It would be silly to call the 45th game of the season a must-win, but the fading Ottawa Senators sure could use a point or two. The Senators have gone without a regulation win in their last eight games and are just 5-10-1 in the last 16 games to slip to 12th in the Eastern Conference standings.
Thanks to a weak Pacific Division, the Los Angeles Kings are coasting towards the division title with an eight-point lead over the second place Arizona Coyotes. With a 1:00 local start (4:00 eastern), the Senators won't skate before the game. It appears that Alex Chiasson will return to the lineup and replace Max McCormick while Fredrik Claesson will replace Chris Wideman. Here are the lines in practice from yesterday, courtesy of Sylvain St-Laurent.
Ryan - Turris - Stone
Hoffman - Zibanejad - Michalek
Chiasson - Pageau - Lazar
Prince - Smith - Neil
Claesson - Karlsson
Wiercioch - Ceci
Methot - Borowiecki
Some notes for today:
- In their current run of eight games without a regulation win, the Senators have been outscored 30-12.
- Bobby Ryan does not have a point in seven of his last eight games. Mark Stone and Kyle Turris do not have a point in six of their last eight games. Mike Hoffman does not have a point in five of his last seven games.When you are leaking goals and your top forwards are not scoring, almost impossible to win.
- Drew Doughty is on pace for 49 points this season. Erik Karlsson has 45 points currently this season. If the Senators miss the playoffs, Doughty might have a chance at his first Norris Trophy.
- The Senators are three points behind the Canadiens for the final playoff spot but they are also only a single point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets who are sixth last in the NHL. In fact, the Calgary Flames are fifth last and four points back of Ottawa with two games in hand.
- Mark Borowiecki has now gone 40 consecutive games without a point. He remains on track for one of the worst offensive seasons in NHL history.
- Of the Senators defencemen playing tonight, no one except Erik Karlsson has a point in 2016.
- Anze Kopitar is expected to sign an eight-year $80 million extension.
- The Senators penalty kill has allowed 35 goals, second only to the Winnipeg Jets who have allowed 38.
- Alex Chiasson will play for the first time since 4 January.He does not have a goal since 7 November.
- Do you guys have anything to be excited by right now with this team? Except that Erik Karlsson might win the Norris Trophy?
- I would like to wish good luck to the New England Patriots, the official NFL team of Silver Seven Sens, in their playoff game today.