Erik Karlsson will lead the rest of the Ottawa Senators and their ragtag band of misfits into action when they host the Buffalo Sabres tonight. The two clubs met in Ottawa last week and the Senators hung on for a 4-3 win in a game that they led 4-1 at one point. As today is the 13th game of the season, it will be the first game that #13 Peter Regin misses through injury. He's been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Saturday, meaning he will miss the rest of the week as a minimum. The only healthy scratch will be André Benoit.
Here are the lines from the morning skate courtesy of Nicolas St-Pierre.
Michalek - Zibanejad - Alfredsson
Greening - Turris - Silfverberg
Daugavins - Da Costa - O'Brien
Condra - Smith - Neil
Méthot - Karlsson
Gonchar - Lundin
Phillips - Wiercioch
Some notes for tonight:
- Without Jason Spezza, the Senators are not a very good team when Erik Karlsson isn't being awesome. Hopefully he is tonight.
- Thomas Vanek has 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points and 45 shots in the 11 games he has played this season that weren't against Ottawa. In the one game against Ottawa? He had zero points and one shot. He faced Karlsson (and Methot) for 94% of his ice time. (Thanks to LeftWingLock for this great feature).
- Continuing with match-ups: the Turris line was against Foligno-Ennis-Stafford in that game almost 55% of the time. Against the Jets however, MacLean didn't choose to match-up often and Turris wasn't out against any one line more than a third of the time.
- The Senators haven't lost a single game by more than one goal aside from the 6-4 loss in Tampa Bay that included an empty net goal.
- Thanks to Karlsson, this team will be a dominant possession team, simply because when he is on the ice, the Senators generally have the puck and Karlsson tends to shoot the puck. A lot. He plays half the game, so there is that. Ottawa is currently the fourth best possession team so far by Fenwick close, behind only the Kings, Blues and Bruins. Ottawa is currently shooting only 6.57% with Karlsson on the ice, so expect his point totals to rise from their current levels.
- And yet more on Karlsson's importance from The 6th Sens: the Senators have 153 even-strength scoring chances and allowed 135. With Karlsson on it is 76-51 (+25) and with Karlsson off it is 77-84 (-7).
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