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Sens Week Ahead: Oct 11 to 17

It's a busy week, with 3 of 4 games part of back to backs.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Canadiens @ Senators

Sunday, October 11th, 7pm
Sportsnet One

Prev game : @Bruins, Saturday, October 10th
Next game : @Penguins, Tuesday, October 13th

Hot : Alex Galchenyuk - 4P (1G, 3A)
Cold : Dale Weise - 0P
Injured: Michael Bournival (IR)

Both teams are entering this one 2-0, so someone is leaving with a perfect record to start.

Both teams are coming off a back-to-back as well. Carey Price started in Boston, with Mike Condon pegged to get the start in Ottawa. It will be Condon's first NHL start, after the Sens chased presumed backup Dustin Tokarski to the AHL with their performance in the last game of the preseason. Condon had decent numbers last year in the AHL, but that doesn't mean much at the NHL level.

The Habs scoring has been reasonably distributed so far. Past Galchenyuk with four points, Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban both have three.  In total, they have 10 players who have made it on to the score sheet.

Their possession game, a definite weakness last season, isn't close to settling so far this season. They were out-possessed heavily by the Maple Leafs, and out-possessed the Bruins even more heavily.

Senators @ Blue Jackets

Wednesday, October 14th, 7pm
Sportsnet One

Prev game : @Sabres, Monday, October 12th
Next game : Maple Leafs, Friday, October 16th

Hot : Ryan Johansen - 2P (1G, 1A)
Cold : Sergei Bobrovsky - .830 SV%
Injured: Josh Anderson (IR), David Clarkson, Alex Wennberg

Pegged by many as a potential sleeper pick after their terrible injury luck last season, the Blue Jackets are off to a 0-2 start. Don't read too much in to that on it's own - both games were against the expected-to-be-great Rangers. That makes it tough to get much of a read on anything past how they match up against the Rangers.

Definitely worrisome for Lumbus is the performance of Sergei Bobrovsky, though. The former Vezina winner was lit up for four goals in each of the first two games, and was replaced after 40 minutes in the second game. Curtis McElhinney only fared slightly better in relief, with a .857 SV%.

Their two goals per game would be pretty bad for a full-season number, but again - both games against the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist.

Senators @ Penguins

Thursday, October 15th, 7pm
TSN5

Prev game : Canadiens, Tuesday, October 13th
Next game : Maple Leafs, Saturday, October 17th

Hot : Phil Kessel - 1P (1G)
Cold : Sidney Crosby - 0P
Injured: Pascal Dupuis (IR), Eric Fehr (IR), Tom Kuhnhackl (IR)

For a team that was expected to be able to score their way out of trouble, the Penguins sure aren't off to a great start on that. Phil Kessel doesn't just have the only goal, it was unassisted so he's got the only point. Despite averaging over three per game last season, Sidney Crosby doesn't even have a shot yet (though he is the only one).

Goaltending looks like it will continue to be... well, not quite a full-on weakness, but definitely not a strength. Marc-Andre Fleury enters the week with a slightly below average SV% for a starter, roughly in the same range as his numbers from the past several seasons.

Slightly more concerning is being completely schooled in possession by Arizona, with the Coyotes on the back half of a back to back. The Pens were also slightly behind in possession numbers in their first game as well. There's also some discipline issues - nine times short handed is among the worst in the league for teams with two games played.

Predators @ Senators

Saturday, October 10th, 7pm
Sportsnet One

Prev game : @Islanders, Thursday, October 15th
Next game : Lightning, Tuesday, October 20th

Hot : Pekka Rinne - .982 SV%
Cold : Shea Weber - 0P
Injured: None

What a difference goaltending can make.  Like the Blue Jackets, the Predators are coming in at a mere two goals per game. Pekka Rinne is a the opposite end of the spectrum from Bobrovski, though. With only one goal against, Rinne has one of the best save percentages at this early point compared to Bobrovski with one of the worst. End result? 2-0 instead of 0-2.

The Preds penalty kill has, as of yet, been perfect, but the team is up near the top of the league in the most times shorthanded per game so far.

The lack of scoring is a bit more of a concern for Nashville than with Columbus - their games have been against Carolina and Edmonton, not exactly a pair of opponents known for their defensive prowess. Past Weber, some other notable players entering the week without a point are Roman Josi, James Neal and Mike Fisher. So far, the Preds are leaning heavily on Rinne to maintain success.