Last year, a sweep of the California road trip started the Ottawa Senators' improbable jump back into the playoff race. This year the situation is not quite as bad with the Senators one point back of the Boston Bruins for the final playoff (although the Bruins hold two games in hand). The Tampa Bay Lightning are a further point ahead of the Bruins although with the same number of games played as Ottawa. Still, the Senators are now 11th in the east and 12th by points per game.
The Anaheim Ducks have really struggled so far this season despite having a healthy shot differential, in large part due to their inability to score. Thanks to the weak Pacific Division, they are only three points behind a playoff spot.
Here is the expected lineup for Ottawa.
Ryan - Turris - Stone
Hoffman - Zibanejad - Michalek
McCormick - Pageau - Lazar
Prince - Smith - Neil
Methot - Karlsson
Wiercioich - Ceci
Borowiecki - Wideman
Some notes for tonight:
- With Andrew Hammond dealing with a personal issue, Chris Driedger will be the backup for tonight.
- Marc Methot now has an on-ice 5-on-5 Corsi percentage of 37.7% without Erik Karlsson.
- Tonight will be the fifth game of a run of eight straight home games for Anaheim.
- Bobby Ryan has gone without a point in six of his last seven games, although he did get three points in the game that he wasn't hold off the scoreboard. He will be looking for a big game against his former team.
- Jakob Silfverberg has only three goals this season despite having 96 shots on goal. Like the rest of his teammates, he can't seem to score on his chances.
- Erik Karlsson has average 30:37 of ice time over his last 18 games playing over 31 minutes in nine of the 18 games. He needs to average 31:33 per game for the rest of the season to hit 30 minutes per game for the season.
- Kyle Turris has zero goals and five assists over his last 12 games.
- After the end of this road trip, which still has four more games, the Senators will play 20 of their last 35 at home.
- Without counting empty net goals, the Senators have not won by more than one goal on the road since the 7-4 win over Dallas on 24 November.
- Patrick Wiercioch is doing a good job carrying Mark Borowiecki, but it seems as if Methot will also need help. He doesn't appear to be capable of anchoring a pairing. The defence remains a huge issue for this team.
- With some help, Ottawa could end the night in a playoff spot. They need a win and a Bruins loss in regulation.
(Note: This article has been updated to show that Wideman is replacing Claesson)
Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from www.puckon.net. Note that Corsi is now adjusted for score as well as the venue and event type.
|Goals||Mike Hoffman||20||Corey Perry||16|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson||36||Ryan Getzlaf||22|
|Points||Erik Karlsson||45||Corey Perry||27|
|Shots||Erik Karlsson||116||Corey Perry||119|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||28:35||Cam Fowler||22:38|
|Event, Score and venue adjusted Corsi %||46.9%||25th||50.7%||13th|
|Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick %||46.3%||28th||50.0%||14th|