Week Ahead: Nov 24 to 30

I bet you can't look at this picture and NOT hear Yakety Sax in the back of your mind - Ben Nelms

3 games, all part of back to backs

This week we visit pair of teams that are also flirting with the playoff bubble in the East, and host a Western team that isn't tearing up the standings for once.

Senators at Hurricanes

Game 24, Sunday, November 24th, 5pm
Sportsnet Sens
Previous game
@Bruins, Saturday, November 23rd
Next game
@Devils, Tuesday, November 26th
Hot
Eric Staal - 5P (2G, 3A) in last 5 GP
Cold
Jordan Staal - 1P (1A) in last 5 GP

This is definitely an important game - the Hurricanes are 1 point behind the Senators in the hunt for the wild card spot. There's still plenty of hockey left in the season, but putting some extra space in wherever you can is important. The Canes themselves are helping with that, with only 1 point in their last 4 games.

Special teams haven't been good in Carolina. The PP is 4th last in the league at 12.8%, and the PK isn't much better at 9th last and 79.5%. At even strength, their possession numbers are almost as bad as Ottawa's.

Jeff Skinner has 1 point in his first 2 games after missing 11 games to injury, and is likely eager to maintain his almost point per game pace.

Cam Ward has been okay in his 2 games back from injury, but with the back to back situation we might see Justin Peters who had decent play while Ward was out.

Alexander Semin is out with a concussion.

Senators at Capitals

Game 25, Wednesday, November 27th, 7pm
TSN2
Previous game
@Maple Leafs, Saturday, November 23rd
Next game
Canadiens, Friday, November 29th
Hot
Alex Ovechkin - 7P (7G) in last 6 GP
Cold
Brooks Laich - 0P in last 4 GP

Penalty trouble is going to hurt in this one. The Capitals are running the 3rd most successful power play unit in the league, running along at 23.4%. The penalty kill has been strong too, the 85% success rate good for 7th overall.

Ovi gonna Ovi, and at almost a goal per game pace he's leading the league in goals. His 7 assists put his point total at 2nd in the league behind Crosby. Nicklas Backstrom is doing his usual thing too and is 3rd in the league for assists. Marcus Johansson rounds out the line, and is also racking up the assists - currently tied for 12th.

They've got some woes with the second line though. Troy Brouwer, Brooks Laich and (insert plug here) have been dismal together, with barely any even strength goals as a unit.

Canucks at Senators

Game 26, Thursday, November 28th, 7:30pm
Sportsnet Sens
Previous game
Kings, Monday, November 25th
Next game
@Rangers, Saturday, November 30th
Hot
Daniel Sedin - 4P (1G, 3A) in last 2 GP
Cold
Alexandre Burrows - 0P in last 4 GP

So we've had one opponent this week with bad special teams so far, and the other with good special teams. Well, the Canucks split the difference. The power play is even worse than Carolina's at 11.5%, but the penalty kill leads the league at 89.2%.

This goes along with the general offensive woes that Vancouver has been having lately. In their past 7 games, they've had 5 games with only 1 goal for. Their only win in that stretch came from the 6 goal blowout against Columbus. Despite the general lack of scoring, they have been playing a solid possession game and are posting a solid 53.6% Fenwick at 5 on 5.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin, as usual, lead the team in points with 24 and 21 points respectively.

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