Panthers @ Senators
Prev game : @Canadiens, Saturday, March 28th
Next game : @Bruins, Tuesday, March 31st
Hot : Aleksander Barkov - 5P (2G, 3A) in last 3 GP
Cold : Aaron Ekblad - 0P in last 4 GP
If there is any opponent more desperate for points going in to this week than the Senators are, it's the Panthers. Three points back of Ottawa, without the game in hand on Boston, Florida's playoff chances really are on life support.
For most of the season Florida really has been playing like a bubble team, but they've stepped it up a bit recently.
They made it through their own goaltending injury issues, with Roberto Luongo only missing a handful of games. In the five games since his return, he's put up three great games against Detroit, Boston and Toronto, and a pair of sub-par games against Montreal and Tampa. Of course, with the back to back situation we might see Dan Ellis take the net in Ottawa tonight. Ellis posted a respectable .922 average in the six games with Luongo and Montoya both out.
Jaromir Jagr has proven to be a solid addition to the team. The deadline acquisition has posted 10 points in 13 games for Florida. That puts him at the head of the team in terms of points per game, well ahead of the point total leader on the team, Jonathan Huberdeau.
Nick Bjugstad is out day-to-day.
Senators @ Red Wings
Prev game : @Islanders, Sunday, March 29th
Hot : Justin Abdelkader - 6P (4G, 2A) in last 4 GP
Cold : Darren Helm - 0P in last 10 GP
The Red Wings are very close to not have much to gain or lose in the standings. They're seven points out of home ice advantage, and six points up on Ottawa in ninth place.
Jimmy Howard has not been great this season, posting a 31st place .911 save percentage. It's no wonder that Petr Mrazek may be in the process of stealing the starter's position from Howard. Mrazek hasn't exactly lit the world on fire with his play, but a .917 is a noticeable improvement.
Fortunately for Detroit, the team in front of the net continues to be a rather dominant possession team. For the full season, they rank in at third overall, and are in the top ten for both 10 and 25 game windows.
The Red Wings power play has been very successful this season. At 24.2% they sit in second, barely behind Washington for the league lead. The penalty kill, likely on the weakness of the goaltending, has not been as strong. It hasn't exactly been terrible, but it does rank at 16th overall.
Johan Franzen is on IR, while Jonas Gustavsson and and Riley Sheahan are both day-to-day.
Lightning @ Senators
Prev game : Maple Leafs, Tuesday, March 31st
Hot : J.T. Brown - 4P (1G, 3A) in last 3 GP
Cold : Victor Hedman - 0P in last 4 GP
Tampa enters the week in the hunt for the Conference lead, though as the underdog for it with only six games remaining and a three point gap to make up.
While they remain a high-possession team, they have dropped somewhat since their early success. Their last 25 games have been a still-strong 52.9% score adjusted Corsi, but it's down from the 54.5% from the games leading up to that point.
Make no mistake, they are a 5 on 5 team. Despite leading the league in goals per game, Tampa is somehow 20th on the power play. It's almost baffling at how bad the power play seems to be for a team that is otherwise an offensive powerhouse. The penalty kill has been better, and sits at ninth overall.
The biggest weakness for the Lightning has been the goaltending this season. Ben Bishop, Evgeni Nabokov (before his retirement) and Andrei Vasilevskiy have combined for an underwhelming .908. Bishop has carried the majority of the load, and has a .914 SV% on the season.
Tampa has Mattias Ohlund and Braydon Coburn on IR, and Cedric Paquette listed as day-to-day.
Capitals @ Senators
Prev game : @Canadiens, Thursday, April 2nd
Hot : Marcus Johansson - 3P (3A) in last 2 GP
Cold : John Carlson - 0P in last 5 GP
Depending on how the rest of the week goes, this game could be almost meaningless to Ottawa or be the next "most important game of the season".
Alex Ovechkin has been in an uncharacteristic mini-slump lately. He's gone three games without a point for only the third time this season, but despite that is still leading the league in goals and sits fourth overall in points in what is a very tight Art Ross race.
As usual, Nicklas Backstrom is hot on Ovechkin's heels for points, with only one fewer on the season. His 54 assists are good enough for second in the NHL.
As previously mentioned, the Capitals power play leads the league. They're just ahead of Detroit with a 24.4%. Oddly enough, their penalty kill is also one spot up on the Wings which puts it in the middle of the pack.
John Erskine is out on IR, and Jay Beagle is day-to-day.
*Rogers has not yet released the channel lineup for this Saturday