Game 61 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Vancouver Canucks

USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks.

The Ottawa Senators will play the first outdoor game (although the roof might end up closed) in club history when they play the Vancouver Canucks in a CFL (this is allegedly a professional league of Canadian football) stadium. Aside from the romance of playing in the Heritage Classic, this is a very important game for Ottawa, with a loss possibly moving the club into the selling mode. The Senators are currently five points behind the last playoff spot and would have to pass a minimum of four teams in 22 games.

Jared Cowen will be a healthy scratch after being on the ice for an incredible 10 opposition goals in 32:42 of ice time over the last two games. Patrick Wiercioch will draw in for Cowen while Matt Kassian and Joe Corvo are the other scratches. Here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent.

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

Methot - Karlsson
Wiercioch - Gryba
Phillips - Ceci

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Some notes for tonight:

  • Before things fell apart against Detroit, the Senators were dominant. Bobby Ryan alone had four scoring chances in the first half of the period before the Red Wings scored.
  • No Jared Cowen is not the only problem with the defence. But removing him and adding Wiercioch is a positive move. Wiercioch really has played well this season and hasn't been deserving of being scratched in favour of Cowen.
  • Not a lot to dislike with the forward lines either. The team might lose anyway, but I think this is going to give them the best chance of winning.
  • Robin Lehner was awful on Thursday. Hopefully Craig Anderson is better. Outdoor hockey has usually resulted in low scoring games from my memory.
  • Today is the second last game before the trade deadline. Will a few players today not make it to the game in Edmonton on Tuesday?
  • Erik Karlsson had Alexander Edler as his defensive partner at the Olympics. With Edler on the trade block, can the Senators some how figure out a way to reunite them?
  • The Senators didn't allow an attempted shot with Mike Hoffman on the ice 5-on-5 against Detroit. Shot attempts were 16-0 Ottawa and shots on target were 12-0.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Vancouver
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 22 Ryan Kesler 21
Assists Erik Karlsson 40 Henrik Sedin 31
Points Erik Karlsson 55 Daniel Sedin 40
Shots Erik Karlsson 191 Ryan Kesler 208
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:20 Dan Hamhuis 24:27

Category Ottawa Vancouver
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.78 12th 2.34 25th
Goals Against 3.18 28th 2.50 12th
Corsi Close % 51.6% 11th 52.1% 9th
Fenwick Close % 50.5% 15th 52.6% 8th
Shots For 32.4 4th 31.1 8th
Shots Against 34.2 28th 29.0 10th
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