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Game 8 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Lumbus Blue Jackets

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and #Lumbus Blue Jackets on 28 October 2014.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Brace for impact, here comes Jared Cowen. After being a healthy scratch for the previous five games, Cowen will return to the lineup for the first time since 11 October when the Senators visit #Lumbus tonight. Patrick Wiercioch will be scratched to make room for Cowen. Mike Hoffman and Colin Greening will also be healthy scratches and will be replaced by Curtis Lazar and Mark Stone.

Here are the lines and pairings for the Senators from Dean Brown. Robin Lehner will start.

Ottawa

MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Michalek - Zibanejad - Chiasson
Smith - Legwand - Neil
Condra - Lazar - Stone

Phillips - Karlsson
Cowen - Ceci
Borowiecki - Gryba

Lehner (starter)
Anderson

Here are the lines and pairings for #Lumbus from their website.

Lumbus

Atkinson - Johansen - Hartnell
Tropp - Anisimov - Dano
Wennberg - Letestu - Skille
Boll - Chaput - Cracknell

Savard - Tyutin
Johnson - Prout
Murray - Wisniewski

McElhinney (starter)
Forsberg

Some notes for tonight:

  • For the fourth time in five games, the Senators will play a backup goaltender. Against Colorado, the backup got injured and Ottawa ended up playing against the third string goaltender. Against Lumbus, the backup was again injured and the starter came back in. Against Chicago they played the third string goalie the entire game. Tonight the two goalies are second and third on the depth chart with Sergei Bobrovsky injured.
  • In addition to Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets will also be without Nick Foligno, Matt Calvert, Brandon Dubinsky, Nathan Horton, and Boone Jenner.
  • Mike Hoffman being scratched is rather puzzling, especially as Lumbus had no answer for him just 10 days ago. But this is Paul MacLean we are talking about here.
  • Patrick Wiercioch being scratched is disappointing but also not surprising. Wiercioch struggled somewhat against Chicago, but certainly brings far more than the likes of Eric Gryba and especially Mark Borowiecki. But they keep it simple, so there is that.
  • For whatever reason, the one person Erik Karlsson cannot seem to play well with is Chris Phillips. MacLean only seems to try this when the team is trailing so it is hard to judge, but Wiercioch has done very in extremely small samples on the top pairing both this year and last.
  • The defence has been a tire fire, but that was to be expected. What has been more disappointing is that the Senators aren't generating a lot of shots themselves. The loss of Jason Spezza hurts in that regard, but so far it hasn't resulted in any defensive improvements.
  • Despite all that, the Senators are 4-2-1. They don't deserve to be, but they are. That's points in the bank. Allowing 40 shots in three out of seven games is not going to help in maintaining that. They can't expect to win two out of three when allowing 40 shots.
  • Erik Karlsson's points streak ended at five games but he added another five shots. He has 35 of the Senators 208 shots this season and is now seventh in the league in shots and third in shots per game.
  • Ottawa isn't going to go too far if they are getting under 50% of the 5-on-5 attempts even with Karlsson on the ice. They are getting 49.46% of the attempts with Karlsson on and only 41.14% with Karlsson off the ice. He's done well to drag them up but the rest of the team is getting annihilated.
  • Alex Chiasson continues to look like a very solid acquisition. He showed great patience to set up that goal for Milan Michalek in Chicago.
  • The Senators have taken 37 minor penalties so far this season. Mark Borowiecki and Eric Gryba have taken 11 of those 37.
  • Ottawa is 3-0-1 against the eastern conference with wins against Tampa Bay, Florida, Lumbus and an overtime loss against New Jersey.

Here are some stats from last season for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from naturalstattrick.com

Category Ottawa Lumbus
Player # Player #
Goals Erik Karlsson 2 Ryan Johansen 5
Assists Erik Karlsson 3 Scott Hartnell 9
Points Erik Karlsson 5 Ryan Johansen 11
Shots Erik Karlsson 35 Scott Hartnell 27
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:22 Jack Johnson 23:42

Category Ottawa Lumbus
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.29 22nd 2.88 14th
Goals Against 2.14 9th 3.12 19th
Corsi Close % 44.11% 27th 48.83% 23rd
Fenwick Close % 40.42% 29th 48.46% 20th
Shots For 29.7 17th 29.2 19th
Shots Against 36.0 29th 30.9 20th

Second last in shots allowed, 22nd in goals scored, 17th in shots for, but they are 4-2-1. Thank goodness for goaltending.