There’s a lot of diplomacy floating around the Ottawa Senators locker room these days. On a few occasions last week, coach Paul MacLean made it abundantly clear that Craig Anderson is still his No. 1 goaltender — the latest declaration coming after backup Robin Lehner turned aside 26 shots in a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers Saturday afternoon for his third straight win. And a strong vote of confidence from the bench boss should be enough to slow the debate over which netminder deserves to be top dog in the capital … at least for a little while. But try as Kyle Turris might to downplay his own ascent to the No. 1 centre role here, there’s no denying the fact that much of the team’s recent success is tied directly to the chemistry he has found with wingers Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur. It wasn’t so long ago that the trio of captain Jason Spezza between Ryan and Milan Michalek was drawing comparisons to the Pizza Line, which caused free slices to fall from the sky like rain in the mid-2000s. All the attention those three would draw, the story went, would open things up for Turris to really thrive this season. Instead, it’s 16-7-6 causing the opposition fits, especially when MacLean throws the NHL’s scoring leader among defencemen, Erik Karlsson, out there with them. “It’s still the first quarter of the season,” Turris said after notching a goal and an assist in Saturday’s win over the Panthers to extend his point scoring streak to seven games and run his season total to 18. “(Spezza) takes so much heat and so much attention from the other team and that’s something, to be able to do what he’s done, not just this year, but every year for the past 10 years or whatever, it’s special. “We’re just trying to take some of the pressure off him and give him some better looks here and there, and he’s still taking the majority of the heat,” he said. The numbers speak for themselves, however. Turris has led all Senators centres in ice time in four of five games in November, three times outpacing Spezza by more than four minutes. Possession metrics like Corsi — which measures shots (successful, missed and blocked) for and against when players are on the ice — show the surface sloping toward the opposition net when they’re out there and back the other way when they’re not.
As the Turris line goes, so go the Senators
Ottawa Citizen | Nov 11