Senators @ Devils
Prev game : Panthers, Saturday, January 31st
Next game : Maple Leafs, Friday, February 6th
Hot : Steve Bernier - 3P (2G, 1A) in last 2 GP
Cold : Marek Zidlicky - 0P in last 4 GP
It's been a rough season for the Devils.
Team scoring generally has not been a New Jersey strong point, but it's down 0.2 goals per game this season and is only ahead of Buffalo and Carolina. Their leading goal scorer is Mike Cammalleri with 16 goals, and the only other players to reach double digit goals are Adam Henrique and Jaromir Jagr with 10 each.
All this despite their strong power play. At 20.4%, it is ninth overall in the league. The penalty kill has been almost opposite, with a 80.1% success rate and 22nd in the NHL.
The good news for Jersey is the play of Cory Schneider. His full season numbers are still somewhat average, but they've been on the rise. He posted a pretty solid 0.940 in January, had four games above .950 in that time frame. Scott Clemmensen appears to have played himself out of a NHL job, and has been in the AHL since December. Keith Kinkaid hasn't seen a lot of action, but has put up respectable numbers for a backup.
The surging play of Schneider probably has a lot to do with the Devils record of 6-3-2 in January, which is vastly improved over the 13-19-7 in the first three months. To be fair though, the scoring was much improved in January as well - but that would still rank in the bottom 10 if it were a full season number.
Ryane Clowe, Bryce Salvador, Damon Severson and Stephen Gionta are all out on IR.
Capitals @ Senators
Prev game : Kings, Tuesday, February 3rd
Hot : Nicklas Backstrom - 8P (2G, 6A) in last 6 GP
Cold : Justin Peters - 0.836 SV% in last 5 GP
The Capitals come in to the week sitting comfortably in a playoff spot.
While a strong recent showing (7 goals in his last 6 games) has put Alex Ovechkin at the top of the league for goals, the team hasn't been able to translate the success of the top line into wins as well as they would like. Their last 10 is just barely over .500, and only a similarly weak record from Pittsburgh has kept Washington within potential reach of home ice advantage.
The special teams are in the same range as they have been for quite awhile for the Capitals. The power play is a strength as always, and is fourth in the league. The penalty kill hasn't quite been terrible, but the 18th place 81% is nothing to be happy about.
It is the start of a back to back for the Caps, and the second game is against the mighty-looking Ducks. Based on that we might see Justin Peters take the net in Ottawa, but given his numbers as this year I'd guess we're more likely to see them ride Braden Hotlby in both games.
Dmitry Orlov, Aaron Volpatti and John Erskine start the week on IR for Washington.
Blue Jackets @ Senators
Prev game : Blues, Friday, February 6th
Next game : Kings, Monday, February 9th
Hot : Nick Foligno - 3P (3A) in last 3 GP
Cold : Brandon Dubinsky - 0P in last 4 GP
Injuries have really decimated the Blue Jackets this season. While they "only" have five players on IR right now, they've lost more man-games to injury than any other team this season.
All of that has lead to a team that is probably better than their 21-23-3 record would indicate, but it's tough to really tease just how much better out of the info we have on hand.
Their possession numbers have been brutal - at 5 on 5, they're 26th in the league, ahead of only Buffalo (naturally), Colorado, Calgary and Toronto. But the flip is their PDO - they have the 5th lowest PDO in the league at 5 on 5, indicating that while their lack of success is partially systematic, it's also being driven further down by bad luck. Again, the injuries come in to play here as well. Do their possession numbers remain that low with a healthy roster? Does their shooting percentage go up with fewer call-ups?
One problem that isn't coming from injuries is the goaltending. At 3.12 GA/GP, Columbus is 26th in the league. Sergei Bobrovksy has an underwhelming .913 SV% on the season. Former Senator Curtis McElhinney hasn't inspired confidence with his .907, though he's got a respectable .924 since Bobo was injured. Third string Anton Forsberg has the worst numbers of the three with a .841, but in only 79:13 of play.
Those five players mentioned as being on IR earlier are Nathan Horton (who hasn't played this season, and may never play again), Brian Gibbons, Boone Jenner, Jeremy Morin and Sergei Bobrovsky.