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Game 71 preview: Minnesota Wild @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and the Minnesota Wild on 15 March 2016.

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

There are thankfully only 12 more games left with nothing left to watch except whether Erik Karlsson can accumulate points. Currently, Karlsson has 70 points in as many games and needs a strong finish to solidify his place in history. The Senators finished February with a 5-1-0 record but have won just twice in eight games in March, with both wins coming against Toronto.

Ottawa is not expected to make any changes to the lineup and Craig Anderson should start. Here are the lines and pairings expected for tonight's game.

Smith - Pageau - Stone
Hoffman - Zibanejad - Chiasson
Dzingel - Gomez - Ryan
Paul - Lazar - Neil

Methot - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Kostka - Wideman

Anderson (starter)
Hammond

Some notes for tonight:

  • Zack Smith has scored a goal in five straight games.
  • Mark Stone has points in five straight games.
  • Jean-Gabriel Pageau had 25 points in 87 career games coming into this season. He has 35 points in 70 games this year.
  • Mike Hoffman ended a six-game pointless streak with an assist against Toronto.
  • Mika Zibanejad needs six points in the remaining 12 games to set a career high for points. He also needs 14 shots to set a career high for shots on goal.
  • Chris Neil has no points and just four shots on goal in the last 11 games. Neil has just five shots on goal in 20 games since the start of February.
  • A win tonight would be the Senators first consecutive wins since late February.
  • Ottawa is currently 10th last overall.
  • The Senators need to finish the season around 11-1-0 to have a 50-50 shot at the playoffs.
  • Karlsson is still comfortably in the league lead for assists but he is in danger of dropping out of the top five in points. He is fourth with 70 points but three players are at 69 points with multiple games in hand.
  • The game against Toronto was the first time in the regular season since January 2014 that Karlsson had neither a point or a shot on goal.
  • Bobby Ryan doesn't have a great Corsica, but his -13 plus-minus  is also the second lowest on the team.

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 Minnesota
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 25 Charlie Coyle 21
Assists Erik Karlsson 58 Ryan Suter 37
Points Erik Karlsson 70 Mikko Koivu 46
Shots Erik Karlsson 211 Zach Parise 193
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 29:04 Ryan Suter 28:39

Category Ottawa Minnesota
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.80 7th 2.62 18th
Goals Against 3.03 27th 2.46 7th
Event, Score and venue adjusted Corsi % 47.6% 22nd 48.4% 21st
Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick % 47.2% 23rd 49.3% 19th
Shots For 28.2 28th 29.1 20th
Shots Against 33.3 30th 28.8 8th