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Game 56 preview: Colorado Avalanche @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of the game between Erik Karlsson's Ottawa Senators and the Colorado Avalanche on 11 February 2016.

USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators look to rebound from an uninspiring loss last night to the Detroit Red Wings, as the team takes on the Colorado Avalanche. For those keeping score (Adnan, mostly), Erik Karlsson did get an assist last night, giving him a five-assist cushion atop the league. Newly-acquired Dion Phaneuf will make his Senators home debut. As per the Senators' Twitter account, Andrew Hammond will get tonight's start after Craig Anderson started last night, while Patrick Wiercioch will replace Chris Wideman. Here are tonight's lines:

Hoffman - Turris - Ryan
Smith - Pageau - Stone
Prince - Zibanejad - Chiasson
Dzingel - Lazar - Neil

Methot - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Borowiecki - Wiercioch

Hammond (starter)
Anderson

Here is NHL.com's prediction of the Avs' lineup:

Grigorenko - MacKinnon - Duchene
Landeskog - Soderberg - Comeau
Tanguay - Mitchell - Iginla
McLeod - Wagner - Martinsen

Beauchemin - Johnson
Holden - Barrie
Bigras - Bodnarchuk

Varlamov (starter)
Pickard

Some notes for tonight:

  • Karlsson's club assist record watch: he needs 23 assists in 27 games to break Jason Spezza's club record of 71 assists in a single season.
  • Phaneuf played 21:42 last night in his team debut, and seemed to settle in after some early nerves
  • Zack Smith now has goals in three games in a row. He's a career 8.9% shooter, but has scored on 19% of his shots on goal this season
  • My semi-annual reminder that Alex Tanguay still plays in the NHL
  • Did you remember François Beauchemin signed with the Avs in the summer? Me neither.
  • Look at Mikhail Grigorenko on the top line after failing to crack a terrible Sabres team three years in a row. I think this may be an attempt to rejuvenate his career, because 15 points in 48 games is hardly top-line production
  • Seriously, how is this Avs team in a playoff spot?
  • Oh, there are only five Western Conference teams with a positive goal differential.
  • Meanwhile, the Sens are five points out of a playoff berth. The Penguins hold the final wild card spot, but they have two games in hand on the Sens entering tonight's action.
  • Mike Hoffman's 23 goals have him in a tie for 10th in the NHL. Remember when he was a fourth-line player?
  • Tonight's game features the league's two worst teams by shot differential per game: the Sens at -4.7, and the Avs at -3.6

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.

Category Ottawa Colorado
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 23 Matt Duchene
24
Assists Erik Karlsson 49 Carl Soderberg
27
Points Erik Karlsson 60 Nathan MacKinnon
43
Shots Erik Karlsson 159 Nathan MacKinnon 185
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 28:52 Francois Beauchemin
25:12

Category Ottawa Colorado
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.80 6th 2.66 12th
Goals Against 3.07 28th 2.77 23rd
Event, Score and venue adjusted Corsi % 46.8% 25th 44.0% 30th
Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick % 46.4% 27th 45.5% 29th
Shots For 28.3 26th 28.2 27th
Shots Against 33.0 30th 31.8 28th