The Senators continue their road trip in Philadelphia today, where they will take on the Flyers in an early afternoon game almost no one is going to see.
The Flyers currently sit tied for the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference with 21 points in 22 games. Ottawa has 27 points in 20 games. The difference? Goaltending. Ilya Bryzgalov leads his team with a .903 save percentage. Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher, who have played in four total games, have save percentages of .808 and .898, respectively. Meanwhile, Ottawa's worst goalie, statistically, is today's starter, Ben Bishop, who is only saving 93.5% of the shots he faces.
The Senators saw a five-game winning streak snapped on Thursday against Boston, losing 2-1 in overtime. Despite their depleted lineup, the Senators have now earned a point in six consecutive games, and could have topped Boston with some slightly better luck.
The Flyers, along with Toronto(!) and Pittsburgh, will be one of the highest-scoring teams the Senators have faced so far. Given the Senators' penchant for making goalies look better than they are, we could see the team stumble today.
Two lineup changes were announced yesterday: Ben Bishop returns to the net, and Mike Lundin draws in for Andre Benoit, giving us the following lines based on last game:
Silfverberg - Turris - Alfredsson
Couturier Zibanejad - Condra
Dziurzynski - Smith - Neil
Daugvins- Regin - O'Brien
Méthot - Gryba
Wiercioch - Gonchar
Phillips - Lundin
Lehner (waiting to strike)
Notes for today:
- Daniel Alfredsson must want Ben Bishop in net. Why else would he sabotage Robin Lehner?
- Watch for the Patrick Wiercioch long bomb pass. The Flyers' defensive struggles have been well-documented at this point, and they are vulnerable.
- Jim O`Brien leads active Senators with 5 goals. Wayne Simmonds leads the Flyers with 8. Neither name is who you'd expect.
- Erik Karlsson still leads the Senators with 6 goals. He has missed the last six games. He may be important to the team; the jury is still out.
- Hey, did you know that Kyle Turris hasn't scored a goal in 17 games now, and that the only thing that matters in hockey are points?
- Peter Regin finished last game on the first line between Alfredsson and Jakob Silfverberg, and deservedly so. Turris looked stronger as soon as he got back on the second line. Will head coach Paul MacLean leave those lines intact?
- From the shut up department: Sean Couturier has 7P (2G, 5A) and a minus-6 rating through 20 games this season. Mika Zibanejad has 6P (3G, 3A) and a plus-3 rating through 15 games. Everyone should shut up about these two forever.
- Ilya Bryzgalov has started all but two games for the Flyers. That's crazy. But what choice do they have? If I'm Paul Holmgren, I'm keeping an extra-close watch on Ben Bishop today.
- Finally, in case you missed it: Zibanejad and Silfverberg are typical Swedes. They also have no interest in Rocky. Silfverberg is "not a film guy," and Zibanejad would rather talk about nutrition. It's so obvious they're forced to run the steps against their will, too. Robin Lehner did not participate, because why would Drago pretend to be Rocky?