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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:47 am 
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OTTAWA -- A week off helped the Ottawa Senators get back to health, but their playoff hopes remain on life support.

The Senators need to go on a run unlike any they've had to avoid a shakeup before the trade deadline, and they need to start with Thursday's game against the St. Louis Blues at Canadian Tire Centre.

Even that might not get them into the playoffs, but it would at least show general manager Pierre Dorion there's reason to keep the band together.

The Senators (15-18-9) showed some fighting spirit before the break, winning three of five games and claiming seven of a possible 10 points. They also started getting some offence from Matt Duchene, who scored three goals and three assists in the past four games to match his production in the first 24 games after being acquired from Colorado.

But they're still 15 points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the third spot in the Atlantic Division, with a slightly smaller gap -- but more teams to pass -- to get to the final wild card spot.

"Guys are generally really, really excited to get back this time," winger Mark Stone said after Wednesday night's practice. "We were playing some good hockey going into the break, so compared to the Christmas break, guys are a lot more excited about how we're playing.

"We can't give up now, we still have half the year to make up for it, so we have to keep things simple game by game and day by day. And we got better (Wednesday) at practice."

While the Senators will likely still be without center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, they are expected to have winger Bobby Ryan, center Nate Thompson and defenseman Mark Borowiecki back for Thursday's game.

Borowiecki, the team's most physical blue liner, hasn't played since suffering a concussion on Nov. 19.

"I would love to (get a hit early), try to set a bit of energy in this building, but when you chase it, that's when things don't go your way," he said. "You have to find your spot. It's just a matter of making sure you're in the right places and being able to make those hits if they do come."

Each game is big for the Blues (27-17-3) these days. They are two points out of top spot in the Central Division, but also two up on the Dallas Stars in the race for third.

It appears Vince Dunn has kept hold of a spot on the blue line after playing a strong game, and scoring the winning goal, in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

The Blues could also stick with goalie Carter Hutton, who made 30 saves to snap the team out of a three-game losing streak.

"I thought he did a heck of a job," coach Mike Yeo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of Hutton on Wednesday. "I don't know that he was tested a lot early. Obviously, the big moment for me was when they scored (a short-handed goal), I thought he made two, three really good saves. It could've been 2-0, 3-0 there right off the hop. And that was when he played his best and that gave us a chance to tie the game."

The Senators need some strong goaltending of their own as starter Craig Anderson has struggled through the first half of the season with a 12-13-5 record to go along with a 3.22 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage.

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Last edited by theohall on Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:48 am 
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Official Duh! Statement of the Day.

theohall wrote:
It appears Vince Dunn has kept hold of a spot on the blue line after playing a strong game, and scoring the winning goal, in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:13 am 
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If Bouwmeester is in:

Blues 1
Senators 3

If Bouwmeester is out:

Blues 3
Senators 1

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:31 pm 
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ibldbl wrote:
If Bouwmeester is in:

Blues 1
Senators 3

If Bouwmeester is out:

Blues 3
Senators 1


And that includes if Gunnarson is out in favor of Bouwmeester, because Jay-Bo will wind up getting the ice time that should be going to Dunn.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:38 pm 
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Can't afford to have any of our signature "slow starts" in these next three games. If the Blues want to compete, they can't drop games to the bottom-feeders as frequently as they have been recently.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:56 pm 
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Projected Lines wrote:
Forwards
Ivan Barbashev - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko
Alexander Steen - Brayden Schenn - Tage Thompson
Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund - Dmitrij Jaskin
Magnus Paajarvi - Kyle Brodziak - Chris Thorburn

Defense
Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn - Robert Bortuzzo

Goalie
Carter Hutton


Predicting a loss... Parayko will be too concerned protecting Bouwmeester's slow butt to play aggressively in the offensive zone.

Hope I'm wrong.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:25 pm 
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I was actually unaware, or had just blissfully ignored the fact, that Brodziak has 4 seasons of 10+ goals to his name, including 22 in 2011-12. With 7 in 46 games, he's on pace to do it again. It's too bad he has to be on a line with two slugs. Given semi-decent linemates, he could easily contribute 12-15 goals a season. Obviously the skill is there if utilized right.

Also, Yeo's 1st season with Minnesota coincided with Brodziak's highwater mark, and he dropped dramatically after that (8, 8, 9 in his last three years with the Wild). Is Yeo just generally misusing him?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:47 pm 
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Brodziak tends to draw defensive zone face-offs against opposition top 2 centers. It's not necessarily "mis-using" him, but using one of his best skills to try and off-set an opponents opportunity to get scoring chances from offensive zone face-offs. This results in less ice time for Brodziak in offensive situations, which results in fewer scoring chances, and fewer goals.

Berglund is the guy who should be handling more of those than Brodziak now. But, we shall see. I'd be interested to see Brodziak as the "3rd" center with Sobotka and Jaskin. Let Berglund handle the crappy part of the game with Upshall and Thorburn.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:45 pm 
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Bouwmeester hits the goalpost! That woke me up!!! :lol: I didn't oversleep on THIS game!!!

Glad to see Hutton getting yet another start.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:10 pm 
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Blues on the PP! Let's grab the lead!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:19 pm 
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Great - so Edmundson gets power play time, but our brilliant special teams expert head coach puts him on the ice with Dunn putting two LD on the PP.

Dunn with Pietro/Edmundson with Parayko for PP pairings.

Get the forward off the point. It's not working.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:40 pm 
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I hate seeing The Blues dumping the puck in on The PP and invariably giving up possession. That's one of the main reason for their poor conversion rate. Schwartz will be back soon, and that will help.

I wonder if The Blues should put Dunn and Parayko on the points of Unit 1, and Pietrangelo running Unit 2. Schenn, Schwartz and Tarasenko could play forward on Unit1, with Stastny,

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:42 pm 
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Beautiful tip-in by Tarasenko!!! His 20th!! Blues lead 1-0!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:56 pm 
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Super shot by Pietrangelo!!! 2-0 Blues!!! Birthday gift!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:00 pm 
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Super shot by Schenn, while heavily guarded. Blues lead 3-0!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:03 pm 
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Very happy to be wrong!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:11 pm 
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Nice drive by Sobotka to draw the penalty to get back to 4 on 4, and draw another to get a 4 on 3 at the end of The 2nd. They'll have most of the 4 on 3 advantage on the slick ice at the start of The 3rd.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:17 pm 
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theohall wrote:
Very happy to be wrong!


Count me in on that. Parayko is all over the ice, and Bouwmeester is playing back, so that might actually work.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:56 pm 
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Great kill by The Blues!

And Steen seals it with the empty-netter!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:57 pm 
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And Steen seals it with the empty-netter!!!

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