The Ottawa Senators look to avoid a fifth consecutive loss when they host the Dallas Stars this afternoon at 1:00. The Senators have blown 4-2 leads in consecutive games and allowed a club record 57 shots in the loss to the Islanders on Friday. Ottawa called up Mark Borowiecki to play while Craig Anderson will return to the net. Erik Condra is out with a leg injury and he will be replaced by either Matt Kassian or a seventh defenceman.
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Conacher - Spezza - Neil
Michalek - Z. Smith - Zibanejad
Greening - Grant - Kassian
Cowen - Karlsson
Phillips - Methot
Borowiecki - Gryba
Wiercioch - Corvo
Whitney - Seguin - Chiasson
Benn - Eakin - Nichushkin
Rouseel - Fiddler - Peverley
Garbutt - Horcoff - Cole
Dillon - Robidas
Daley - Gonchar
Goligoski - Benn
Some notes for tonight:
- Tonight will be the third consecutive game that Erik Karlsson (and everyone else) plays with a different defensive partner. Paul MacLean just seems to be trying anything at the moment.
- Having said that, I don't think the defensive pairings are a bad idea. MacLean probably realises he has two top four defencemen on the team right now and he was playing them on the same pairing for most of the season. Hopefully this combination works out better.
- Sergei Gonchar will play his first game back in Ottawa. Given the Senators recent struggles, there have been a few comments on whether the team misses Gonchar. While I would agree he was an important player last year, he has 1 point in 13 games this year and is #6 in ice time by defencemen. Ottawa was right to not match that offer.
- Craig Anderson's save percentage has dropped to 91.1% after allowing 11 goals on 69 shots in the past two games. He ranks 24th out of 41 goalies with enough games to qualify for the leaderboard. Ottawa needs a strong game from him today.
- On even strength against the Islanders,
Zack SmithZ. Smith had the most ice time by centres, followed by Kyle Turris and then Jason Spezza was almost a full four minutes behind Smith. Makes one wonder just how unhappy MacLean is with Spezza's defensive struggles.
- Only Spezza and Bobby Ryan have more goals than Mika Zibanejad. He's had a pretty decent return to the club hasn't he?
- Lost in all the defensive struggles are how well the Senators are doing offensively. They are fifth in the NHL in shots per game and are also scoring three goals a game. Still, one way the forwards can help out defensively is by sustaining even more offensive pressure. Ottawa has always been a high event team under Paul MacLean.
- The Senators appear to have a lot of missed shots as well as shots blocked. The Senators get 51.2% of all attempted shots, but that number drops to 48.4% if blocked shots are removed. If missed shots are also removed it drops even further to 44.9%.
- After tonight, Ottawa will visit Columbus before five consecutive games at home. I can't see the club's struggles lasting past those run of home games before a trade is made.
- Ottawa has seen its attendance drop in each game. The home opener against New Jersey drew 18,867, followed by 18,623 against Edmonton, 17,590 against the Ducks, 17,145 against the Sharks and ending with 15,589 against the Islanders. Given the team's and/or owner's financial problems, this makes righting the ship very quickly even more important.
Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight (rankings may not include all games from last night).
|Goals||Jason Spezza||7||Tyler Seguin||6|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson||10||Jamie Benn||9|
|Points||Erik Karlsson||13||Tyler Seguin||14|
|Shots||Kyle Turris||40||Alex Chiasson||44|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||27:18||Alex Goligoski||20:33|
|Corsi Close %||51.2%||13th||51.8%||12th|
|Fenwick Close %||48.4%||20th||51.7%||10th|