The Ottawa Senators are surging again and will look for their fourth straight win tonight when they visit the western conference champions, the Vancouver Canucks. Ottawa has been definitely a streak team, going 7-2-0 in games following a win, and 3-6-1 in games following a loss. They have yet to have a losing streak of less than two games, and have only had one winning streak of less than three games.
Now, let's just get it out there, Sidney Crosby will return tomorrow night against the Islanders. The Senators next game will be Friday in Pittsburgh. Click here to talk about Crosby. Let's try and not mention that for the rest of the night.
There are no changes, which means David Rundblad will be a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game. Here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent.
Here are my talking points:
- Anderson in good form: Craig Anderson has put in three solid performances. He was absolutely brilliant at the start of the game against Edmonton and Ottawa took it from there. Let's hope it keeps going. If Anderson posts a 26-save shutout, or 35 saves out of 36 shots, etc., he will finally reach a .900 save percentage for the season.
- Defence also in good form: While Anderson had to be good at the start of the game, the Senators defence didn't allow Edmonton too much in the last two periods. They are going to be in tough tonight against a very skilled team. Ottawa has allowed only five goals during this winning streak.
- 5-on-5 play: If you pay attention to my summary statistics, you will know that Ottawa has been either 29th or 30th in the 5-on-5 ratio pretty much all season. They outscored Edmonton 5-0 in 5-on-5 situations on Thursday and thus jump to a season high 26th. The penalty kill and 5-on-5 are definitely improving, the power play is slipping though.
- Vancouver's skill: I absolutely love the way Vancouver plays, they play hockey the right way. Had the referees done their job (i.e. calling a penalty when Sedin gets punched in the face), Vancouver might have been the Stanley Cup champions. They haven't been good so far, sporting a 9-9-1 record. But like when the Senators met Boston, you know Vancouver is too good to stay like this.
- End of western trip: After a trek across western Canada, the Senators don't play again until Friday. There is no need to save energy tonight as the Senators should get a good rest afterwards. This trip has certainly gone far better than I expected.
- Impact of late Sunday game on Mark: With the game ending around midnight, and the up-and-downs usually at 7:00 a.m. Monday morning, how will this game impact Mark's ability to get it out on time? Stay tuned.