Coming off a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, the Ottawa Senators will look to return to winning ways when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 2:00 p.m. today. Ottawa led 1-0 until late in the second period, and had their chances to extend the lead but could not capitalise. A similar effort should suffice against a weaker opponent.
Marc Methot will return to the lineup and it is possible that Sergei Gonchar will also be ready to play. Robin Lehner will once against get the start in net, his sixth in eight games. Here are the expected lines if Gonchar returns (I am guessing Mike Lundin will sit).
Greening - Turris - Silfverberg
Latendresse - Zibanejad - Alfredsson
Daugavins - Smith - Neil
Kassian - Regin - Condra
Gonchar - Wiercioch
Methot - Gryba
Phillips - Benoit
Here are some notes for today:
- Robin Lehner's 93.1% save percentage was the lowest in any of Lehner's seven appearance this year. By contrast, Ben Bishop has been under 93.1% in six of his ten appearances and under 90% in four of them. Bishop has been good overall, but there is no question about who is the better goaltender at the moment.
- Sergei Gonchar has an assist in nine consecutive games, giving him 21 points in 28 games for the season or 0.75/game. Erik Karlsson had 0.71 points/game this season.
- Chris Neil's streak without a goal has now reached 21 games.
- Ottawa has a run of four very winnable home games coming up. After today, the Senators host the Devils, Rangers and Maple Leafs and should be the favourite in all four games.
- The Lightning are coming off a 4-2 loss in Toronto and sit five points out of the last playoff spot.
- The Senators have been on the penalty kill for 48:59 more than they have been on the power play, which is the second worst difference in the league. Despite this, Ottawa has outscored the opposition 21-13 on special teams. That's pretty incredible.