Week Ahead: Dec 8 to 14

More of this, please - Drew Hallowell

It's the "time to start a miracle" week for the Sens

4 games again this week, but only 3 opponents, and the chance to improve Ottawa's odds of making the playoffs to "long shot" instead of "start praying".

Flyers at Senators

Game 31, Monday, December 9th, 7:30pm
Sportsnet East
Previous game
@Stars, Saturday, December 7th
Next game
@Blackhawks, Wednesday, December 11th
Hot
Sean Couturier - 6P (4G, 2A) in last 5 GP
Cold
Jakub Voracek - 0P in last 7 GP

The Flyers definitely have turned things around since their dismal start to the season. In their first 15 games, they were 4-10-1. In their last 14, they're 9-4-1.

Steve Mason continues to play extremely well, with the game in Dallas being his only game below .900 in his last 11 starts, and a .933 SV% in his last 10.

Their power play has been an issue, running at a season average of 16.5%. Their recent stretch of 17.6% in their last 5 games seems like an improvement - but it's skewed by going 3 for 3 against Detroit, and nothing in the other 4 games. Their penalty kill is trending upwards too - they're 24 for 25 on the kill, oddly with the only unsuccessful kill also being against Detroit.

Scoring continues to be an issue - they've scored 2 goals or less in 4 of the last 5 games with, you guessed it, Detroit being the exception. Of course, scoring continued to be an issue for them going in to the last two games against Ottawa, and we know how those ended.

Vincent Lecavalier has missed 4 games with a back injury. The team said it was possible he would be in the lineup Monday, but not probable.

Senators at Sabres

Game 32, Tuesday, December 10th, 7pm
Sportsnet East
Previous game
@Canadiens, Saturday, December 7th
Next game
@Senators, Thursday, December 12th
Hot
Tyler Ennis - 3P (2G, 1A) in last 2 GP
Cold
Drew Stafford - 0P in last 4 GP

Oh, Sabres...

Their power play is bad. Their penalty kill is bad. Their shots per game is bad. Their shots against per game is bad. Their goals against per game is bad. Their goals per game is really bad. Team shooting percentage? That's bad too. The team save percentage is... well, this one isn't quite bad, but still qualifies as "not so good".

Ryan Miller is posting a SV% that's actually marginally above his career numbers, which is about the only real positive thing to say about individual performances this season. As an example, Vanek is still tied for 4th in team points for the season.

Never mind .500, this is a team that has a P% of under .250. So what I'm saying is that the Sabres are bad. Really, really bad. There are no real "gimmes" in the NHL but this is the closest we're going to see this season, short of a Pro-Line moment.

Sabres at Senators

Game 33, Thursday, December 12th, 7:30pm
Sportsnet Sens
Previous game
Senators, Tuesday, December 10th
Next game
Flames, Saturday, December 14th
Hot
Tyler Ennis - 3P (2G, 1A) in last 2 GP
Cold
Drew Stafford - 0P in last 4 GP

Not much to say here except that even though half their points have come on the road, their possession numbers are even worse on the road than they are at home.

Buffalo doesn't have the benefit of Ottawa being in a back-to-back situation with this game, though.

Kings at Senators

Game 34, Saturday, December 7th, 2pm
Sportsnet East
Previous game
@Maple Leafs, Wednesday, December 11th
Next game
@Blackhawks, Sunday, December 15th
Hot
Ben Scrivens - 0.947 SV% in last 10 GP
Cold
Slava Voynov - 0P in last 5 GP

Like the Flyers, the Kings have a pretty bad power play (ranked 23rd) but a pretty good penalty kill (ranked 5th). This pretty much falls in line with their goals per game (20th) and goals against per game (3rd) as well. The goals against makes sense with the low number of shots against they allow, but their team shooting percentage is 26th at 5 on 5 and 24th in all situations.

Anze Kopitar leads the team in scoring, but his 25 points in 30 games is a slower year than usual for him. Mike Richards and Justin Williams round out the top 3 in team scoring. Both are producing at slightly above their career point paces, but well below their career highs.

The play of Ben Scrivens makes you almost hope that Jonathan Quick will be back from injury by Saturday, but he isn't expected back until Christmas at the soonest.

The Kings have had a whopping 12 of 29 games go to extra time. That's a whole lot of loser points being handed out.

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