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Game 26 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins

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A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins on 6 December 2014.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If at first you fail, then you try and fail again. That is probably the motto of the Senators these days. Ottawa will look to avoid its fifth consecutive loss when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins this afternoon. The Senators continue to inch closer and closer towards the bottom of the league and further and further away from the playoff chase.

Paul MacLean announced that Craig Anderson will start and Zack Smith will return to the lineup for the injured Mark Stone. Here are the lines from Wayne Scanlan.

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

Phillips - Karlsson
Methot - Ceci
Borowiecki - Gryba

Anderson (starter)
Hammond

Some notes for today:

  • It is really unlikely that we see Patrick Wiercioch any time soon barring a couple of injuries. Mark Borowiecki is apparently ahead of Jared Cowen in the depth chart now, so must be well ahead of Wiercioch.
  • Some of it is probably bad luck, some of it is because it is obviously easier to score on the power play, but Erik Karlsson having 12 of his 18 points on the power play must have something to do with the lack of Chris Phillips or Mark Borowiecki right?
  • Seriously I do this every game now but how awful is Chris Phillips these days?
  • For all the criticism, David Legwand is tied for second among Senators forwards with six power play points, just one behind Bobby Ryan.
  • For all the criticism, Alex Chiasson is still on pace for a 43 points season. Pretty ugly Corsi stats though.
  • Karlsson has 31 more shots on goal than anyone else on the team.
  • If you assume that the Senators are only going to get in as a wild card (they are 10 points out of the top three in the division) and that they are unlikely to catch Boston as well, then...they are fighting for one spot with five or six teams.
  • The Senators 28.2 shots on goal per game is now fourth last in the NHL. There is nothing good about this team aside from the goaltending these days.

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

Category Ottawa Pittsburgh
Player # Player #
Goals Clarke MacArthur 9 Evgeni Malkin 12
Assists Erik Karlsson 12 Sidney Crosby 24
Points Erik Karlsson 18 Sidney Crosby 33
Shots Erik Karlsson 94 Patric Hornqvist 87
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:45 Kris Letang 25:03

Category Ottawa Pittsburgh
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.48 20th 3.20 3rd
Goals Against 2.64 18th 2.28 6th
Corsi % 47.74% 25th 50.6% 15th
Fenwick % 45.58% 28th 50.95% 13th
Shots For 28.2 27th 30.4 14th
Shots Against 34.5 29th 30.0 17th