The Sens hit the half-way mark this week, and meet the last 2 teams in the East we haven't seen yet. We start the week against the current top 2 teams in the East (before divisional seeding), and end with a back-to-back against a pair of sub-.500 teams.
Game 20 - Canadiens at Senators
The 3rd meeting of the season with the surprising Canadiens. Montreal has a pair of defensemen that make top 10 for points in Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz. P.K. Subban is putting up points at a fast enough pace that he'd probably be ahead of Markov if he'd been in the lineup all season. And the three of them are spread across all 3 pairings right now.
They're getting solid performance out of the forwards, too. Max Pacioretty has been putting up a point per game, Tomas Plekanec leads the team in goals, the rookies Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher (though Gallagher is still out with a concussion) are both near the top of the rookie scoring. Rene Bourque and David Desharnais both have a respectable 10 points. They're a team playing far above the pre-season expectations for them.
As always, Carey Price is a concern. Don't let his 13th among SV% Leaders and 12th among GAA leaders fool you.
Game 21 - Senators at Bruins
The Bruins are not the performing quite like the perennial powerhouse they've been in the past few years, but they're still firmly in the hunt for both the division and conference, with several games in hand.
Their PK leads the league, 3rd behind Ottawa in shots per game, and 5th in shots against per game. Only their PP is really lagging, at 23rd.
Brad Marchand is 6th in the league for goals per game, and leads the league for shooting percentage with an absurd 34.6% (though only 1.9 shots per game). Tuukka Rask is doing well, but isn't Tim Thomas - he has put in quite a few good performances this year, but has shown his youth in a handful of stinkers as well.
Game 22 - Senators at Flyers
The Flyers have improved from their dismal 3-7-0 start but are still below .500 going into the week, and with more games played than any other team in the East.
Jakub Voracek is the main man to watch, with 4 goals and 8 assists in the last 5 games. Though Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds aren't to be ignored either, all in the area of .90 points per game. Danny Briere is relatively lagging at .69 P/G, but that's still better than the best non-injured performance on the Senators (Turris at 0.63 P/G).
Ilya Bryzgalov has pretty ugly numbers so far this season, 29th in SV% and 26th in GAA. But he's the only Flyers goalie to actually register a win this season.
Game 23 - Senators at Islanders
The Islanders bounced back nicely from the back-to-back losses to Philly and Ottawa, posting wins against Montreal and Buffalo. But then when they were back at home they blew the lead, and a shot at 8th, against Carolina. They're dismal at home, with a 2-7-0 record.