Game 33: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators

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The Ottawa Senators will try once more to end a losing streak at just one game. Having played 32 games and lost 18 of them, the 17 losses before Boston have come in groups of at least two. It was a December meeting last year in which Kris Letang effectively ended Ottawa's season by hitting Jason Spezza from behind. Tonight however, it is Letang who is injured, out with a concussion. Also out with concussions are Sidney Crosby and Milan Michalek.

After a weak performance against Boston, Craig Anderson will sit on the bench and Alex Auld will again try for his first win of the season. Here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent:

Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Peter Regin - Chris Neil
Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Erik Condra
Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester - Bobby Butler

Jared Cowen - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Brian Lee
Matt Carkner - David Rundblad

Alex Auld (starter)
Craig Anderson

Talking points and statistics after the jump.

Here are my talking points for tonight:

  • Shock and awe: The Senators were grabbed by the neck, slammed down repeatedly, then kicked in the face and finally spat on in the first ten minutes of the last game. It was 4-1 midway through the first period. The best part was that Ottawa scored first in that game. They surely can't start as bad this time right?
  • Auld looking for first win: It is 16 December and Alex Auld hasn't won a game yet. He will probably need a lot of goal support if he is to do so tonight.
  • Power play goals: The Senators had a lot of power play shots against Buffalo and Boston but couldn't score. It probably doesn't help when you have Chris Phillips, Chris Neil and Zenon Konopka on there. Phillips presence is necessary due to the injuries.
  • Foligno agitating Penguins: While Crosby isn't playing, will there be any goonery dating back to the last meeting between those two clubs? In addition to Konopka and Neil, Matt Carkner is also dressing for this game.
  • Malkin quietly having a very good season: You don't hear too much about him in the national media, but Evgeni Malkin has 29 points in only 24 games. That's 1.21 points a game and behind only Claude Giroux and Crosby. Jared Cowen and Erik Karlsson will have their hands full.
Here are the 2011-2012 comparative statistics for the Senators and the Penguins:

Category Ottawa Enemy - Pittsburgh
Value Rank Value Rank
Goals For per game 2.91 9th 2.97 7th
Goals Against per game 3.44 30th 2.48 11th
5 on 5 GF/GA ratio 0.85 22nd 1.03 14th
Shots for per game 31.2 11th 33.7 3rd
Shots against per game 31.5 22nd 27.8 4th
Power play % 16.5 16th 17.3 13th
Penalty kill % 80.9 22nd 87.5 4th
Category Ottawa Enemy - Pittsburgh
Player Value Player Value
Points Jason Spezza 32 Evgeni Malkin 29
Goals Milan Michalek 19 James Neal 17
Assists Erik Karlsson 24 Evgeni Malkin 18
PP Points Erik Karlsson 11 James Neal 12
Shots Erik Karlsson 104 James Neal 127
Hits Nick Foligno 90 Brooks Orpik 72
Avg. Ice time Erik Karlsson 25:25 Kris Letang 26:10
Face-offs % Zenon Konopka 59.7 Joe Vitale 56.9
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