The captain has been one of Ottawa's best players recently. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
As the Ottawa Senators get ready to host the New York Islanders tonight, it is worth looking at Ottawa's record against the 'weaker' teams. Thanks to the overtime loss point, there are eight clubs in the NHL currently under a point a game. The Senators are 2-0 against Tampa Bay, 3-1-1 against Buffalo, 1-2 against Montréal, 2-0-1 against Carolina, 0-1 against Anaheim, 1-0 against Edmonton and 1-0 against Columbus. That is a combined record of 10-4-2 against these clubs, with tonight's game the first of four against the Islanders. Of course these teams might have been better at the time of the game, and other teams not on this list might have been worse, but this does paint a picture of how the Senators have performed against teams that have had a poor season overall.
The Senators have 12 more games left against these teams with 4 against the Islanders, 3 against Montréal, 2 against Tampa Bay, 1 each against Buffalo, Carolina and Edmonton. Making the playoffs does not require a team to beat the good teams regularly, but an average team beating up on the lower teams definitely helps the cause.
I don't want to call a game in early February a must-win game, but with Ottawa currently on a four-game losing streak, a loss to the Islanders at home could be demoralising.
Here are today's links:
- Everyone predicts a win tonight, Peter said the Sens win 6-1. (Senators Extra)
- Jason Spezza didn't practise today so Turris skated on both of the top lines. 1) Michalek-Turris-Condra, 2) Foligno-Turris-Alfredsson, 3) Greening-Smith-Neil, 4) Daugavins-Konopka-Butler. (Sylvain St-Laurent)
- Spezza will play though, he just took a maintenance day after being sore yesterday. (Wayne Scanlan)
- The defence is unchanged, 1) Kuba-Karlsson, 2) Cowen-Gonchar, 3) Phillips-Carkner. (Sylvain St-Laurent)
- Craig Anderson will start again and Evgeni Nabokov will play for the Islanders. (Ottawa Senators)
- The gap is quickly closing behind Ottawa, but Daniel Alfredsson isn't too worried. With a nice homestand coming up, the Senators can open up another gap if they play as they are capable of playing. (Senators Extra)
- Craig Anderson is apparently less willing to speak to the media right now, look where that got Brian Elliott last year. (Ottawa Sun)
- Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek have zero goals and a combined one assist during the four game losing streak. Michalek has just two assists and no goals in his last eight games. (Ottawa Sun)
- Andre Petersson was named AHL rookie of the month for January after putting up 15 points. He also got to make his NHL debut. (Press & Sun-Bulletin)
- Binghamton has closed the gap for the last playoff spot to only five points but are still last in the conference with more games played than those ahead of them. (Press & Sun-Bulletin)
- Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist in Brynas' 4-1 win yesterday. He's up to a point a game now with 38 points in 38 games. He's also fourth in the Elitserien in points and second in terms of points per game. His decision to go back is certainly looking like a good one so far. (Hockey Ligan)