Game 26 preview: Vancouver Canucks @ Ottawa Senators

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks on 28 November 2013.

After a 2-1 road trip, the Ottawa Senators will return home tonight to host the Vancouver Canucks. Having won only 10 of their first 25 games, the Senators currently sit six point out of a playoff spot. The Canucks are also struggling with 12 wins in 26 games, and they are 5 points out of the last playoff spot in the west.

After struggling pretty much from the start of the season with little improvement, Jared Cowen will finally be a healthy scratch. Patrick Wiercioch will also sit tonight and Craig Anderson will surprisingly start for the second consecutive night.

Here are the lines for tonight:

Ottawa

MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Michalek - Spezza - Zibanejad
Greening - Smith - Neil
Conacher - Grant - Condra

Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Corvo
Borowiecki - Gryba

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Some talking points for tonight:

  • The Senators have 1 win in 10 games against the western conference. That's the second worst record against the west in the NHL after Edmonton.
  • Ottawa is 7th in the NHL in goals. At least that isn't a problem.
  • Craig Anderson meanwhile has been under 88% in six of his last eight games and under 90% in eight of his 16 games. Robin Lehner by contrast has yet to have a single game under 90%. After another mediocre game, Anderson surprisingly gets the start in a back-to-back. Anderson's struggles have only compounded the struggles of the defence so far this season.
  • Erik Karlsson is pretty far ahead of other defencemen in offensive stats, so let's look at his totals among all players. He's tied for ninth in points and fifth in assists. A big night could see him move into the top 5 in the NHL in scoring. He's also second in the NHL in total ice time, even strength ice time and power play ice time.
  • Bobby Ryan is also among the leaders, ranking fifth in the league in goals, 14th in points and 7th in even strength points.
  • Patrick Wiercioch can't seem to stay in the lineup for long, but he's seventh on the team in scoring in just 17 games.
  • We finally get to see this team without Jared Cowen. While he isn't the only problem with this team, I do think he is the biggest problem with the team.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Vancouver
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 13 Ryan Kesler 10
Assists Erik Karlsson 19 Henrik Sedin 18
Points Erik Karlsson 26 Henrik Sedin 25
Shots Erik Karlsson 72 Ryan Kelser 98
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:51 Alexander Edler 24:29

Category Ottawa Vancouver
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.96 7th 2.54 19th
Goals Against 3.12 25th 2.50 12th
Corsi Close % 47.9% 22nd 53.3% 6th
Fenwick Close % 46.8% 24th 53.9% 6th
Shots For 31.7 7th 33.0 3rd
Shots Against 35.7 28th 27.2 7th
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