NEWS: Sens News: April 5th

Ben Bishop will get the start as the Sens play a game that’s meaningless for the Bruins.  Matt Gilroy comes out of the lineup as Sergei Gonchar returns.

Stu Hackel looks at the goaltending for playoff teams in the east, saying this about Ottawa, “One of the league’s biggest surprise teams benefitted from Craig Anderson’s strong play. He responded well to his recent adversity, when a finger injury kept him out of the lineup for nearly a month. After some shaky moments in his first two games, he’s returned to his usual form, and everyone in Ottawa is breathing a little easier, especially after his 44-save game in Winnipeg last week. The biggest downside here is that Anderson has limited playoff experience at any level, having never won more than two games or played in more than six at any level since junior hockey. Big rookie Ben Bishop, who was excellent as an injury fill-in for Anderson, has a groin problem and his fitness for the playoffs is uncertain.

-Here’s my look at the Sens over their last ten games (link).

-As widely reported (here’s Joy Lindsay‘s report) Ben Blood has signed his ELC with Ottawa and is joining Binghamton in Norfolk.

-Binghamton got rolled 5-1 by Syracuse last night, a game I saw the majority of.  Robin Lehner did not get much help from the team in front of him and despite the goal total played well (he made 37 saves).  Jack Downing scored the only goal, cleaning up Andre Petersson‘s garbage.  The team struggled in the defensive zone, with breakouts, and maintaining offensive pressure.  Here’s the box score and Joy Lindsay‘s game summary.

-Elmira lost last night and are now 0-2 in their first round series; Brian Stewart dressed as the backup.  Josh Godfrey and one of Binghamton’s forwards (probably Corey Cowick) have been sent down.

-The season isn’t quite over, but Scott Cullen goes through the rationale for his power rankings for TSN this year and how it all worked out.  I like the idea, although I think it would have made more sense to list the teams by his pre-season rankings rather than alphabetically.  Here’s how he did (the team’s current ranking is in brackets):
Boston 1st (5th)
Chicago 2nd (8th)
San Jose 3rd (12th)
Philadelphia 4th (9th)
Vancouver 5th (6th)
Washington 6th (18th)
Buffalo 7th (17th)
Detroit 8th (7th)
Pittsburgh 9th (1st)
Los Angeles 10th (13th)
New York Rangers 11th (3rd)
St. Louis 12th (2nd)
Nashville 13th (4th)
Tampa Bay 14th (26th)
Anaheim 15th (23rd)
Montreal 16th (25th)
Dallas 17th (14th)
Carolina 18th (22nd)
New Jersey 19th (11th)
Toronto 20th (29th)
Calgary 21st (21st)
New York Islanders 22nd (24th)
Columbus 23rd (30th)
Colorado 24th (19th)
Winnipeg 25th (20th)
Phoenix 26th (15th)
Minnesota 27th (28th)
Edmonton 28th (27th)
Florida 29th (16th)
Ottawa 30th (10th) (“After killing my preseason ranking by going in the tank last season, the Senators bounced back and ruined this year’s preseason ranking too. They were mediocre through Christmas, going 13-13-4 as of December 10th, but the season started to turn and, not entirely coincidentally, after they acquired Kyle Turris from Phoenix. It’s not so much that the Senators couldn’t find the 28 points in 47 games that Turris provided (though their second-line centres weren’t offering that much), it’s that Turris‘ presence allowed the Senators to balance their top two lines, keeping Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson on separate lines and both were productive. Getting bounceback seasons from 39-year-old Alfredsson and 37-year-old Sergei Gonchar certainly contributed to this season’s surprise result, as did the giant progression in the game of third-year Erik Karlsson, who went from dynamic offensive defenceman to Norris Trophy candidate (he’s still more O than D, but he does O like no one else). The Senators have also benefitted from good health and even when Craig Anderson suffered a freak finger injury at a time when it could have derailed their season, goaltenders Ben Bishop and Robin Lehner kept the Sens’ playoff hopes alive.“)

-I’m not sure explaining why Mike Milbury is behind the times is necessary, but Stu Hackel does so at length (comparing him to another dinosaur, Don Cherry).

This article is written by Peter Levi, be sure to follow @eyeonthesens