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Game 66 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs

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A preview of the game between Erik Karlsson's Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs on 5 March 2016.

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Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Erik Karlsson was held off the scoreboard on Thursday night against Tampa Bay but will look to get back on track against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. The Senators continued struggles and Karlsson's slowing down has narrowed his lead among the bookmakers for the Norris Trophy. One such site has Karlsson at 8/15 to win it with Drew Doughty at 7/5.

Meanwhile Ottawa's playoff hopes keep dwindling, with the Penguins now seven points clear and holding two games in hand. The Senators did receive a boost with Mark Borowiecki injured and no longer playing for an NHL team, thus Patrick Wiercioch will return.

Here are the lines and pairings:

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

Methot - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Wiercioch - Wideman

Hammond (starter)
Driedger

Some notes for tonight:

  • Karlsson needs 15 assists in the final 17 games to break Jason Spezza's club record for assists in a single season.
  • It was a loss, but Ottawa played pretty well without Borowiecki didn't they? Probably better to play a whole game with five defencemen than to have Borowiecki.
  • Bobby Ryan needs 12 points in 17 games to hit 60 for the first time as a Senator. He has slowed down a lot after a great offensive start to the season.
  • The Leafs three young promotions have been getting a lot of hype. They were the main part of a dominant Marlies team.
  • With both clubs set to miss the playoffs and with the top three picks being decided in a lottery, the main battle of Ontario will be next month.
  • Colin Greening has been doing a decent job since being traded to Toronto. He was never worth his contract but I have always thought he was a better player than some others on the roster, Chris Neil for example.
  • Assuming I can find tickets, I shall be going to the game tonight. If you have never been to a game here, you should. It is a very nice arena and makes for good banter wearing Sens colours.
  • Dion Phaneuf got booed by his teammates in practice. That will likely be a more funny preview of tonight.
  • This is typed from my phone so I apologise for any typos!

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 Toronto
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 25 Leo Komarov 18
Assists Erik Karlsson 57 Nazem Kadri 23
Points Erik Karlsson 68 Leo Komarov 35
Shots Erik Karlsson 201 Nazem Kadri 216
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 29:07 Morgan Rielly 22:35

Category Ottawa Toronto
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.82 5th 2.30 29th
Goals Against 3.06 28th 2.89 24th
Event, Score and venue adjusted Corsi % 47.4% 23rd 50.0% 17th
Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick % 46.8% 27th 48.9% 21st
Shots For 28.5 27th 31.1 6th
Shots Against 33.3 30th 30.5 19th