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Sizzling Senators shut down Bruins, spawn some bold questions

Feb 28, 2012, 11:11 PM EDT

senshug Getty Images

Erik Karlsson might not have the defensive acumen to please people who cringe at the points-centric Norris Trophy voting, but his scoring ability is making the Ottawa Senators an intriguing sleeper in the East.

Karlsson’s power-play goal was the only marker as the Senators beat the Northeast Division-leading (and defending champion) Boston Bruins at their own game 1-0.

Well, either that or their promising backup goalie won a significant duel with Tim Thomas. Nope, it wasn’t recently acquired netminder Ben Bishop; instead, Robin Lehner made a compelling argument for his NHL-readiness by stopping all 32 Bruins shots. Thomas was brilliant in making 37 out of 38 saves, but Ottawa beat the B’s in Boston to make a statement.

Either that, or they raised some questions.

1. Circling back to Karlsson, is his resounding offensive production reason enough to make him deserve the Norris? Normally I’m in that embittered hockey nerd group in regard to that trophy’s voting, but one could argue that he’s essentially the most valuable defenseman in the NHL because of his offense.*

2. Does Ottawa have a decent chance to steal the Northeast title from Boston?

Rather than going too deep on this question, I’ll merely present you with some crucial points.

  • The Bruins are currently ahead of the Senators points-wise 77-76.
  • Boston also has a fairly massive games in hand advantage, with four more games remaining (21 to 17) than Ottawa.
  • On the other hand, the Senators are streaking up (two wins in a row; 7-2-1 in their last 10) while the Bruins are bumbling a bit (4-5-1 in last 10).
  • The Bruins have 10 home games and 11 road games left.
  • The Senators have nine home games and eight road games remaining.
  • Both teams actually possess remarkably balanced win-loss records on the road vs. at home, which means that games remaining and streaks are probably the biggest factors.
  • Well, except for tie-breaker considerations, perhaps. The Bruins have 37 wins to Ottawa’s 34 and 30 regulation/OT wins to the Senators’ 29.

Looking at that information, it would take a serious run (and/or significant Boston struggles) for Ottawa to shock the hockey world by winning its division. Still, it’s pretty amazing that such a question would need to be examined with March just a breath away.

* – The Norris Trophy isn’t defined as the MVP of the blueliners, but the point must be made.

  1. scottybcboy - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Karlsson should be a finalist for the Norris, and quite likely the winner, as his +/- is right there with other candidates such as Weber and Chara.
    The B’s will win the Northeast. Every streak, be it hot or cold, comes to an end eventually.

  2. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    it’s between Weber and Karlsson… I assume Weber will win but both are deserving

  3. solador78 - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    I could watch this all day:

    “Oh no, wait wait don’t hurt me!”

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:51 AM

      not really sure what’s so great about this video.

      a big ole whatever to me

      • solador78 - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:59 AM

        It’s the look of fear in Chara’s eyes when he’s defenseless on his back.

        Then he thanks Neil for not destroying him.

  4. drewzducks - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    I guess only a Moron like Soladork78 could find enjoyment in watching a “fight” in which no punches are landed and both tough guys honor the code of not throwing a punch when one of them ends up on his back.

    • solador78 - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      I also liked the part where Chara tried to give Neil a back rub.

  5. 8man - Feb 29, 2012 at 6:37 AM

    The Bruins have had repeated opportunities to put the Sens farther and farther behind them, yet Ottawa continues to gain ground. Big win tonight because it was a 4 point swing. Both teams know it’s better to be one of the top 3 as opposed the remaining 5 when the playoffs start.

    The B’s didn’t play poorly last night. They just didn’t convert on their opportunities and Lehner was perfect. It happens. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Sens and the B’s in the conference finals. Queue the Rangers fans now…..

    • dropthepuckeh - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      I respectfully disagree. I think the Bruins all played very poorly except for Thomas. They looked slow and tired. Ottawa was smart and didn’t engage in any of the repeated attempts by Thornton and McQuaid to start stuff up and the Bruins didn’t seem to capable of waking themselves up on their own. The shot differential after two periods was ridiculous and while the third period was better for the Bruins, it obviously wasn’t enough. I don’t think Ottawa is going far in the playoffs, if at all, but I think it is pretty wide open in the East after the Rangers.

      Home ice is great for the fans in the playoffs and I’d rather the Bruins play the 7th seed than the one or two but I don’t think it is going to determine who comes out of the East.

    • brian32556 - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:17 PM

      And if the Senator had converted on THEIR opportunities it would have been 4-0 instead of 1-0!!

  6. homelanddefense - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    I disagree, the Bruins did play poorly last night. Aside from the Bergeron line the team didnt even show up until the 3rd period.

    And Seguin needs to do something, he has cooled off considerably since his torrid start. Krejci is a disaster lately…..

  7. pepper2011 - Feb 29, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    NO- Karlsson should not win the Norris Trophy. He shouldn’t even been in the conversation. He is an offensive defenseman. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t mind him on my team but with 66 pts – you need your Norris winner to be more than a +15. He is in the lower half/average for hits and blocks. If I need a goal from a D man; I’ll take Karlsson. If I need to shut down Malkin, Stamkos, Toews, Sedins, Giroux, etc… in an important game in the playoffs; I’ll take Chara, Weber, Lidstom, four guys on the NYR, Suter, Keith or Yandle. Karlsson is good but he is not a Norris trophy candidate. Lets put this into perspective. If Karlsson were to win he would have as many Norris trophies as Chara and Keith, and More than Weber, Suter, Yandle, and Letang combined. Give the kid a few years to learn how to play D. you don’t see the player polls talking about how hard it is to play against him like you do weber and chara. you do see teams game planning against him getting out of position and jumping up in the play.

    • solador78 - Feb 29, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      Chara is terrible defensively.

      • govtminion - Feb 29, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        Yep, that’s some Norris-caliber failure, no idea why people think Chara is any good since all he does is perform better than 95% of the other defensemen in the league every year. Do you watch hockey?

      • solador78 - Feb 29, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        Chara is the most overrated defenseman in the defensive zone.

        He’s only great at rubbing people out in the neutral zone and has a big shot.

        It’s natural for short and ugly people to overrate tall and beautiful people in all aspects of life.

      • govtminion - Feb 29, 2012 at 10:52 AM

        Heh, I see what you did there, that’s pretty funny. You’re a clever person. I salute your trolling skills, because I’m sure that’s why you’re here- to make yourself feel better by trying to denigrate others.

        Enjoy- I have better things to do with my time.

      • homelanddefense - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM

        dont feed the trolls

      • pepper2011 - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        Bruins won that game. Candiens gonna make the playoff?

  8. pepper2011 - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Yeah – I mean the PLAYERS poll that rated him as the best defenseman with 61% -next closest Weber at 12% don’t know what they are talking about. he was voted again by HIS PEERS as the 2nd toughest to player to play against behind Datsyuk. He was voted best d man 2010,2011,2012 – maybe longer – got sick of looking… let me ask you- considering the Bruins have the best goal differential this year and have been in the top 3 for goals allowed the last 4 years (this one included) – might, just might that have something to do with the guy who is out there 25+ minutes a night against the other teams top lines? You really need a better understanding of the game soador78. Honestly if you knew anything about hockey you wouldn’t say that- I can only assume you are a Canadiens fan or a Canucks fan… how many points did the sedins put up in teh SCF’s? Chara was a +16 in 24 playoff games last year playing almost 28 minutes a game. +16. But yeah I Guess he’s overrated.

    • solador78 - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      The thing about Chara is that he’s great at shutting guys down trying to enter the zone, because it’s a simple two-direction game (forwards+backwards). So it’s easy to say that he’s good defensively.

      But once it’s in deep, he’s prone to brain lapses where he leaves guys open. It happens all the time because his awareness is lacking when it comes it complicated dynamic situations.

      Furthermore, Chara’s conditioning would be an issue if he didn’t tower over the rest of the league. A steady diet of Mcdonals, beer and cigarettes has resulted in him missing games from dehydration.

      • govtminion - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:37 PM

        McDonalds, beer, and cigarettes… got anything to back that statement? Sounds more like… well, my diet in college.

      • pepper2011 - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        you do realize he does the Tour de France (stages) every year? you know more than the players… really. you do.,6610,s1-3-9-21626-1,00.html

        but yeah, I guess lots of guys who aren’t in shape bike the alps in their time off. Guess what? I’ll be watching Chara play in may and June and I think you’ll have to find a golf course to see your guys in action. awww….

        “But once it’s in deep, he’s prone to brain lapses where he leaves guys open. It happens all the time because his awareness is lacking when it comes it complicated dynamic situations”

        you are trying to sound knowledgeable but you are not. how come we don’t hear how great of a defenseman Hal gill is or John scott? they are roughly the same size? or wow, that Nik antropov is a beast in the neutral zone. I am done with you.

      • brian32556 - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:24 PM

        So he rides a bike in the summer. Big deal, its not like he’s steep in the competition. Its just another form of working out. Why not just say “mine is bigger than yours.” Geez!

  9. solador78 - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Chara was in the hospital for part of round 1 due to dehydration, which was brought on by his diet, cigarettes or stress (police investigation) and guilt, your choice. It’s pretty well known that he ducks out for smokes before games, which is worse than drinking beer in the Red Sox clubhouse.

    I understand that you guys place a lot of misguided value on plus/minus ratings, which is a totally flawed system for a number of reasons.

    For example, too much weight is given to the performance of teammates and even-strength play.

    Chara and Julien had the worst power play in the league in last year’s playoffs, but you don’t hear too much about that because the rest of the team scored a ton of even-strength goals when it counted, inflating Chara’s plus/minus. His personal performace of 2 goals and 7 assists in 24 playoff games was pretty lackluster.

    But since you guys like plus/minus so much, how do you explain Chara’s -21 rating in 2006/07?

    (I believe that it has more to do with Tim Thomas having the worst save percentage and goals against average of his career).

  10. solador78 - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Ok look, I guess I do know what I’m talking about:

    From sbnation:

    Chara’s Scouting Report
    Loves to hit people.
    Possesses a great point shot, which produces a good number of goals.
    Can shut down opposing forwards with aplomb.

    Has difficulty defending some of the quickest forwards in the NHL, since he struggles with quick turns.

  11. brian32556 - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:26 PM


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