It's Friday, Friday! Got to watch on Friday!Everybody's looking forward to the hockey, hockey!
Ahem, with that out of the way, the Ottawa Senators will finally return to action tonight when they play
the Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby, the great saviour of hockey. As far as recent history goes, there is no one the Senators have had more of an on-ice rivalry than the Pittsburgh Penguins, facing them in the first round in each of Ottawa's last three playoff seasons. Some of you may hate the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Montréal Canadiens the most, but for yours truly, it is by far the Penguins. We must win this!
The Senators will finally end a six-game road trip that has already been a smashing success, picking up seven out of a possible 10 points so far. Here are the lines from the Ottawa Sun.
Talking points and statistics after the jump. GO SENS GO!
Here are my talking points for tonight:
- Impact of long break: As you are (painfully) aware, the Senators have not played since Sunday. They were on a bit of a roll, having gone 3-0-1 in their last four games. On the other hand, the team got in a lot of practise time to work on things such as the power play. Will the Sens be rusty or will the layoff help?
- Power play: Speaking of the power play, it was talked about over the week, but will the Senators change up anything or continue with the same approach?
- Da Costa's ice time: Paul MacLean seemed to think Stéphane Da Costa might struggle against Pittsburgh's centres. It will be interesting to see how much Da Costa plays tonight.
- Sidney Crosby's struggles against Ottawa: Crosby has only (for him) 17 points and only four goals in 20 regular season games against Ottawa, his worst performance against any eastern conference club. Can the Sens shut him down again tonight? Crosby does have 27 points in 15 playoff games against Ottawa though.
- The Pens "second" line: Everyone may seem to make it all about Crosby these days, but Pittsburgh was a good team even without him. Their supposed second line consists of Evgeni Malkin (18 points in 15 games) and James Neal (second in the NHL with 13 goals). Erik Karlsson, Filip Kuba, Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips are in for some tough assignments tonight.