The Ottawa Senators play easily their most important game in the post-Daniel Alfredsson era when they host the Boston Bruins tonight. The Senators have gone 12-1-1 in their last 14 games to close the gap to the Bruins to four points for the final playoff spot. A regulation win tonight would leave Ottawa just two points back and with a game in hand.
The Senators will make just one change with the meh Jared Cowen replaced by the just as meh Eric Gryba. Andrew Hammond will start in net. Here are the lines and pairings from Gord Wilson.
Hoffman - Zibanejad - Ryan
Michalek - Turris - Stone
Lazar - Pageau - Condra
Puempel - Legwand - Chiasson
Methot - Karlsson
Wiercioch - Ceci
Cowen - Borowiecki
This game is rather...big.
Some notes for tonight:
- Ottawa should really try and win this one. Sixty minutes, try hard, get the puck in deep, keep the shots to the outside, no second chances, drive to the net, keep it simple, play for the man next to you.
- The Senators second best defenceman, Patrick Wiercioch, has four points in five games now.
- Erik's and Patty's sidekicks are also doing a good job of holding up their end and giving the club two good pairings.
- Erik Karlsson is seven points away from 300 for his career. Very good chance that he gets there by the end of the season.
- Nine more points will bring Karlsson to 65 points for the season and would be the third time has had 65 or more since 2011-2012. No other defenceman has done it even once in that span.
- Is tonight the night Curtis Lazar gets an assist for the first time since 13 November?
- Is the Jared Cowen dream over? Are there still people left that hold out hope for him? I guess no one held any hope for the Senators a few weeks ago either. Miracles do happen once in a while.
- How good was Kyle Turris (and Erik for that matter) on that overtime winner on Tuesday?
- The Senators have won their last three games by a 2-1 score.
Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from www.puckon.net.
|Goals||Mike Hoffman||24||Brad Marchand||22|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson||38||Dougie Hamilton||30|
|Points||Erik Karlsson||56||Patrice Bergeron||48|
|Shots||Erik Karlsson||248||Patrice Bergeron||200|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||27:03||Zdeno Chara||22:59|
|Score adjusted Corsi %||50.6%||18th||52.8%||8th|
|Score adjusted Fenwick %||48.9%||21st||51.6%||13th|