Ottawa - Oct. 21, 2011 - After an absence of almost 16 years the Winnipeg Jets return to Ottawa was anything but welcome. Although outshot, the Senators outplayed the Jets for much of the game winning 4-1. Despite giving up the opening goal again, the Senators managed to bounce back from a terrible outing to put in a solid effort, much like they did on Saturday in Washington, a game the Senators deserved to win.
Two nights after yours truly criticized the lack of solid goaltending in my previous article; Craig Anderson came up with his best effort of the season. Anderson saved 35 out of 36 shots on the night and aside from a double deflection which Anderson cannot be blamed for, he shut the door on the struggling Jets. Anderson gave the Senators the type of goaltending that they needed and he made a few key saves in the second and third periods to keep the Senators ahead in the game 2-1. It will be interesting to see how he follows this up in the Columbus game. Goaltending is primarily about fundamentals and confidence. This game should give Anderson some additional confidence going forward.
For the first time this year the Senators managed to play an entire game without giving up a power play goal. The league’s worst penalty killing unit killed of all 4 penalties on the night. Going into the night the Senators sat dead last in the NHL, killing 20 of 31 short-handed situations for a league low 64.5% penalty killing rate. Despite killing all 4 short-handed situations the Jets still had some great chances. The Senators managed to cut down on their penalties, especially in the first period, where they've incurred over half of their penalties which are one of the main reasons why the Senators have fallen behind early in every game this year.
It's time for the Senators to decide whether Mika Zibanejad is going to stay with the team or be sent back to Sweden for the rest of the year. Under the NHL rules, the Senators have to decide before the tenth game whether or not to keep Zibanejad or to send him back for more seasoning. Management has been very quiet about their intentions, so it’s up in the air whether Zibanejad will be sent back or not. The Senators have played eight games, so we may only be seeing Zibanejad for one more game. In eight games this season Zibanejad has no goals and only one assist with a -3 plus/minus rating. Although, I think Zibanejad will become an excellent NHL player, I think he needs to be sent back to Sweden for a little more seasoning. The Senators are still a couple of years away from being a good hockey team so they shouldn't be in a hurry to speed up the development of Zibanejad.
Thanks to everyone who posted comments last week in relation to my article.
Here is the best response which I thought I’d answer this time:
“I disagree. I think the whole team was bad not just the goalies”. - Gordon Campbell
Thanks for the comments. Remember if you’d like to make a comment and possibly end up in this article e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org