Game 49 preview: New York Rangers @ Ottawa Senators

USA Today Sports

A preview of the game between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators on 18 January 2014.

The Ottawa Senators saw their winning streak end at two games after yet another blown lead in the third period but they will look to extend their points streak to nine games when they host the New York Rangers this afternoon. With a win, the Senators will pass the Washington Capitals for the last playoff spot as well as pulling ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the standings due to the tiebreaker. A regulation win would also put the Senators ahead of the Rangers.

The Senators will make only one change with Chris Neil finally returning to the lineup. Erik Karlsson might lead the team in points, but I think there is no doubt Chris Neil is the player the club missed the most. He is a true legend.

Here are the likely lines:

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

Cowen - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Methot - Gryba

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Some notes for today:

  • Playoffs! (spot with a win)
  • Erik Karlsson is on pace for 79 points and has a 53.6% 5-on-5 Corsi. He had 78 points and a 54.9% Corsi in 2011-2012 in his Norris winning season. He's getting up there. I don't expect him to get a nomination though due to his -11 which is largely the fault of goaltending rather than Karlsson.
  • Speaking of Karlsson, no defenceman in the entire league is on the ice for fewer shorthanded shot attempts per 20 minutes than Karlsson. Small sample, but not bad for a player that some claim should be playing forward eh?
  • Is there any doubt who the #1 centre on this team is? Kyle Turris is on pace for 63 points while playing remarkable defensively. What's great about Turris is that he has played roughly half of his ice time away from Karlsson. I ask the question, when you have an elite offensive player like Karlsson that most teams do not have, is it necessarily a big problem to not have an elite offensive centre?
  • Karlsson has had a 56% 5-on-5 Corsi since the start of December. That's 22 games. Maybe this section should be called "Notes about Erik Karlsson".
  • Marc Methot has dropped to 15 minutes of ice time in the last two games. His pairing with Eric Gryba was pretty terrible against the Canadiens. My guess is that this pairing will be at the bottom in ice time again.
  • Ottawa's 2nd in the eastern conference in goals and third in goals per game. Scoring has never been their problem.
  • The Senators play seven of their next eight on the road after today.
  • According to Amelia, we are going to win this game and Erik Karlsson will have a hat trick.
  • Ottawa has only won 12 out of the 21 games that Craig Anderson started and Ottawa scored three ore more goals in going 12-2-7. They have won six out of the seven games when scoring three or more for Robin Lehner going 6-0-1.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa New York
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 19 Brad Richards 12
Assists Erik Karlsson 35 Brad Richards 23
Points Erik Karlsson 46 Brad Richards 35
Shots Erik Karlsson 146 Brad Richards 158
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:14 Ryan McDonagh 24:44

Category Ottawa New York
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.83 8th 2.39 23rd
Goals Against 3.04 27th 2.53 13th
Corsi Close % 51.4% 10th 52.2% 8th
Fenwick Close % 50.4% 14th 52.5% 7th
Shots For 33.1 3rd 32.6 4th
Shots Against 33.6 27th 29.3 14th
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