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Game 32: Boston Bruins @ Ottawa Senators

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Boston Bruins
@ Ottawa Senators

Wednesday, Dec 14, 2011, 7:30 PM EST
Scotiabank Place

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The last time the Ottawa Senators played the Boston Bruins, the Senators were sitting eight points ahead of Boston. Since then, the Bruins have gone 16-2-1 while the Senators have gone 7-8-4, pushing Boston to a seven point lead over Ottawa.

Ottawa is currently sitting in 11th place but a win tonight will lift them to seventh. However, the Senators will be without Milan Michalek though Boston will likely be without Zdeno Chara. On an aesthetic note, Ottawa will wear its heritage jerseys tonight and Craig Anderson will debut his new mask that he will only wear with the heritage jerseys.

There was no practise today, but I am assuming Bobby Butler takes Michalek's place on the top line. Here are the lines, courtesy of TSN.

Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Peter Regin - Bobby Butler
Erik Condra - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester - Kaspars Daugavins
Jared Cowen - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - David Rundblad
Brian Lee - Matt Carkner
Craig Anderson (starter)
Alex Auld

Talking points and statistics after the jump.

Here are my talking points:

  • Limiting fatigue: The Senators are without their top two defencemen which means Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen will once again play a lot. Add in the fact that Ottawa played last night and things could get ugly. Karlsson has had a lot of long shifts out of necessity and that won't get any easier. I don't know how you limit ice time when you have to play both Matt Carkner and Brian Lee. Even Chris Phillips played over two minutes of power play time yesterday. Boston also played last night, so there is that.
  • Butler returns: Replacing the NHL's leading goal scorer is a player who has scored in only one game this season. Bobby Butler will get another chance tonight, can he put one into the net tonight?
  • Carkner's type of game: For those who have been waiting for Matt Carkner to return, this is exactly the kind of game Matt Carkner should excel at. Boston has a lot of players who drive to the net, will Carkner prove to be useful in stopping them?
  • Spezza closing in on league leaders: While Jason Spezza's overall game has not been good recently, he's been racking up the points. Last night, he was pretty good without the errors. A big game tonight (3+ points) could lift him into the top 5 in the NHL in points.
  • Boston should win easily: Yeah I am a real genius eh? Boston is second in goals scored per game, first in goals allowed. Ottawa is missing three important players. We should be routed on paper. Can we keep it respectable? This team has a habit of surprising.
Here are the 2011-2012 comparative statistics for the Senators and the Bruins:
Category Ottawa Enemy - Boston
Value Rank Value Rank
Goals For per game 2.94 9th 3.24 2nd
Goals Against per game 3.39 30th 2.00 1st
5 on 5 GF/GA ratio 0.88 21st 1.75 1st
Shots for per game 30.6 11th 32.9 5th
Shots against per game 31.6 24th 31.0 20th
Power play % 17.3 13th 17.6 11th
Penalty kill % 80.9 22nd 87.4 4th
Category Ottawa Enemy - Boston
Player Value Player Value
Points Jason Spezza 30 Tyler Seguin 26
Goals Milan Michalek 19 Tyler Seguin 13
Assists Erik Karlsson 24 Patrice Bergeron 17
PP Points Erik Karlsson 11 Tyler Seguin 8
Shots Erik Karlsson 97 Zdeno Chara 85
Hits Nick Foligno 87 Milan Lucic 72
Avg. Ice time Erik Karlsson 25:27 Zdeno Chara 24:48
Face-offs % Zenon Konopka 59.8 Rich Peverley 62.0