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Game 38 preview: New Jersey Devils @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils on 30 December 2015.

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

While the Ottawa Senators continue to struggle on the road, they haven't lost at home since 1 December winning five straight. The Senators have gone 9-1-2 at home since losing 5-3 to Detroit on 31 October. One of those home losses earlier in the season was a 5-4 shootout loss to tonight's opponents, the New Jersey Devils. The Devils won 3-2 against Carolina last night while the Senators lost 7-3 in Boston.

Ottawa called up Michael Kostka and Fredrik Claesson with Marc Methot banged up and Jared Cowen possibly being a healthy scratch. Curtis Lazar is expected to return but it is not known yet who will go out. Here is my complete guess at the lineup.

Smith - Turris - Stone
Hoffman - Pageau - Ryan
Lazar - Zibanejad - Chiasson
Prince - McCormick - Neil

Methot - Karlsson
Wiercioch - Borowiecki
Claesson - Wideman

Hammond (starter)
Anderson

Some notes for tonight:

  • Ottawa actually did pretty well at 5-on-5 last night but giving up four goals on the penalty kill was obviously a death blow.
  • If Marc Methot can't go, Erik Karlsson might be playing high 30s on the second game of a back-to-back after playing almost 35 last night.
  • Karlsson's point streak is now at seven games. He had a nine-game streak in November.
  • Mike Hoffman's fluky goal ended a run of five straight without a goal. He is fifth in the NHL in goals with 18.
  • The Senators have successfully killed 76.4% of penalties, which is the second worst in the NHL. Their 30 goals allowed on the penalty kill are tied for the most in the NHL. They also allow the most shots in the league while shorthanded at 63.4 per 60 minutes.
  • On the bright side, Ottawa also leads the NHL with eight shorthanded goals.
  • As our good friend Nate pointed out, the shot differentials for almost every single player on the roster is worse than last year. Did everyone get worse or did Dave Cameron change the system?
  • The Devils would pass the Senators for the final wild card spot with a win tonight.
  • Mark Stone appears to have escaped suspension for a hit very similar to the one that he got suspended for earlier in the season.
  • Zack Smith's continued presence on the first power play unit is really mind boggling.
  • Karlsson has 82 points in 83 regular games in 2015. It has been quite the year for him hasn't it? After a few games of heavy ice time, he also leads the NHL in average ice time per game this season.

Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from www.puckon.net. Note that Corsi is now adjusted for score as well as the venue and event type.

Category Ottawa New Jersey
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 18 Kyle Palmieri 16
Assists Erik Karlsson 32 Mike Cammalleri 21
Points Erik Karlsson 41 Mike Cammalleri 33
Shots Mike Hoffman 97 Mike Cammalleri 96
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 28:14 Andy Greene 23:13

Category Ottawa New Jersey
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.92 4th 2.30 27th
Goals Against 2.92 26th 2.38 7th
Event, Score and venue adjusted Corsi % 47.0% 24th 46.8% 26th
Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick % 46.8% 27th 47.5% 24th
Shots For 27.6 28th 25.0 30th
Shots Against 34.1 30th 28.3 5th