The Ottawa Senators were in need of a jolt, and coach Paul MacLean saw fit to shake up his lines in a big way heading into Friday’s contest with the New York Islanders. We aren’t talking about a coach flip-flopping his second and third line centers, or bumping a top-line wing down onto the second unit.
Senators Extra noted a few changes at practice this morning as MacLean tried to shock his team to life following three consecutive loses. Among the changes: Jason Spezza centered a line that included Chris Neil and Cory Conacher, and a split of the usually inseparable Marc Methot and Erik Karlsson.
All of this to try and pry some good hockey out of a team that should be better than 4-6-2.
That record has Ottawa sitting in sixth in the Atlantic and searching for answers under every nook and cranny. Scoring hasn’t really been an issue for the Senators this season though. They are 12th in the NHL in goals-scored per game, and are averaging the sixth-most shots per game as well.
The issue has been on defense and in net, which is odd since Craig Anderson set some historic numbers last season. All the shakeups in the world won’t help Anderson find his 2013 game or make this team more defensively responsible. That’s where the Senators are scary-bad.
They’re allowing a league-worst 37 shots per game on average. For the Senators to make any sort of noise this season, they’ll need to find a way to shave 14 or 15 shots off of that total moving forward, or else miss the playoffs following a strong run last season.