Senators staying competitive despite injuries
|02.28.13 at 12:44 pm ET|
The Senators are a team playing without some of their key players, but their results haven’t shown that.
Ottawa was already hurting with Jason Spezza done potentially for the season due to back surgery, but they suffered another big blow when reigning Norris Trophy Winner Erik Karlsson was lost for the year as the result of Matt Cooke‘s skate cutting his Achilles tendon on Feb 13. Additionally, goaltender Craig Anderson hasn’t played since Feb. 21 due to an ankle injury.
Yet as the injuries have piled up for the Senators, so too have the win. Ottawa comes into Boston for Thursday night’s matchup with the Bruins riding a five-game winning streak. Two of the victories were divisional wins over Toronto and Montreal, with three of the victories of shootout variety. They beat the Rangers last Thursday, and now they enter Boston looking to make another statement against another one of the Eastern Conference’s more talented squads.
“They’re well-coached and everybody’s buying into the system,” Chris Kelly said of his former club. “You need to be that way when you lose key players and really good players. You lose your goaltender, you lose arguably your best forward and your best defenseman. That’s going to hurt any team, and you give them credit for finding ways to get two points.”
Behind the success for Ottawa has been goaltender Ben Bishop, who has won his last four games and has spelled Anderson admirably since the other half of Ottawa’s netminding tandem. When Claude Julien looks at how Ottawa’s been able to win despite the losses of Spezza and Karlsson, he looks at Bishop and Anderson, when healthy.
“They have an unbelievable goaltending tandem right now that is so good for them,” Julien said. “The last game that they played in Montreal, [Bishop] did make a difference. There’s no doubt there. The other part is I think they still play a good team game, which allows them to win hockey games. We’ve been through that before. When you have lots of injuries, you’ve just got to be even better at playing a good team game, and that’s what they’re doing.”
Entering Thursday night, the Senators are third in the Northeast Division with 26 points (12-6-2) in 20 games. They’ve played four more games than the B’s (16) and as many games as the Canadiens, who lead the division with 29 points. A win against the B’s could help keep them in the mix despite all the games the Bruins have in hand, and it would also show that they can stick around despite injuries. So far, they’ve done that.