba missing significant time. He’s missed the past two games and doesn’t look likely for tomorrow’s game either. In those two games, the Senators have been outscored 8-2 and the goaltending has been atrocious. Would Kuba’s presence have helped? Tough to say, especially considering the fact that the Senators have not allowed less than three goals in a game since February 3rd, and that was against Buffalo.

It’s not entirely out of the question for the Senators to be able to continue winning without having added defensive help; heck they were finding some way to do it before the Olympic break. But to add Andy Sutton and say “Yep, we’re good to go for the playoffs” is a bit ignorant. Especially when you lose Kuba for the next week or so.

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    Video: Senators make Penguins pay for penalties with 1-1 goal

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    The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

    They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

    Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

    Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

    Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

    Another big goal from Malkin; another confusing goalie interference review

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    The Ottawa Senators are ready for a fight in Game 6, which seemingly means that the Pittsburgh Penguins must grind for space and chances. So far, the Penguins are willing to do just that.

    Being that this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it also means that you need to shrug off setbacks … and the Penguins are doing well in that area, too.

    After a 0-0 first period, it seemed like Trevor Daley scored a “greasy” 1-0 goal, but after a review, it was dismissed because of goalie interference. The crowd’s silent, confused response mirrored many on social media who genuinely don’t know what is or is not interference any longer.

    The Penguins could have sulked after that near-goal. Instead, they just kept chipping away. Evgeni Malkin finally broke the ice – for real – with a gritty 1-0 tally. You can watch that ugly-pretty effort in the video above this post’s headline.

    This marks Malkin’s seventh goal and 24th point of the postseason. No one else has reached 20 yet.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

    Colin White makes Senators playoff debut, Penguins lineup the same

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    The Stanley Cup Playoffs often feel like a battle of attrition, which only makes the introduction of fresh faces that much more compelling.

    Try this on for size: with their playoff lives on the line, the Ottawa Senators will see the playoff debut of 2015 first-rounder* Colin White against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. It’s also just his third game at the NHL level, overall.

    After rolling with seven defensemen in Game 5, Guy Boucher is opting for a traditional alignment of 12 forwards and six defensemen.

    White has that high-level pedigree and possibly fresh legs – even just relatively speaking – so it’s not out of the question for the 20-year-old center to make an impact.

    Check out the full roster report here (note: Pittsburgh’s going with the same group as Game 5). Scott Wilson is good to go for the Penguins.

    * – 21st overall.

    Boucher on Senators’ resiliency: ‘We’ve always chosen to fight’

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    It’s almost always intriguing to see how a team responds to a tough playoff loss, but that fascination spikes even more if said team fell by an especially lopsided score.

    We’ve seen the Pittsburgh Penguins respond to some blowouts with big wins, but now the shoe is on the other foot; how will the Ottawa Senators rebound from the 7-0 shellacking they suffered in Game 5?

    Well, if you ask Guy Boucher, they’ve developed a track record that shows they’re willing to fight with their backs against the wall.

    Great stuff, right? It’s honestly too bad that Boucher’s defensive system isn’t always as entertaining as his quotes.

    Speaking of how Game 5 feeds into tonight’s Game 6, the video above this post’s headline discusses how Ottawa’s goaltenders might be feeling heading into Tuesday.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6