Tonight is the much-anticipated battle of the sixth-place teams, as the Ottawa Senators (sixth in the East) take on the Chicago Blackhawks (sixth in the West). It's also the battle of fiery goaltenders drafted by the Ottawa Senators, as Robin Lehner will make his third straight start against Masterton Trophy front-runner (at least in my opinion) Ray Emery.
No changes in the Senators lineup, so things will look like this (at least to start):
After the jump, projected lines for the Blackhawks and some storylines for tonight.
The Blackhawks line combos might look something like what dailyfaceoff projects:
- #Lehnsanity: The hype surrounding Robin Lehner right now is second only to that surrounding Erik Karlsson right now. Shutting out the Boston Bruins will do that. But can Lehner put in another amazing performance tonight, or will he fall back to earth?
- Playoff position: The Sens are currently in sixth place in the East, a point up on the New Jersey Devils and a point behind the Philadelphia Flyers--and just three behind the Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins. Can Ottawa maintain their current position--which would lead to a potentially friendly matchup against the Southeast Division winner--or will they move up or down? Stretch run games like this one will determine what happens.
- Rayzor's return: It's Ray Emery's first game in Ottawa since he was bought out by the Sens. The team's actually still paying him this year; $562,500, to be exact. How will Rayzor do tonight?
- We're going streaking: Spezza is on a ridiculous 10-game point streak (8G, 13A), and Karlsson is hoping to extend an eight-gamer of his own (7G, 11A). On the other hand, Erik Condra is hoping to end his ridiculously-egregious-open-net-miss streak at one game.