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Game 51 preview: Lumbus Blue Jackets @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Lumbus Blue Jackets on 7 February 2015.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators return to action with another must-lose game when they host the Lumbus Blue Jackets tonight. The Senators are coming off a pair of 2-1 losses to New Jersey and Washington while Lumbus destroyed St. Louis 7-1 last night.

The Senators have fallen into seventh last and Lumbus would pass them on a tiebreaker with a regulation win tonight. If the Leafs manage to beat Edmonton, they too will pass the Senators and push them into fifth last in the NHL. Looking further back, the Coyotes in fourth last are four points behind Ottawa while the improving Hurricanes are six points behind Ottawa. In the realistic best case scenario of falling to third last, Ottawa would have a 1 in 7 chance at drafting Connor McDavid.

Robin Lehner will start again for Ottawa. Chris Philips, Patrick Wiercioch and Jean-Gabriel Pageau will be the healthy scratches with Alex Chiasson and Mark Borowiecki returning to the lineup. Here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent.

MacArthur - Zibanejad - Ryan
Michalek - Turris - Stone
Hoffman - Lazar - Chiasson
Condra - Legwand - Scrub

Methot - Karlsson
Scrub - Scrub
Scrub - Scrub

Lehner (starter)
Scrub

Some notes for tonight:

  • God bless you people that still find the motivation to pay to go to the games. I have tickets to see the Senators play the Leafs in Toronto at the ACC in late March and goodness gracious that should be an awful game.
  • Ottawa has 17 even strength shots on goal against Washington and 13 of them were with Erik Karlsson on the ice. Even strength shots on goal were 13-8 Ottawa with Karlsson on the ice and 18-4 Washington with Karlsson off the ice. In terms of attempted shots, it was 23-18 Ottawa with Karlsson on the ice and 34-12 Washington with Karlsson off the ice.
  • This is going to be the first time since the 1995-1996 season that Ottawa misses the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
  • Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone have been two of the bright spots this season as they both have taken a big leap in their development. Both are on pace for just under 50 points and Hoffman is on track to get close to 30 goals.
  • Tonight will be Cody Ceci's 100th NHL game.
  • I really hope Bryan Murray knows what is doing with Marc Methot. With less than four weeks to go under the trade deadline, Murray's options will be either to take whatever the best trade offer or to give in to Methot and extend him on Methot's terms. Methot gets far too much credit for Erik's play as of late but there is no doubt he's one of the rare top four defencemen on the team.
  • After several rough starts, Robin Lehner has given up exactly two goals in each of his last three games with a combined save percentage of 92.9%.
  • Remember Nick Foligno kids? He has 48 points in 49 games thanks to shooting 19% but would still have 41 points in 49 games if he had his career average shooting percentage.
  • In a shocking turn of events, Ottawa isn't controlling the play as much as they were while the likes of Chris Neil, and Mark Borowiecki were injured. But they provide grit and toughness, so the meat-heads are happy at least.

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 Lumbus
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 17 Nick Foligno 20
Assists Bobby Ryan 23 Nick Foligno 28
Points Bobby Ryan 37 Nick Foligno 48
Shots Erik Karlsson 191 Ryan Johansen 129
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:03 Jack Johnson 23:52

Category Ottawa Lumbus
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.70 16th 2.48 23rd
Goals Against 2.72 19th 3.10 26th
Corsi % 49.69% 19th 46.70% 26th
Fenwick % 47.56% 24th 46.73% 26th
Shots For 29.8 15th 27.6 26th
Shots Against 32.5 26th 32.8 28th