Game 46 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Nashville Predators

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators on 11 January 2014.

Having seen their four game winning streak end after yet another blown lead in the third period, the Ottawa Senators will look to start another winning streak when they visit the Nashville Predators tonight. The Senators are currently 11th in the eastern conference, but can move level on points with the Detroit Red Wings for the last playoff spot with a win. Detroit plays in Los Angeles later tonight.

The Senators will make two changes with Matt Kassian and Eric Gryba sitting for Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Joe Corvo. Craig Anderson will start again. Here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent.

MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Smith - Spezza - Stone
Conacher - Zibanejad - Michalek
Greening - Pageau - Condra

Cowen - Karlsson
Methot - Ceci
Phillips - Corvo

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Some notes for tonight:

  • Eric Gryba sits for Joe Corvo while Patrick Wiercioch is a healthy scratch yet again. I am sure Paul MacLean has a reason for this, it is just unlikely to be one that makes sense.
  • With Jean-Gabriel Pageau drawing in, Zack Smith moves to the wing with Jason Spezza. This move could have the effect of relegating Mika Zibanejad to third line ice time.
  • Without counting empty net goals, the Senators have scored 17 goals and allowed 14 goals in the last five games. The maximum number of points possible with such a difference is nine points. They have nine points in those games, so they have been quite fortunate in that.
  • Jared Cowen has attracted some criticism this season, with many pointing to the fact that he is being carried by Erik Karlsson at the moment. While this is true, the same is also true of the player most would like with Karlsson: Marc Methot. Cowen has an on-ice 5-on-5 Corsi for percentage of 52.6% when paired with Karlsson and 47.9% without him. Methot has 52.8% with Karlsson and 46.7% without Karlsson. By this measure, Cowen and Methot have been identical.
  • The Senators have improved their power play minus penalty kill time differential to -17:56 which is 22nd in the league. While the Senators take a lot of penalties, they have spent 267:24 on the power play, the fifth most in the league. The 162 power plays they have received is also the fifth most. The 30 power play goals are the ninth most in the NHL.
  • Wednesday night was the fifth time Ottawa has lost a game that they led after two periods. Only Detroit and the New York Islanders have more with six each. The Senators have also lost eight times when leading after the first period, tied with the Devils for the most. This team isn't good at playing with a lead it seems.
  • With the Leafs apparently in free fall, the Red Wings could soon join them. Detroit's next six games are Los Angeles, Anaheim, New York Rangers, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Chicago. Ottawa could be in a playoff spot very soon if they keep getting points.
  • Bobby Ryan has had more than one shot in only one of his last five games.
  • Clarke MacArthur now has a goal in four straight games starting with the great gift of Erik. He is only three goals behind Ryan for the team lead.
  • Erik Karlsson has 133 points in 143 games since the start of 2011-2012 season.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Nashville
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 18 Craig Smith 13
Assists Erik Karlsson 31 David Legwand 21
Points Erik Karlsson 41 Shea Weber 29
Shots Erik Karlsson 139 Patric Hornqvist 134
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:18 Shea Weber 26:40

Category Ottawa Nashville
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.84 10th 2.40 25th
Goals Against 3.11 27th 2.91 20th
Corsi Close % 50.7% 13th 48.5% 23rd
Fenwick Close % 49.5% 17th 49.8% 16th
Shots For 33.1 3rd 29.3 21st
Shots Against 34.0 27th 29.6 15th
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