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Game 77 preview: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning on 2 April 2015.

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators will look to keep the pressure on the Boston Bruins when they host the depleted Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. Ottawa dominated Detroit on Tuesday, but needed a late equaliser and a shootout to win. The Lightning were without Victor Hedman, Jason Garrison and Braydon Coburn on defence and lost 3-1 in Toronto, also on Tuesday.

The Senators will be unchanged meaning Colin Greening and Jared Cowen will be the healthy scratches again. Andrew Hammond will start in net. Here are the lines and pairings from Gord Wilson.

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

Methot - Karlsson
Wiercioch - Ceci
Borowiecki - Gryba

Hammond (starter)
Anderson

Some notes for tonight:

  • In case you need a reminder of how much Erik Karlsson carries this team, here is this season's zone-start adjusted breakdown of each forward's Corsi For % with and without Karlsson. MacArthur (53.8/47.5), Turris (53.9/46.4), Stone (55.6/49.1), Smith (46.1/47.3), Zibanejad (51.3/47.1), Ryan (52.2/46.1), Condra (52.2/50.5), Pageau (55.2/50.5), Lazar (55.1/48.6), Hoffman (53.2/49.8), Legwand (54.9/48.1), Chiasson (53.6/49.2).
  • Zack Smith is the only player that has a higher Corsi For percentage away from Karlsson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Erik Condra are the only players that break 50% without Karlsson.
  • Kyle Turris is tied for 15th in even strength points among centres this season.
  • Smith hasn't scored  goal since late October, spanning 23 games. He has only a single assist in that span. So why is he replacing the team's leading goal scorer? Bizarre.
  • Mark Stone has been deservedly getting a lot of praise, but keep in mind that Hoffman still has one more even strength point than Stone this season. Hoffman's demotion is really disheartening.
  • Karlsson has a league high average shift length of 61 seconds this season which is five seconds longer than Ryan Suter who has the second highest.
  • The Senators best realistic path to the playoffs would probably involve beating a depleted Lightning lineup tonight, sweeping the games against Washington and Toronto on the weekend and then taking three points in the three games against the Penguins, Rangers and Flyers.
  • The Capitals, Red Wings and Bruins all play a game against each other, opening the door a crack for the Senators to pass either Detroit or Washington should Boston beat both of them.
  • Fun fact: Patrick Wiercioch is the second best defenceman on this team. Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate but he just shakes it off.

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 Tampa Bay
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 26 Steven Stamkos 40
Assists Erik Karlsson 42 Ondrej Palat 44
Points Erik Karlsson 62 Steven Stamkos 68
Shots Erik Karlsson 271 Steven Stamkos 252
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:08 Victor Hedman 22:36

Category Ottawa Tampa Bay
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.82 12th 3.18 1st
Goals Against 2.60 14th 2.55 12th
Score adjusted Corsi % 50.7% 17th 53.7% 3rd
Score adjusted Fenwick % 49.1% 20th 53.6% 5th
Shots For 30.8 10th 29.8 16th
Shots Against 32.2 25th 27.7 5th