Monday, February 25, 2013
Ottawa's new look
By Luke Lapinski
When Erik Karlsson went down for the year -- with Jason Spezza already on the shelf -- no one would have blamed the Ottawa Senators if they slid off the map this season. Many felt they had overachieved just to make the playoffs last year, even with their top weapons healthy. And, considering what those two bring to the table, it wouldn't be a shock to see the team suffer in the standings. Instead, they've rattled off four straight wins.
So how exactly are they doing it? Balance. Karlsson led the Sens in essentially every major category when he went down, so Paul MacLean knew it would take a total team effort from his guys in the talented 22-year old's absence. Over the course of this four-game winning streak, they've managed nine goals -- scored by seven different players. Instead of Spezza and Karlsson using multi-point nights to fuel 5-3 victories, they're grinding out lower-scoring, one-goal wins with guys like Mika Zibanejad, Andre Benoit, Dave Dziurzynski and Colin Greening producing in key spots. And they'll need more of the same to keep this recent run of success going. As Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun points out, the team is playing without seven regulars as it heads into Monday's tilt with Montreal.