Game 8: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Ottawa Senators

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The Ottawa Senators will aim to win consecutive games for the first time this season when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets. For the second straight game, the Senators get to host a struggling team that played on the road the night before. Columbus is the only team in the league still looking for their first win.

There is still no news on how long Peter Regin will be out, but he will definitely not play tonight. Zenon Konopka will replace him and play his 200th career game. Brian Lee is the only healthy scratch.

Here are the lines courtesy of James Gordon.

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Colin Greening
Nick Foligno - Mika Zibanejad - Daniel Alfredsson
Erik Condra - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Zenon Konopka - Stéphane Da Costa - Jesse Winchester

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Sergei GoncharJared Cowen
Chris Phillips - David Rundblad

Craig Anderson (starter)
Alex Auld

Stats and talking points after the jump.

Here are my talking points:

  • Zibanejad moves to second line: If this is going to be Zibanejad's last home game, the Senators are giving him every chance to leave the Ottawa fans with a good impression. Zibanejad will replace Regin on the second line and Da Costa remains on the fourth line, this time with Konopka and Winchester.
  • Pressure on Spezza line: With Regin gone, there is going to be added pressure on Jason Spezza's line to continue to produce. Spezza along with Michalek and Karlsson are tied for 8th in the NHL in points.
  • Very winnable game: Columbus hast lost all seven of their games. They played last night in Detroit. They are missing Jeff Carter. The Senators are coming off a win. All the signs point to a Senators win tonight, but they can't be complacent, the game is there for the taking.
  • Defensive ice time: I am always interested in the ice time given to the defencemen and who they are matched up against. Karlsson/Kuba has to be the first pairing, as it has their best defenceman and the only pairing without a rookie. The second and third pairings typically get the same amount of ice time. I would expect Karlsson/Kuba to play against the Rick Nash line tonight.
  • David Rundblad: Magic Number Seven hasn't been on the ice for a goal against for three straight games. Rundblad, however, has been protected in zone starts, starting 64.7% of his 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone (not including neutral zone face-offs). The only player more protected is Da Costa, who has a 70% offensive zone start.
  • Binghamton destroyed: Last night, the Binghamton Senators lost 7-0 in Norfolk and were outshot 53-14. At one point midway through the second period, the shots were 35-4 for Norfolk. Robin Lehner was relieved after two periods, making 35 saves on 38 shots. I can only assume Lehner gave everyone a silent stare after the game. Binghamton will play once again in Norfolk tonight.

Here are the 2011-2012 comparative statistics for the Senators and the Blue Jackets:

Category Ottawa Enemy - Columbus
Value Rank Value Rank
Goals For per game 2.71 9th 2.00 25th
Goals Against per game 4.43 30th 3.43 27th
5 on 5 GF/GA ratio 0.47 29th 0.73 24th
Shots for per game 30.1 15th 30.3 13th
Shots against per game 33.1 25th 28.3 10th
Power play % 24.1 6th 8.8 26th
Penalty kill % 68.6 30th 69.2 29th
Category Ottawa Enemy - Columbus
Player Value Player Value
Points Erik Karlsson 8 Rick Nash 7
Goals Milan Michalek 5 Vinny Prospal 3
Assists Erik Karlsson 7 Rick Nash 5
PP Points Erik Karlsson 5 Vinny Prospal 2
Shots Milan Michalek 23 Vinny Prospal 24
Hits Chris Neil 24 Derek Dorsett 18
Avg. Ice time Erik Karlsson 24:25 Grant Clitsome 24:03
Face-offs % Zenon Konopka 58.3 Jeff Carter 57.3
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