Last spring, the Ottawa Senators were a single goal away from playing in the Stanley Cup Final. About six months later, the team seems perpetually on the verge of coming completely apart.
That the Senators, who visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, are struggling to repeat last year’s success doesn’t register as a huge surprise — analytic-minded observers have long been suspicious of this team. Still, the precipitous manner in which Ottawa has plunged down the standings is as one of the more jarring developments this NHL season has produced.
Consider this contrast: When the Senators woke up on Nov. 16 — 11 days after acquiring centre Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche — they sat third in the Atlantic Division with 21 points, holding a five-point advantage on the sixth-place Boston Bruins with one game in hand. Today, less than two months later, second-place Boston enjoys a 16-point lead on Ottawa and holds one game in hand on a Sens team that has fallen all the way to 29th in the NHL.
With that in mind, here are some other mind-bending — and, depending on where your allegiances lie, potentially soul-destroying — numbers from Ottawa’s miserable campaign.
• The Senators’ scuffle began with a 3-1 loss to the Penguins on Nov. 16. Including that setback, Ottawa’s record from then to now is 6-15-4 (.320 points percentage), worse than every mark in the league save Buffalo’s putrid 5-15-5 effort (.300).
• Some other Ottawa numbers from that span with its league rank in parenthesis: 2.16 goals per game (30th), 3.68 goals-against (29th), 10.8 per cent on the power play (30th), 71.4 per cent on the penalty-kill (28th), .890 team save percentage (27th).
• Ottawa has one road win in 14 attempts since Nov. 16, a 6-5 victory over the Islanders. The Sens have been blanked five times away from home over that stretch. Remove the outburst versus the Isles and the Sens are averaging 1.2 goals per game on the road in that time.
• Ottawa has allowed five or more goals a stunning and league-high 15 times this season, including a touchdown with a two-point conversion on Tuesday night versus the Chicago Blackhawks. The next-worst marks belong to Vancouver, Arizona and the Islanders, who’ve each been burned for five or more on 12 occasions. The Los Angeles Kings have only coughed up five or more twice all year.
• Of goalies who’ve played at least 15 games this year, Mike Condon’s .894 save percentage is the fourth-worst number posted and Craig Anderson’s .897 is sixth. No other club has two goalies with sub-.900 marks under those conditions.