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Game 60 Preview: Senators at Sharks

A preview of the game on February 28th between the Senators and Sharks in San Jose.

That's great stick-work there by Alex Stalock
That's great stick-work there by Alex Stalock
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Holy Hamburglars, Batman! What a difference a week makes. Suddenly, the Senators are riding a four-game win streak, including back-to-back shutouts in Anaheim and Los Angeles by Andrew Hammond. Apparently he is the second goalie ever to shut those two out consecutively on the road (the first being Steve Mason), and the first to do it in consecutive nights. I think we can all agree that if Hammond goes on to have the career of Mason... well, let's not go there. Tonight, the Sens take on the Sharks. According to practice lines, the only lineup change seems to be Matt Puempel in for Curtis Lazar.

Hoffman - Zibanejad - Ryan
Michalek - Turris - Stone
Puempel - Pageau  - Condra
Greening - Legwand - Chiasson

Methot - Karlsson
Wiercioch - Ceci
Borowiecki - Gryba

Hammond (starter)
Driedger

Antti Niemi is confirmed to get the start for the Sharks. And here are the lines the Sharks played against the Red Wings on Thursday night:

M. Karlsson - Thornton - Pavelski
Marleau - Couture - Wingels
Hertl - Sheppard - Nieto
Desjardins - Tierney - Kennedy

Vlasic - Burns
Dillon - Braun
Irwin - Hannan

Niemi (starter)
Stalock

Some notes for tonight's game:

  • Hammond deserves credit for making hockey fun to watch again, if nothing else
  • The Sens forward ice-time leaders against the Kings were Mark Stone and Erik Condra. I think that bodes well for Ottawa's off-season signings
  • Erik Karlsson only had one shot last night, only the second time since January 3rd that's happened.
  • Mike Hoffman has 21 even-strength goals, putting him in a five-way tie for fifth in the league with P. Kane, Ovechkin, Kucherov, and Seguin. The guys ahead of him? Nash, Tarasenko, Pacioretty, and Stamkos.
  • That Wiercioch-Ceci pairing is the best second pairing we've seen all season. I hope a defenceman that's not PW gets traded so that there's a reason to play those two together more often.
  • I like Lazar's game, but for Puempel to get a chance with speedy linemates must be a huge plus. Here's hoping we see a little more of what Puempel can bring to the table tonight.
  • Ottawa sits 5 points out of the playoffs, with a game in hand on the Bruins. The Sens have two games in hand on the Panthers and three on the Flyers, the other teams they're chasing. (As of 4 PM EST)
  • San Jose sits 3 points out of the playoffs, but the Wild have a game in hand.
  • Is Melker Karlsson even a real name?

  • Huh, apparently it is.

  • Will this be Niemi's last game as a Shark? He enters the game looking likely to be traded at the deadline, with the Sharks wanting to get younger in goal. Niemi is best remembered for saving my fantasy team leading the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup in 2009-10.
  • If Hammond gets another shutout, how many people do you think will explode?

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

Category Ottawa San Jose
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 21 Joe Pavelski
31
Assists Erik Karlsson 31 Joe Thornton
40
Points Erik Karlsson & Bobby Ryan
45 Joe Pavelski
56
Shots Erik Karlsson 213 Joe Pavelski
197
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 26:56 Brent Burns
24:18

Category Ottawa San Jose
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.78 15th 2.76 16th
Goals Against 2.64 18th 2.77 22nd
Corsi % 50.30% 19th 54.00% 2nd
Fenwick % 48.37% 23rd 53.63% 2nd
Shots For 30.5 13th 30.8 10th
Shots Against 32.4 26th 29.9 20th