Game 43 preview: Winnipeg Jets @ Ottawa Senators

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets on 2 January 2014.

In the midst of just their third winning streak of the season, the Ottawa Senators will look to match a season high with their third consecutive win when they host the Winnipeg Jets tonight. The Senators currently sit five points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the last playoff spot. After tonight, Ottawa will play four straight on the road and 16 of the next 21.

Patrick Wiercioch will surprisingly be the healthy scratch as Chris Phillips returns. Mark Stone will come in for the injured Chris Neil. The team will keep Neil on hold in case inspiration is needed. Here are the lines:

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

Cowen - Karlsson
Methot - Ceci
Phillips - Corvo

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Some notes for tonight:

  • I think Chris Neil's injury is going to be a great boost for the Zack Smith and Colin Greening line. Erik Condra is a big improvement for that line in terms of not getting pinned in their own zone. Take your time Neiler.
  • The bottom line is a bit strange, but there is no place in the top six for Mark Stone with Cory Conacher and Milan Michalek playing so well with Mika Zibanejad.
  • Ottawa can move to within three points of a playoff spot with a win.
  • Erik Karlsson would have moved into a tie for second on the team in goals had he taken that empty net goal. It was such a lovely moment though wasn't it?
  • The schedule is going to get very tough after tonight. Not only are 16 out of next 21 on the road, but eight of the 16 road games are against the western conference.
  • Jason Spezza is out again with a hip injury. Unfortunately these are things that are likely to continue flaring up for Spezza as he gets older with his history in that area.
  • Craig Anderson appears to be rounding into form with a 92.1 save percentage in December. That would be a huge boost for the club's playoff chances.
  • A lot has been made of Bobby Ryan's omission from the American Olympic team. While it is hilarious that someone with the talent pool of the Americans think they have better players than Ryan, it is still good news for the Ottawa Senators to have him rested.
  • Dustin Byfuglien (140) is the only defenceman with more shots than Erik Karlsson (131).

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Winnipeg
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 18 Blake Wheeler 15
Assists Erik Karlsson 28 Dustin Byfuglien 22
Points Erik Karlsson 38 Bryan Little 33
Shots Erik Karlsson 131 Evander Kane 147
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:19 Dustin Byfuglien 26:24

Category Ottawa Winnipeg
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.78 11th 2.90 7th
Goals Against 3.15 28th 2.87 23rd
Corsi Close % 50.6% 15th 48.9% 21st
Fenwick Close % 49.5% 17th 48.9% 20th
Shots For 33.2 2nd 31.4 8th
Shots Against 34.1 27th 30.6 21st
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