Game 57 preview: Ottawa Senators @ St. Louis Blues

USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and St. Louis Blues on 4 February 2014.

The Ottawa Senators will look to avoid their first three game losing streak since 18 to 21 December when they visit the St. Louis Blues tonight. After briefly pulling into a playoff spot on Thursday night for the first time since October, Ottawa has fallen three points back of Detroit for the final spot.

There will no changes to the lineup except Robin Lehner will start in net. Here are the lines from last night:

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

Cowen - Karlsson
Methot - Gryba
Wiercioch - Ceci

Lehner (starter)
Anderson

Some notes for tonight:

  • This is Robin Lehner's third start since late December. With Jonas Gustavsson injured, there is probably a decent chance Lehner gets called up and plays for Sweden before he plays for Ottawa again after tonight.
  • Paul MacLean didn't have last change last night, but you would hope to get the Zack Smith line away from Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin a bit more last night. The Smith line was slaughtered while the Kyle Turris line didn't see much action against the top two lines.
  • When the clubs met in Ottawa, Paul MacLean used the Turris line against Patrik Berglund while Jason Spezza saw the Derek Roy line. Zack Smith played against the David Backes line.
  • The Blues have an NHL best goal difference of +56 without counting shootouts. They are also 6-2 in the shootout. They are pretty good at a lot of things.
  • The Senators have been outshot in eight straight games and the margins are getting bigger. They were outshot by 23 last night, by 10 against Toronto, by 10 against Tampa Bay, by eight in Columbus and and six in Carolina.
  • Erik Karlsson doesn't have a point in two straight games. He hasn't gone three straight without a point in the regular season in almost two years (March 2012). He hit the crossbar against Toronto and was robbed against Pittsburgh by a great save.
  • Only Bobby Ryan, Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris have more goals per game than Stéphane Da Costa's three in 10 games.
  • Jared Cowen had a pretty rough game with the puck but still was good enough in the coach's eyes to lead all skaters in even strength ice time.
  • Karlsson is only a -4 in goals on 5-on-5 goalie-in situations but the Senators six empty net goals allowed and eight shorthanded goals against have contributed a lot more to his -14 plus/minus.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa St. Louis
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 20 Alexander Steen 27
Assists Erik Karlsson 38 Alex Pietrangelo 32
Points Erik Karlsson 51 Alexander Steen 45
Shots Erik Karlsson 173 Alexander Steen 148
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:19 Alex Pietrangelo 25:22

Category Ottawa St. Louis
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.80 13th 3.32 2nd
Goals Against 3.07 26th 2.28 3rd
Corsi Close % 51.5% 10th 52.2% 7th
Fenwick Close % 50.3% 15th 52.7% 7th
Shots For 32.4 4th 29.5 19th
Shots Against 34.0 28th 26.2 2nd
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