Week Ahead: Dec 1 to 7

Of course I had to run with a picture of a former Senator this week... - Jeff Gross

It's an in-division week.

4 games, all against divisional rivals, and 3 of the 4 on the upside of wild card bubble.

Red Wings at Senators

Game 27, Sunday, December 1st, 5:30pm
TSN
Previous game
@Islanders, Friday, November 29th
Next game
Flyers, Wednesday, December 4th
Hot
Niklas Kronwall - 7P (2G, 5A) in last 5 GP
Cold
Stephen Weiss - 1P (1A) in last 15 GP

It's Daniel Alfredsson's return to Ottawa - which I'm not going to focus on here. Amelia L and Ryan Classic have both provided more on that topic than would fit well in this space.

Last time we faced the Red Wings, which wasn't that long ago, they were riding a rough stretch of 3-2-5 which the Senators pushed to 2-3-5. Since then though, Detroit has put together 3 wins in a row with 2 of them being rather dominant 5 goal margins.

Pavel Datsyuk hasn't played since the last time the Wings faced Ottawa, and isn't expected in the lineup for this one either. Todd Bertuzzi is out as well.

Senators at Panthers

Game 28, Tuesday, December 3rd, 7:30pm
Sportsnet East
Previous game
Penguins, Saturday, November 30th
Next game
Jets, Thursday, December 5th
Hot
Scottie Upshall - 7P (3G, 4A) in last 7 GP
Cold
Tomas Fleischmann - 0P in last 9 GP

The Panthers are a bit of a mess again this year. Third last in the league, they're also sporting the second worst goal differential and the third worst G/G. They aren't getting what they need at either end of the ice right now.

Tim Thomas is sporting a career low .903 SV%, and Scott Clemmensen has been even worse at .879. Special teams are dismal - the power play is last in the league, and the penalty kill is second last.

Scottie Upshall leads the team in points, but is only 129th in the league. He's also the only player on the Panthers with above a half a point per game pace.

Again though, the PDO in Florida is abysmally low, 92.6, indicating they're likely riding an unlucky streak that we can't necessarily count on continuing through Tuesday.

Captain Ed Jovanovski has been out all season due to hip surgery.

Senators at Lightning

Game 29, Thursday, December 5th, 7:30pm
Sportsnet Sens
Previous game
@Blue Jackets, Tuesday, December 3rd
Next game
Jets, Saturday, December 7th
Hot
Victor Hedman - 4P (2G, 2A) in last 3 GP
Cold
Sami Salo - 0P in last 17 GP

The Lightning have definitely been weakened by the loss of Steven Stamkos, but they're not exactly out. They've been 1 point below .500 since that injury (including the game it happened in).

The goaltending of former Senator Ben Bishop is a big part of what makes them still dangerous. His .931 SV% is somehow only 12th on the leader board though. Martin St. Louis has been a little cool in the past few games, but is still at almost a point per game and can never really be counted out.

Tampa does continue to have one of the best home records in the East. They're 10-3-0 overall, and 3-1 since the Stamkos injury.

The key injury, of course, is Steven Stamkos, who is out with a broken leg.

Maple Leafs at Senators

Game 30, Saturday, December 7th, 7pm
CBC
Previous game
Stars, Thursday, December 5th
Next game
Bruins, Sunday, December 8th
Hot
James van Riemsdyk - 4P (3G, 1A) in last 3 GP
Cold
Cody Franson - 1P (1A) in last 6 GP

The Maple Leafs might have a bit of a sinking feeling. 3-4-3 after a spectacular start to the season, the Leafs have been in a bit of a spiral lately. The once sky-high goaltending is crashing down to earth and is a .870 in their last 4 games between James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier combined, which does not go together well for them with their possession stats (2nd worst) or shots against (worst). Their shooting percentage is a solid 4th in all situations, but that is blunted a bit by their 28th place in shots per game. And let's not forget their complete and utter 3rd period collapse against Pittsburgh...

Special teams are a dichotomy for the Leafs, with the power play dangerous at 23.2%, and the penalty kill a liability at 78.6%.

Phil Kessel continues to have a strong season, despite a recently ended 8 game cold streak. His 14 goals put him 5th in the league. Consistency appears to be an issue though, with his points mostly coming in clusters or spaced out single games with numerous pointless games in between. David Clarkson continues to not live up to his contract.

Joffrey Lupul has missed 3 games and counting with a groin strain, but is expected back before Saturday. Dave Bolland is out indefinitely with a lacerated tendon.

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