It's late February and the Ottawa Senators have the chance to pull within a single point of the division lead with a win over the Boston Bruins tonight. That might be a difficult task given that Craig Anderson is out injured, but it is worth mentioning that Anderson has allowed 14 goals, including one from centre ice, in three games against Boston this season.
In a not so surprising move, the Senators will scratch Brian Lee in favour of Matt Carkner presumably due to his perceived toughness against the Bruins players. Zenon Konopka is still a scratch though.
Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Bobby Butler
Colin Greening - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Erik Condra
Nick Foligno - Jim O'Brien - Chris Neil
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Sergei Gonchar
Jared Cowen - Matt Carkner
Alex Auld (starter)
More after the jump.
Here are some discussion topics for tonight:
- Score a lot of goals: The Senators have averaged 5.25 goals per game in the current four-game winning streak. Alex Auld has allowed less than three goals in only two of his seven starts.
- Erik Karlsson is hot: And I don't just mean his pretty face. The league's best defenceman is on a five-game point streak where he has tallied five goals and seven assists for 12 points. He is tied for ninth in points among all NHL players. However, he has only 2 goals (0 assists) in 14 games against Boston.
- Jason Spezza "cooling": Sure, Spezza is on a seven game point-streak where has 16 points. But in his last four games, he has gone from 4 to 3 to 2 to just the 1 point in the last game. What's up with that Jason?
- Zack Smith should start giving a crap: He has two points in the last 21 games and one shot or less in 13 of the last 15 games. Paul MacLean wasn't impressed, playing Smith for only 8:50 against Washington, the lowest of any player by far. He also has four fights in the last three games.
- Power play clicking again: Ottawa has a top ten power play once more, tied for ninth in the NHL and only 0.1% behind seventh.
- Gonchar quietly having a good season: Speaking of that power play, Gonchar is third on the Senators in power play points, behind only Spezza and Karlsson and ahead of the likes of Alfredsson and Michalek. He only has two goals but his 30 assists are tied for 5th in the NHL among all defencemen. He only has one less point than Zdeno Chara.