Game 29 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Tampa Bay Lightning

USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning on 5 December 2013.

Light(ning) a mup, light(ning) a mup! Am I doing this right!? *ahem* Moving on then...

The Ottawa Senators will try to win consecutive games for the first time in almost a month when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. After winning three games in a row between 5 November and 9 November, the Senators have gone 4-7-0. The only other winning streak was one of two games between 15 and 17 October.

The Senators will start their #1 backup goaltender tonight with Robin Lehner back in action. Meanwhile Eric Gryba will be a healthy scratch and Patrick Wiercioch will return to the lineup.

Here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent.

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

Méthot - Karlsson
Phillips - Corvo
Cowen - Wiercioch

Lehner (starter)
Anderson

Some notes for tonight:

  • I actually like what MacLean has done with the lines. There are three dangerous and there is a player on each of the top three lines that is excellent at possession (Kyle Turris, Clarke MacArthur and Mika Zibanejad).
  • It appears Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba will continue to oscillate in and out of the lineup while Jared Cowen will play the majority of the games. For better or worse, Cowen is going to be here for a while with that contract. I suppose one can only hope that he gets better.
  • Here are the defencemen's without Karlsson Corsi For %: 1) Gryba 52.9%, 2) Corvo 51.0%, 3) Phillips 49.9%, 4) Wiercioch 49.2%, 5) Cowen 45.4%, 6) Méthot 44.8%. Eric Gryba is doing this in very hard minutes. He is getting far too many undeserved scratches from Paul MacLean.
  • Robin Lehner is coming off his first sub-90% game of the season. While he didn't play particularly bad, it would have been nice to get one more save from him. The Lightning have been shutout out in consecutive games and in three of their last five games. They have had only 47 shots in those last two shutout losses. Ottawa had 45 against Florida and have the fourth most in the NHL.
  • Bobby Ryan has closed to within a point of team hero and good guy Erik Karlsson for the team scoring lead. We need a big game from Karlsson.
  • Ottawa is seven points behind Tampa Bay and five points behind Toronto for the two wild card spots. The Senators play Toronto on Saturday.
  • Ben Bishop has had quite the season for Tampa Bay with a save percentage of 93.2 so far this season. That trade is looking pretty great for the Lightning isn't it?

My prediction: Ottawa wins 4-1. The defence plays good, Lehner is solid and Karlsson dedicates a goal to yours truly.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Tampa Bay
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 14 Steven Stamkos 14
Assists Erik Karlsson 20 Martin St. Louis 14
Points Erik Karlsson 27 Martin St. Louis 24
Shots Jason Spezza 84 Martin St. Louis 65
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:48 Victor Hedman 21:54

Category Ottawa Tampa Bay
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.93 8th 2.70 13th
Goals Against 3.18 26th 2.48 11th
Corsi Close % 49.0% 20th 50.2% 13th
Fenwick Close % 47.7% 24th 49.7% 15th
Shots For 32.5 4th 27.9 25th
Shots Against 34.8 27th 29.1 11th
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