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Game 78 preview: Washington Capitals @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals on 4 April 2015.

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators have kept their hopes alive with consecutive overtime wins and remain three points behind the Boston Bruins with a game in hand for the final playoff spot. Their opponents, the Washington Capitals have navigated a rather tough schedule down the stretch and can clinch a playoff spot with a regulation win tonight.

Ottawa will make no changes. Andrew Hammond starts for the third consecutive game. Jared Cowen and Colin Greening will be the healthy scratches. Here are the lines from Brent Wallace.

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:

  • So this bizarre policy of keeping Zack Smith on the second line until they suck as expected will continue eh?
  • Not counting the last two games (stats.hockeyanalysis.com isn't updated), Mika Zibanejad has 19 points during 508 minutes of 5-on-5 with Mike Hoffman and a Corsi For percentage of 52.0. In 407 minutes away from Hoffman, Zibanejad has eight points and a Corsi For percentage of 46.4%.
  • It is a similar story for Bobby Ryan who has 23 points (Corsi For percentage of 52.4) in 520 minutes with Hoffman and eight points (Corsi For percentage of 45.4) in 424 minutes without him.
  • Ryan for his part has said that he is not hurt but he just sucks right now. Some people will be impressed by this because it shows accepting responsibility, leadership or whatever.
  • Anyway the point of the rant is that Mike Hoffman is great and shouldn't be demoted.
  • Last time the two teams met, Alex Ovechkin jokingly referred to Erik Karlsson as a 140-pound player. I am not sure how to feel about this little spat between my two favourite hockey players.
  • The last time the two teams met was also Chris Phillips' last game for the Senators. Hopefully this statement is always true and we never see him play for Ottawa again. Ottawa has gone 19-5-3 since Phillips last played.
  • With Boston only playing once before Wednesday, the Senators can move into a playoff spot with wins tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday regardless of other results. With some help, it can happen as early as tomorrow.
  • The Capitals are going to play a big part in determining Ottawa's playoff hopes. After tonight's game, they visit Detroit tomorrow and are home to Boston on Wednesday.
  • Since Ovechkin joined the league in 05-06, he has 138 more goals than any other player, 44 more points than any other player, 57 more power play goals than any other player and an incredible 1,114 more shots on goal than anyone else.

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 Washington
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 26 Alex Ovechkin 52
Assists Erik Karlsson 42 Nicklas Backstrom 56
Points Erik Karlsson 62 Alex Ovechkin 79
Shots Erik Karlsson 275 Alex Ovechkin 378
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:10 John Carlson 23:08

Category Ottawa Washington
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.80 12th 2.91 6th
Goals Against 2.58 13th 2.44 7th
Score adjusted Corsi % 50.7% 18th 51.9% 3rd
Score adjusted Fenwick % 49.2% 20th 52.0% 12th
Shots For 30.8 11th 29.5 20th
Shots Against 32.2 25th 28.8 10th