Game 36 preview: Ottawa Senators @ New Jersey Devils

The Lehner is running wild. - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils on 18 December 2013.

The Ottawa Senators will try once again to win consecutive games for the first time since 9 November when they visit the New Jersey Devils. After seeing that winning streak end at three games, Ottawa lost in the next six games following a win as well. Will the eighth time be the charm?

The Senators will start Robin Lehner (the second greatest goaltender in NHL history) while Eric Gryba and Marc Methot will be the healthy scratches. Here are the lines and pairings:

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

Cowen - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Wiercioch - Corvo

Lehner (starter)
Anderson

Some notes for tonight:

  • A couple of journalists have noted that Marc Methot was being considered for the Olympics and now he is a healthy scratch. Paul MacLean's explanation is that he doesn't want to change a winning lineup. He never does that right!? Still, as far as MacLean's decisions go, I think he's made stranger ones so it isn't that big a deal with a back-to-back coming up.
  • Robin Lehner is good at goaltending. Martin Brodeur is not. Unless the Devils significantly outplay the Senators, I like the chances of an Ottawa victory tonight.
  • Despite the Devils dressing Cam Janssen, Paul MacLean resisted the urge to play our face-puncher. Combine that with the starting goalie, the top six forwards and no one good playing with Zack Smith and Chris Neil and I am just in a I love Paul MacLean kind of mood.
  • The Senators can move to within a point of the Leafs of a playoff spot with a win tonight. It's been a long road to recovery, but there is daylight.
  • Ottawa has lead after the second period in only eight of their 14 wins.
  • While the team is now second in the NHL in shots per game, they are a full three shots per game behind the first place San Jose Sharks. #2 isn't so bad though is it?
  • The Kings, Blues, Devils have been the Senators last three opponents and rank 5th, 2nd and 1st in shots allowed respectively.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa New Jersey
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 16 Jaromir Jagr 11
Assists Erik Karlsson 22 Jaromir Jagr 17
Points Bobby Ryan 32 Jaromir Jagr 28
Shots Erik Karlsson 109 Jaromir Jagr 80
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:42 Andy Greene 24:48

Category Ottawa New Jersey
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.80 9th 2.29 24th
Goals Against 3.09 27th 2.35 9th
Corsi Close % 50.6% 14th 53.8% 5th
Fenwick Close % 49.2% 19th 52.8% 8th
Shots For 33.3 2nd 25.4 30th
Shots Against 34.1 27th 24.5 1st
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