It's a busy week with 4 games on the schedule, fortunately only 1 back to back set. It could be a long week though...
Game 16 - Senators at Devils
The Devils have had a day to stew after their 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Islanders on Saturday, and will be looking to use the injury-riddled Senators as a bounce-back team and retake the Division and Conference lead from Pittsburgh.
Jersey is one of the stingiest teams in the league, their 2.33 GAA good for 7th best. Just the thing our recent lack of scoring needs, right? Martin Brodeur is Martin Brodeur. He's pushing 41 and some nights it shows - but don't count on it. The Sens power play might get a few more opportunities to get things going - New Jersey takes the 6th highest number of minors per game, has the 5th highest time on the penalty kill, and has a less than good PK sitting at 80%.
Ben Bishop gets the start. Could be a rough go - New Jersey is 3.38 G/G at home. That's the 2nd best home scoring pace in the league behind Tampa.
Game 17 - Islanders at Senators
This game is the 2nd half of a back-to-back for both teams, though the Islanders have a decidedly easier match-up against Philly tomorrow afternoon. Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro split the only back-to-back the Islanders have had so far, so the Sens might have the opportunity to make another backup goalie look good (despite his being lit up big time in both games he's played so far this season).
The Islanders are 7th in goals per game, so it might be up to Andy to keep the team in the game. John Tavares is the main man to watch, being 2nd in the league for goals and 5th in points. The Sens also need to stay out of the box - the Isles are rocking a 27.6% PP, 2nd in the league and best in the East.
Game 18 - Rangers at Senators
The Rangers may have started the season weak going 3-4-0 in January, but they have certainly recovered since then with a 5-1-1 record so far in February. Rick Nash is riding a 4 game point streak going into this week, and Henrik Lundqvist has remembered how to be Henrik Lundqvist after a rough start.
Their biggest weakness is their PP, which is last in the league at 11.3%. Past that, they're playing like the team that finished last season at the top of the Conference - a tough team to play against.
Game 19 - Maple Leafs at Senators
Not much to say about this one, since I'm writing this with the Maple Leafs being the last game played. James Reimer might be back - the official word was 1 week minimum, though most people seem to be expecting at least 2 weeks. At least the Sens should be a little healthier by then with Michalek back in the lineup, for all he's managed to do since Spezza went down.