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Game 72 preview: San Jose Shorks @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks on 23 March 2015.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators can move into a playoff spot with a win or an overtime loss when they host the San Jose Sharks tonight. The Senators beat the Maple Leafs 5-3 to continue their ridiculous run with their sixth straight win and improved to 14-1-1 in their last 16 games. The Shorks lost 2-0 in Montréal and are six points behind the Flames for a playoff spot.

Zack Smith (remember him kids!?) and Colin Greening will return to the lineup for the injured Milan Michalek and Matt Puempel. Here are the lines from Gord Wilson.

Hoffman - Zibanejad - Ryan
Stone - Turris - Chiasson
Condra - Pageau - Lazar
Greening - Smith - Legwand

Methot - Karlsson
Wiercioch - Ceci
Borowiecki - Gryba

Hammond (starter)
Driedger

Some notes for tonight:

  • Did I mention Ottawa can move into a playoff spot tonight?
  • On a more important note, Erik Karlsson needs 12 points in 11 games to hit 70 for the season. He needs two goals to break his own club record for goals by a defenceman.
  • If Mike Hoffman can get five more goals, he will become the eighth ninth different Ottawa Senator to get 30 goals.
  • My good friend Patrick Wiercioch has five points in his last seven games.
  • After scoring just five goals in three games, Ottawa has scored 11 in the last two.
  • Alex Chiasson had 13:40 of ice time against Toronto, the first time he has been over 10 minutes since 6 March.
  • Tonight will be Zack Smith's first game since 13 December. He has played only two games under Dave Cameron. His last goal was on 28 October.
  • Erik Condra's nine goals are a career high, passing the eight goals that he had in 2011-2012. He needs four more points to match the career high of 25 that he had in the same season.
  • The Senators have eight guys with 10+ goals, another two players at nine goals and Jean-Gabriel Pageau's five goals in 39 would also be a 10 goal pace over a full season. Curtis Lazar is the only regular forward not scoring at a 10 goals or higher pace over 82 games.
  • Does anyone else find it a little odd that the team would opt to play Colin Greening instead of recalling Shane Prince? It would cost Eugene Melnyk a little extra for a few days, but Dave Cameron has made it clear that he didn't want to play Colin Greening by continuing to play both Prince and Matt Puempel over him.

Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from www.puckon.net.

Category Ottawa San Jose
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 25 Joe Pavelski 34
Assists Erik Karlsson 39 Joe Thornton 48
Points Erik Karlsson 58 Joe Thornton 65
Shots Erik Karlsson 257 Logan Couture 237
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:03 Brent Burns 23:58

Category Ottawa San Jose
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.84 8th 2.72 16th
Goals Against 2.56 14th 2.72 20th
Score adjusted Corsi % 50.8% 17th 51.0% 15th
Score adjusted Fenwick % 49.1% 20th 50.8% 17th
Shots For 30.9 10th 31.2 5th
Shots Against 32.4 25th 29.8 16th