The Ottawa Senators got a much-needed win against the New York Rangers on Friday, closing out a five-game road trip which saw them go 1-2-2. The Senators defense was solid as usual, helping Robin Lehner pick up his first win of the season. At the halfway point of the 2013 campaign, the Senators are still in great shape in the standings despite losing Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson and Jason Spezza to injury.
With Spezza’s return looking to still be at least a week away, the Senators need to start getting a bigger offensive contribution from top-line forwards like Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek. Karlsson is still leading the team in goals with six, and he hasn’t played in their last 11 games. While the emergence of young talent like Jakob Silfverberg is encouraging, the lack of scoring from Alfredsson and others is a disturbing trend that needs to be corrected if Ottawa hopes to make a playoff push. Kyle Turris started off the season with four goals in four games and finished January with seven points. Since then, he has managed only six assists and just one of those has come in the last two weeks. Karlsson’s offensive production is obviously missed, but Sergei Gonchar has done an admirable job of elevating his game in the reigning Norris Trophy winner’s absence. Michalek has two assists since returning from a knee injury but has only found the back of the net twice this season.
The Senators have the talent to be a playoff team, and if Anderson returns soon they should see their goals against drop back down. That only leaves them with one task: score more goals.