After winning just four out of 12 games in October, the Ottawa Senators hope an easier schedule in November results in more wins. They start the month by hosting the New York Islanders tonight. The Senators will be icing mostly the same skaters (Eric Gryba returns) as the ones that lost 6-5 in Chicago, but the combinations are very different. Robin Lehner will get the start.
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Conacher - Spezza - Neil
Michalek - Smith - Zibanejad
Greening - Grant - Condra
Phillips - Karlsson
Wiercioch - Methot
Cowen - Gryba
Vanek - Tavares - Okposo
Bouchard - Nielsen - Bailey
Grabner - Regin - Clutterbuck
Martin - Cizikas - Nelson
Donovan - Martinek
MacDonald - Hamonic
Hickey - Carkner
Some notes for tonight:
- After returning Bobby Ryan to Jason Spezza's line for one game, Paul MacLean chose to reunite Ryan with Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris. They have been by far Ottawa's best line so far this season.
- Spezza meanwhile has Cory Conacher and Chris Neil on his wings. How long will this last? If it does last the entire game, what kind of ice time and usage can we expect from such a line?
- On defence MacLean moved Chris Phillips onto the top pairing with Erik Karlsson while Marc Methot moves down to the second pairing with Patrick Wiercioch. This seems to make sense to me. Karlsson can really carry anyone on the first pairing and this should result in a more reliable second pairing.
- This also means Wiercioch will move back to the left side while Methot will have to adjust to playing on the right side. I don't know what is the last time he did that. Certainly not in Ottawa.
- Craig Anderson will get the night off after allowing 11 goals on 69 shots in his last two games. Anderson's save percentage has been under 88% in four out of the 10 games he has played. Robin Lehner has played three games and has saved 94% of the shots faced.
- Despite playing only three games, Robin Lehner has made only three fewer shorthanded saves than Anderson. Lehner has stopped an incredible 37 of 38 shorthanded shots while Anderson has stopped 40 out of 48. Hopefully the club can stop taking so many penalties in front of Lehner.
- Ottawa is in the tougher of the two eastern divisions and is already six points out of a playoff spot. They are going to have to right the ship relatively soon before that gap starts getting bigger. The Senators are 10 points behind the division leading Toronto Maple Leafs.
- If Ottawa allows 24 shots or less tonight they will finally move out of last place in most shots allowed per game. The Maple Leafs are 29th at the moment.
Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.
|Goals||Jason Spezza||7||Frans Nielsen||7|
|Assists||Kyle Turris||9||John Tavares||9|
|Points||Jason Spezza||12||Frans Nielsen||15|
|Shots||Erik Karlsson||36||John Tavares||35|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||27:40||Andrew MacDonald||26:43|
|Corsi Close %||52.4%||10th||47.9%||20th|
|Fenwick Close %||50.0%||17th||46.5%||23rd|