Friday, March 17, 2006

Best Team Defence

Ever since the early days of the season, the Ottawa Senators have had the best goals against average in the NHL. Their start of the season was especially dominant. They currently have a 2.35 GAA which is slowly creeping upward as the season progresses (it was 2.14 in mid-November).

Several things have happened to change this. The scouts around the NHL have had a chance to see the Senators and find some chinks in their armour. The best goalie in the NHL so far this season Dominik Hasek got injured during the Olympics. Wade Redden who was at one point the Norris trophy leader has fallen off the pace. Ottawa got off to such a fast start that they have little to play for. It is clear that they will have a top record in the NHL this season and a top seed in the playoffs. This has probably led to a reduction in the intensity of the Senators play.

By season's end, likely Ottawa will not have the best goals against average in the NHL. The Calgary Flames have been consistently gaining upon them. They currently have a 2.37 GAA (which is in striking distance of Ottawa). Their goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has come on very strong after a slow October. Their young defence is maturing. Key players Robyn Regehr and Dion Phaneuf have both improved over the course of the season. Calgary is in a much tighter race for a good playoff seeding, giving them more to play for.

When the season is complete, I expect that Calgary will likely have a better goals against average than Ottawa does. Both teams have very defences. It wouldn't suprise me to see them compete against one another in the Stanley Cup finals (this follows from the old adage that defence wins championships). Since Ottawa has the better offence, I expect they would be the favorite in an Ottawa vs. Calgary match-up.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?