The Ottawa Senators will attempt to move within four points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the final playoff spot when they visit the Buffalo Sabres tonight. The Senators have played well, outshooting and carrying the play for the majority of the last seven games. Unfortunately they have gone only 3-3-1 in that stretch. They need to start converting good play into wins though.
There will be only one change to the lineup with Robin Lehner getting the start. Here are the lines based on the distributions in last night's third period:
MacArthur - Spezza - Ryan
Michalek - Turris - Zibanejad
Conacher - Zibanejad - Condra
Greening - Smith - Neil
Méthot - Karlsson
Phillips - Corvo
Cowen - Wiercioch
Some notes for tonight:
- Ottawa is six points behind Toronto and seven points behind Tampa Bay. The Senators play Buffalo twice while the Leafs play Los Angeles and St. Louis. Tampa Bay plays Washington and Detroit. How close will Ottawa be by the end of Thursday?
- Robin Lehner didn't allow a goal on more than 10% of his shots all season before doing it in his last two games. None of the goals were particularly bad, but the club needs him to stop more shots. For the most part he has vastly outplayed Craig Anderson. The opposition is scoring on 10.5% of the shots against Anderson and 7% against Lehner. In other words, a shot is 50% more likely to go in against Anderson than Lehner so far.
- The Senators strong play has seen them inch towards equality in the shots differential stats. A weak eastern conference gives the club some undeserved hope.
- Hopefully the team can score the first goal tonight. This hasn't happened since the loss to Vancouver.
- Buffalo is really bad at ice hockeying.
Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.
|Goals||Bobby Ryan||14||Cody Hodgson||8|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson||21||Cody Hodgson||10|
|Points||Erik Karlsson||29||Cody Hodgson||18|
|Shots||Erik Karlsson||94||Cody Hodgson||72|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||27:54||Christian Ehrhoff||24:00|
|Corsi Close %||49.8%||15th||40.4%||30th|
|Fenwick Close %||48.6%||20th||39.5%||30th|