The Ottawa Senators will look to move into a playoff spot for the first time since 28 March when they visit the New York Rangers tonight. On the morning of 28 March, the Senators were coming off a 5-1 loss to the Rangers and were tied on points with Boston and had a game in hand. Since then, the Senators went 4-1-2 while the Bruins went 5-1-0, leaving them level on points once again and the Bruins holding the edge via a tiebreaker. Ottawa's strong play has allowed them to pull the Penguins, Islanders and Red Wings into the chase though. If Ottawa wins tonight, they will pass the Pittsburgh Penguins ahead of the Penguins game against the Islanders tomorrow. The Senators could also pass the Bruins depending on their result against the Panthers.
The Rangers will rest Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Marc Staal tonight. Ottawa will go with the same lineup once again. Here are the lines.
MacArthur - Turris - Stone
Hoffman - Zibanejad - Ryan
Condra - Pageau - Lazar
Smith - Legwand - Chiasson
Methot - Karlsson
Wiercioch - Ceci
Borowiecki - Gryba
Some notes for tonight:
- The 95 points by the Senators and Bruins equals the most points by a team that missed the playoffs in NHL history.
- Since 10 February, Ottawa has been 21-4-4. Andrew Hammond has obviously been a huge part of that but Mark Stone's 32 points since then are tied for the second highest in the NHL in that span. Erik Karlsson's 31 points are fourth and Kyle Turris' 30 points are tied for fifth.
- Erik's 70 point watch is now at 66 points. He needs four points in two games.
- Mike Hoffman's 26 even strength goals are tied for seventh in the NHL. His 1.47 goals per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 is third in the NHL.
- Dan Boyle admits it is not realistic for the Rangers' desperation to match Ottawa's tonight.
- The Senators have allowed three goals or more in four of their last seven wins.
- Ottawa has gone to overtime in six of the last seven games.
- Erik has averaged 29:33 of ice time in the last seven games in a span of 11 days.
- Zack Smith has three points in 35 games this year. He doesn't have a shot on goal in his last four, playing under seven minutes in each of the last two games.
- If the Senators do make the playoffs, the Rangers are currently their most likely opponent.
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||27||Rick Nash||42|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson||45||Derick Brassard||41|
|Points||Erik Karlsson||66||Rick Nash||69|
|Shots||Erik Karlsson||287||Rick Nash||304|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||27:15||Ryan McDonagh||23:08|
|Score adjusted Corsi %||50.7%||18th||50.7%||18th|
|Score adjusted Fenwick %||49.2%||20th||50.6%||18th|