Game 29: Ottawa Senators @ New Jersey Devils

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The Ottawa Senators have yet to have a losing streak of less than two games and they will head into New Jersey hoping to end the current streak at just one. Ottawa put in a disappointing performance last night at home to Washington, but still found themselves with a lead midway through the third period before blowing it away.

After yet another disappointing performance by the top line, and with back-to-back games, it could have been the easiest case to put Nikita Filatov back into the lineup. However, when asked if he considered doing so, Paul MacLean simply answered "No". With that, I would have to think Filatov's time in Ottawa is over.

MacLean did say he will consider mixing up the lines, but as the club did not practise today, I have no lines to post. Alex Auld will start though, making his fourth start of the season and looking for his first win.

Before I get to the talking points and statistics, I will leave you this quote by Devils defenceman, Anton Volchenkov courtesy of Slava Malamud.

"I block shots so well because I always wanted to be a goalie. Coach forced me to play defence. Wanted me to be like my dad" - Anton Volchenkov

Here are my talking points for tonight:

  • Rebound from loss: As mentioned above, when the Senators lose one game, they lose at least two in a row. Can they finally end this trend tonight?
  • New lines: Paul MacLean hinted that he might mix up the lines tonight. Zack Smith's line struggled last night, so I could see Chris Neil taking a spot on there. Jason Spezza's line is also not producing and we might see some new guys on there.
  • Alex Auld starts: Been a while since he started and he is still looking for his first win of the season. Can he finally get one tonight? The team hasn't played its best games in front of him usually.
  • Milan Michalek red hot: Michalek enters the night in a three-way tie with Phil Kessel and Jonathan Toews for the NHL's goal scoring lead. Michalek might be the most surprising, but I don't think anyone could have expected Kessel or Toews to be up there either. Michalek has five goals in his last five games. However, he only has one assist (and 11 goals) in his last 17 games.
  • Foligno also streaking: Nick Folgino has a five-game point streak with three goals and three assists for six points in that span. He also has 82 hits in 28 games this season or 2.93 hits/game. Last season he had 119 hits in 82 games or 1.45 a game. Thus, Foligno is hitting more than twice as much per game.
  • Devils special teams: The Devils penalty kill is very good (5 goals allowed, 94.7%) and the power play is pretty bad (13 goals scored, 13.7%). But consider the fact that they have allowed 7 shorthanded goals and scored 13 power plays goals and their power play looks even worse. On the other hand, they have allowed only 5 power play goals against but scored three shorthanded goals. Thus, their net power play is 6.3% and their net penalty kill is incredibly 97.9%.
Here are the 2011-2012 comparative statistics for the Senators and the Devils:

Category Ottawa Enemy - New Jersey
Value Rank Value Rank
Goals For per game 2.96 7th 2.31 27th
Goals Against per game 3.39 29th 2.81 17th
5 on 5 GF/GA ratio 0.89 22nd 0.76 26th
Shots for per game 30.4 12th 27.2 25th
Shots against per game 31.9 26th 27.6 3rd
Power play % 19.0 10th 13.7 25th
Penalty kill % 80.5 22nd 94.7 1st
Category Ottawa Enemy - New Jersey
Player Value Player Value
Points Jason Spezza 25 Patrik Elias 22
Goals Milan Michalek 17 Patrik Elias 9
Assists Erik Karlsson 22 Patrik Elias 13
PP Points Erik Karlsson 10 Patrik Elias 7
Shots Erik Karlsson 89 Zach Parise 92
Hits Nick Foligno 82 Ryan Carter 71
Avg. Ice time Erik Karlsson 25:20 Ilya Kovalchuk 24:55
Face-offs % Zenon Konopka 60.7 Brad Mills 57.3
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