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Game 9 preview: Chicago Blackhawks @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks on 30 October 2014.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators will finish off their October schedule with a home game against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. With a record of 5-2-1, the Senators have exceeded expectations at least as far as points go. However, Ottawa has been rather lucky to get as many points as they have and were ripped to shreds by the Blackhawks on Sunday with the 2-1 loss flattering Ottawa.

With Robin Lehner's wife/girlfriend giving birth today, Andrew Hammond will back up Craig Anderson tonight. Mark Borowiecki will not be playing after being injured on Tuesday and Erik Condra will be a healthy scratch. They will be replaced by Patrick Wiercioch and Mike Hoffman.

Here are the lines and pairings for Ottawa from Sylvain St-Laurent.

Ottawa

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

Phillips - Karlsson
Cowen - Ceci
Wiercioch - Gryba

Anderson (starter)
Hammond

And here are the Blackhawks lines and pairings from Mark Lazerus.

Chicago

Bickell - Toews - Hossa
Sharp - Shaw - Kane
Versteeg - Richards - Morin
Saad - Kruger - Smith

Keith - Seabrook
Hjalmarsson - Oduya
Rozsival - van Riemsdyk

Darling (starter)
Raanta

Some notes for tonight:

  • The Senators have not allowed more than three goals in a game this season.
  • Cody Ceci is quietly having quite a terrible start to the season with the Senators getting 39.5% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts with Ceci on the ice. There is this bizarre narrative that he has been one of the better defencemen on the team so far, likely centred around his plus-minus being +4. Ceci's WOWY look absolutely atrocious.
  • Ceci's new partner didn't have a particularly good return to the lineup either. How much time does Jared Cowen have left?
  • I am sure everyone is excited for that line of Hoffman/Lazar/Stone and I am no different. The line of Smith/Legwand/Neil was a disaster on Tuesday though. Here's hoping the ice time is distributed with that in mind.
  • Clarke MacArthur is pretty great at hockey. With his three points against Lumbus, he is now tied with Erik Karlsson for the team in points. Another great start for MacArthur.
  • Speaking of Erik, the guy continues to amaze. It is only eight games, but if he keeps up his five shots per game, it would be the sixth highest total in NHL history for a defenceman. Of the five seasons ahead of his current pace, four of them were by Bobby Orr.
  • The Senators are getting 50.8% of the 5-on-5 shot attempts with Karlsson on the ice and just 41.9% with Karlsson off the ice.
  • Meanwhile Chris Neil is the anti-Karlsson in that regard. Ottawa is getting 38.5% of the attempts with Neil on and 49.4% without Neil. But you already knew Chris Neil is not very good at this particular sport.
  • Craig Anderson has only given up four even strength goals in four games so far this season.
  • That is good because Ottawa has been outshot in seven out of their eight games. They have given up at least 37 shots in five out of the eight games.
  • Mika Zibanejad still does not have a point after eight games and only has nine shots. He's too good a player to keep going like this, but it is a very bad start.
  • Alex Chiasson has three of Ottawa's seven power play goals.  That also puts him in a tie for fourth in the NHL in power play goals.

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 Chicago
Player # Player #
Goals Clarke MacArthur 4 Patrick Sharp 3
Assists Kyle Turris 5 Patrick Sharp 5
Points Clarke MacArthur 7 Patrick Sharp 8
Shots Erik Karlsson 40 Patrick Sharp 38
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:17 Duncan Keith 26:07

Category Ottawa Chicago
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.62 16th 2.33 25th
Goals Against 2.12 8th 1.67 1st
Corsi Close % 44.80% 27th 56.07% 2nd
Fenwick Close % 41.34% 29th 56.25% 2nd
Shots For 30.2 15th 38.0 1st
Shots Against 36.2 29th 27.0 7th