Game 23: Carolina Hurricanes @ Ottawa Senators

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Tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes will mark the first home game for the Ottawa Senators in 18 days. Ottawa last won at home on 30 October and tonight is their last chance to win at home in November. Also, contrary to some earlier rumours, there has been no new scoreboard installed during the road trip.

The Senators will make two changes, with David Rundblad replacing Brian Lee and Nikita Filatov coming in for Stéphane Da Costa. Ottawa did not practise today but according to Ian Mendes, Filatov will play in the top six with either Jason Spezza or Nick Foligno. Here is my guess for the lines:

Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Nikita Filatov
Milan Michalek - Nick Foligno - Daniel Alfredsson
Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Erik Condra
Zenon KonopkaJesse Winchester - Bobby Butler

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared CowenSergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - David Rundblad

Craig Anderson (starter)
Alex Auld

Talking points and statistics after the jump.

Here are my talking points for tonight's game:

  • Rebounding from Friday: The Senators were completely awful in Pittsburgh. They were down 4-1 just 9:11 into the game and Craig Anderson couldn't give them a save. Allowing a goal from behind the net was unacceptable and he has to be better tonight.
  • Foligno as centre: Nick Foligno will get to play centre tonight. There is much more to playing centre than taking face-offs, but Foligno has won only 6 out of 29 face-offs so far this season. He is coming off a two point effort in Pittsburgh, where he also took an elbow to the head from Sidney Crosby and then called him out for it. I liked Foligno's game and hope to see more of the same.
  • Filatov returns: Nikita Filatov will return tonight and will play in the top six. This will be his fourth game in four nights, so it will be interesting to see how much jump he has and how much ice time he gets.
  • First game back at home: The Senators haven't played a game at home in a while. It is often said that the first game back at home after a long trip is a tough one. But the Senators had practised at home for a while before the Pittsburgh game. Hopefully Ottawa can come out flying at the start.
Here are the 2011-2012 comparative statistics for the Senators and the Hurricanes:

Category Ottawa Enemy - Carolina
Value Rank Value Rank
Goals For per game 2.82 12th 2.38 24th
Goals Against per game 3.41 30th 3.21 28th
5 on 5 GF/GA ratio 0.76 26th 0.75 25th
Shots for per game 29.9 16th 29.5 18th
Shots against per game 30.4 18th 32.0 26th
Power play % 19.7 6th 12.2 29th
Penalty kill % 79.2 25th 80.5 19th
Category Ottawa Enemy - Carolina
Player Value Player Value
Points Jason Spezza 20 Jeff Skinner 21
Goals Milan Michalek 12 Jeff Skinner 9
Assists Erik Karlsson 18 Jeff Skinner 12
PP Points Erik Karlsson 9 Jussi Jokinen 7
Shots Erik Karlsson 70 Eric Staal 88
Hits Nick Foligno 61 Patrick Dwyer 55
Avg. Ice time Erik Karlsson 25:20 Joni Pitkanen 23:14
Face-offs % Zenon Konopka 59.0 Jussi Jokinen 56.8
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