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Sens Week Ahead: Feb 14 to 20

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It's do-or-die time

It's the officials in the background that really make this picture
It's the officials in the background that really make this picture
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Sabres @ Senators

Tuesday, February 16th, 7:30pm
TSN5

Prev game : Avalanche, Sunday, February 14th
Next game : @Blue Jackets, Friday, February 19th

Hot : Ryan O'Reilly - 7P (7A) in last 6 GP
Cold : Matt Moulson - 0P in last 7 GP
Injured : Cody McCormick (IR), Tyler Ennis (IR), Zemgus Girgensons (IR), Johan Larsson (DTD), Daniel Catenacci (IR)

It was looking like the Sabres might be finally getting a boost up out of the basement this season with the return of Robin Lehner. Despite being shelled consistently, had only allowed more than two goals once and only below a .943 once... until Tuesday at least. Then he was completely blown out against Florida, and laid an egg against Philadelphia.

Despite Lehner's solid performance for that stretch the wins still weren't coming very well for the Sabres, and there's a good reason why - they're still terrible. I mentioned Lehner getting consistently shelled. Buffalo has allowed an average of almost 35 shots against per game in the past 10 games, a number that's been steadily trending up. Their shots for have largely remained level since the end of November, but at a level that is middle of the pack and not keeping pace with their shots against.

Jack Eichel is having quite the rookie year. While he's well (well) behind in assists, he's only two out of the rookie goal scoring lead. He's benefiting from some prime ice time though - he's third on the Sabres for power play minutes.

Hurricanes @ Senators

Thursday, February 18th, 7:30pm
TSN5

Prev game : Jets, Tuesday, Feburary 16th
Next game : Sharks, Friday, February 19th

Hot : Jordan Staal - 6P (1G, 5A) in last 4 GP
Cold : Eric Staal - 0P in last 5 GP
Injured : James Wisniewski (IR), Justin Faulk (DTD)

Believe it or not, the Carolina Hurricanes have clawed their way up on to the playoff bubble.  They're still on the outside looking in, but being within sniffing distance of a playoff spot is an improvement over how they have finished in their past few seasons.

Will they make it? Well, their possession numbers have been solid all season long but then they were last year too. The key is actually capitalizing on those numbers, and the Hurricanes haven't been able to do that. Their team shooting percentage has been near the bottom of the league, and the goaltending wasn't there either. The shooting percentage has been moving upwards, but the goaltending?

Cam Ward continues to be Cam Ward. His .909 save percentage isn't very good, and is only .001 off of his career average. Eddie Lack has been, well, lacking. While he hasn't had a long career, his numbers so far in Carolina are far worse than what his numbers in Vancouver were. Obviously not what the Canes were hoping for when they gave up a pair of draft picks for him.

Red Wings @ Senators

Saturday, February 20th, 7pm
City

Prev game : @Penguins, Thursday, February 18th
Next game : @Rangers, Sunday, Feburary 21st

Hot : Pavel Datsyuk - 6P (3G, 3A) in last 4 GP
Cold : Dylan Larkin - 0P in last 2 GP
Injured : Johan Franzen (IR), Drew Miller (IR), Niklas Kronwall (IR)

The Red Wings continue to be what might best be described as a lukewarm team. They're only a point above 500 in their last 10 games, and only two points above it in their last 25. Still, in the Atlantic Division this season, that's enough for them to still be holding on to a divisional playoff spot.

The scoring continues to be pretty well distributed, and nobody really getting too cold. I mentioned last week that they had yet to be shut out this season, and that hasn't changed in the past three games.

At the other end of the rink, Petr Mrazek had a pretty good week on average. He blanked Florida and allowed only one against Ottawa. He was slightly off against Colorado with a .905, but that still only amounted to two goals against.