Game 55 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs on 1 February 2014.

The Ottawa Senators stayed in a playoff spot for only one night but they have a chance to move back in with a win tonight in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. The Senators have played the Maple Leafs twice so far this season, losing both games in a shootout.

There will be one change to the lineup with Matt Kassian coming in for Stéphane Da Costa, because MacLean gonna MacLean. Craig Anderson will get the start again. Here are the lines.

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

Cowen - Karlsson
Methot - Gryba
Wiercioch - Ceci

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Some notes for tonight:

  • The Senators had 50 shots against the Leafs in their last meeting and have had 86 shots in the two games against Toronto.
  • The Leafs are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. With just 28 games remaining and a decent gap, they just might make the playoffs again. They are currently six points ahead of Ottawa for third place in the Atlantic Division.
  • Kyle Turris, Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur are in a three way tie for second place in team scoring with 42 points. Erik Karlsson is a long way ahead at 51 points.
  • Amazingly Chris Neil has one assist all season. He's on pace for 11 points this season. His one assist is tied with Kassian.
  • Stephane Da Costa had been killing it in some easy minutes. His line with Cory Conacher and Erik Condra didn't allow an unblocked shot attempt until the third period. The Senators have just under 60% of the shot attempts with Da Costa on the ice this season.
  • Does anyone else get the sense that the Senators were currently playing their best players at the moment?
  • The Senators have three regulation losses in 24 games with Matt Kassian. They are also a perfect 5-0-0 when he fights. You don't win a Jack Adams being stupid kids. That is insight most of us can only dream of.
This graph from ExtraSkater shows how the Senators have improved their 5-on-5 Fenwick close from the start of December. The team is certainly trending in the right direction. Ottawa has been around a 52% Fenwick team for the last two months, which is pretty good.

Ottawa_senators_2013-2014_cumulative_5v5_close_ff__medium

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Toronto
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 20 Phil Kessel 27
Assists Erik Karlsson 38 Phil Kessel 30
Points Erik Karlsson 51 Phil Kessel 57
Shots Erik Karlsson 169 Phil Kessel 212
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:22 Dion Phaneuf 24:26

Category Ottawa Toronto
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.83 10th 2.77 13th
Goals Against 3.04 26th 3.02 25th
Corsi Close % 51.7% 9th 43.1% 29th
Fenwick Close % 50.4% 16th 42.7% 29th
Shots For 32.6 3rd 27.7 25th
Shots Against 33.7 28th 36.3 30th
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