Game 76 preview: New York Islanders @ Ottawa Senators

USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders on 2 April 2014.

The Ottawa Senators will attempt to pull within three points of Lumbus for the final playoff spot when they host the New York Islanders tonight. The Senators have won three in a row and have points in five straight games following a six game losing streak.

There will be no changes to the lineup with Jason Spezza, Colin Greening and Jared Cowen still out injured. Craig Anderson will start. Here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent.

Michalek - Zibanejad - Hemsky
Hoffman - Smith - Neil
MacArthur - Turris - Stone
Kassian - Pageau - Condra

Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Gryba
Wiercioch - Ceci

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Some notes for tonight:

  • Erik Karlsson had a bad game on Monday. I suspect he won't have a bad game tonight.
  • Patrick Wiercioch continues to look very impressive since his return to the lineup. Unfortunately Chris Phillips always has to play when healthy, but at least Jared Cowen's injury is making sure that both the two worst defenceman on the team aren't playing. According to Corey Sznajder, 5-on-5 scoring chances were 11-0 Ottawa with Wiercioch on the ice and 11-2 Carolina with Wiercioch off the ice.
  • Seeing Matt Kassian on the ice is always great comedy. Watching him struggle to skate out of the zone after collecting a rebound gave myself and a few others quite a few chuckles.
  • Mika Zibanejad scored Ottawa's only goal and his line was amazing the whole night. Really unfortunate to not have scored more. It is only one game, but Zibanejad and Ales Hemsky seem to look rather good together. Zibanejad's line and Wiercioch along with Cody Ceci seemed to be the only thing going for Ottawa on Monday.
  • An odd exchange with the media this morning as Jason Spezza announced that he was feeling good and is a game time decision. A few minutes later MacLean announced that Spezza will not be playing.
  • The Senators hopefully shouldn't need Spezza to beat the Islanders and have a pair of back-to-back games against the Canadiens and the Rangers coming up on the weekend. Still, another instance of the coach seemingly contradicting a player that we have seen before with Marc Methot.
  • Ottawa gave up 57 shots the last time they played the Islanders. They will need four points against them in the game today and on Tuesday next week.
  • If everything falls perfectly Ottawa's way, they could even be in a playoff spot as early as Saturday night!
  • Zack Smith has two goals and three assists in his last 31 games.
  • Here is a list of defencemen with similar offensive numbers to Patrick Wiercioch in their first three seasons since 2005-2006. We might give him away for next to nothing in the summer. Quite sad really.

Here are some stats for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa New York
Player # Player #
Goals Kyle Turris 25 Kyle Okposo 27
Assists Erik Karlsson 50 Kyle Okposo 42
Points Erik Karlsson 70 Kyle Okposo 69
Shots Erik Karlsson 238 Kyle Okposo 195
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:11 Travis Hamonic 24:52

Category Ottawa New York
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.84 10th 2.71 15th
Goals Against 3.24 28th 3.25 29th
Corsi Close % 52.0% 8th 49.2% 19th
Fenwick Close % 50.7% 14th 49.4% 18th
Shots For 32.6 4th 30.8 10th
Shots Against 34.9 29th 30.0 16th
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