In the midst of just their third winning streak of the season, the Ottawa Senators will look to match a season high with their third consecutive win when they host the Winnipeg Jets tonight. The Senators currently sit five points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the last playoff spot. After tonight, Ottawa will play four straight on the road and 16 of the next 21.
Patrick Wiercioch will surprisingly be the healthy scratch as Chris Phillips returns. Mark Stone will come in for the injured Chris Neil. The team will keep Neil on hold in case inspiration is needed. Here are the lines:
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Conacher - Zibanejad - Michalek
Greening - Smith - Condra
Kassian - Pageau - Stone
Cowen - Karlsson
Methot - Ceci
Phillips - Corvo
Some notes for tonight:
- I think Chris Neil's injury is going to be a great boost for the Zack Smith and Colin Greening line. Erik Condra is a big improvement for that line in terms of not getting pinned in their own zone. Take your time Neiler.
- The bottom line is a bit strange, but there is no place in the top six for Mark Stone with Cory Conacher and Milan Michalek playing so well with Mika Zibanejad.
- Ottawa can move to within three points of a playoff spot with a win.
- Erik Karlsson would have moved into a tie for second on the team in goals had he taken that empty net goal. It was such a lovely moment though wasn't it?
- The schedule is going to get very tough after tonight. Not only are 16 out of next 21 on the road, but eight of the 16 road games are against the western conference.
- Jason Spezza is out again with a hip injury. Unfortunately these are things that are likely to continue flaring up for Spezza as he gets older with his history in that area.
- Craig Anderson appears to be rounding into form with a 92.1 save percentage in December. That would be a huge boost for the club's playoff chances.
- A lot has been made of Bobby Ryan's omission from the American Olympic team. While it is hilarious that someone with the talent pool of the Americans think they have better players than Ryan, it is still good news for the Ottawa Senators to have him rested.
- Dustin Byfuglien (140) is the only defenceman with more shots than Erik Karlsson (131).
Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.
|Goals||Bobby Ryan||18||Blake Wheeler||15|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson||28||Dustin Byfuglien||22|
|Points||Erik Karlsson||38||Bryan Little||33|
|Shots||Erik Karlsson||131||Evander Kane||147|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||27:19||Dustin Byfuglien||26:24|
|Corsi Close %||50.6%||15th||48.9%||21st|
|Fenwick Close %||49.5%||17th||48.9%||20th|