Erik Condra had the lone goal, and once again a strong effort from the Sens in a very winnable game that slipped through the fingers of the 26th overall Sens team.
A lot of things looked very good in their 51st game of the season, the offence seems to be building chemistry but just can't manage to finish consistently. This shouldn't be too upsetting for Sens management, as the skill and will is there for a lot of these young players, and the scoring should follow after they get a little closer to their prime.
Milan Michalek was a late scratch due to illness, and shouldn't be out long. Curtis Lazar seemed to take some of Michaleks time on the second line, and JG Pageau filled in Lazars spot, centring the third line with Hoffman on his left and Chiasson on his right.
Senators Best Players of the Game:
Mark Stone continues to produce in his first full NHL season. This guy was a late draft pick but has continued to improve every season and has become a dangerous offensive option for the Sens at only 22 years old. It's guys like Stone who prove why this team has a very bright future in a couple seasons when many players on our team will hit their prime. Stone played just under 18 minutes last night, including over 2 minutes on the power play, and looked dominant all night. He was creating offence, driving play, and was really exciting to watch all night. He's on pace for 20 goals, 50 points, but is scoring at a pace that might even bring his totals to 50+ points by seasons end.
Curtis Lazar might have been our best player last night and for the past few nights. During the first half of the season Lazar was limited to a 3rd/4th line role, playing 10 minutes a night or less regularly. Since returning from the World Juniors, Coach Dave Cameron has given Lazar an increased role, spending some time in the top 6 playing the second line RW spot next to Turris. Since being given some more playing time, Lazar has shown his extremely impressive speed, rivalling the explosiveness of Mike Hoffman at times, and has proven to be a more than reliable NHL player. Lazar may be young, but if performance dictates ice time, Lazar would be my top line centre until he shows any signs of weakness. And you've got to love his attitude. Watching Lazar play as a 19/20 year old, I'm sure he'll be the Sens top centre for a long time, and we should build around him.
Mike Hoffman was has been one of our best forwards since the first game of his rookie season this year, but recently has struggled a bit since being separated from Mike Zibanejad and Bobby Ryan. Hoffman has been bouncing line to line all season long, and has earned some consistent playing time with his offensive production. He played last night with Pageau and Chiasson, and at times looked like he was trying to do it all by himself. The team was better when Hoffman was playing with Zibanejad and Ryan, and he has earned his place ahead of Clarke Macarthur and Milan Michalek on the top line. Love to watch this guy play, hopefully he'll get his playing time and a shiny new contract ASAP.
Marc Methot with another big hip check last night, unfortunately he saved it for the last minute of the game when the Senators were already down and out. Methot really has given the Sens the depth on defense that they need, and the Ottawa native should be resigned by the Senators ASAP. He is asking for 5+ mil per season, which is steep for an Ottawa team that has one of the smallest internal budgets in the league. If GM Murray can justify signing Legwand at 3 mil a season on a team that already has Turris-Zib-Lazar-Pageau and Zack Smith as a fifth centre, than it would be a bit mind blowing for management to let Methot go. This is a character guy that really elevates Karlssons game with his solid defensive play, he's from Ottawa and we JUST gave up the mighty Nick Foligno to get him. As a Sens fan, losing Methot would be a very upsetting experience for me.
Thanks for reading my first post and I'll try to get another one in before the Senators play the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday!