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Game 67 preview: Dallas Stars @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of the game between Erik Karlsson's Ottawa Senators and the Dallas Stars on 6 March 2016.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After another fruitless game, Erik Karlsson has gone consecutive games without a point and does not have a point in five of his last games. It has seen him drop to just an 84-points pace for the season and has Evgeny Kuznetsov just two points behind him for the Eastern Conference scoring lead.

The Senators on the other hand have gone 6-2-1 in the last nine games and closed the gap to the Pittsburgh Penguins to five points, and six points to the Detroit Red Wings. Both teams have two games in hand on Ottawa and all three clubs play at 5:00 today.

Michael Kostka will replace Patrick Wiercioch in the lineup, who is apparently banged up. Andrew Hammond is expected to start on a back-to-back.

Here are the expected lines and pairings.

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

Methot - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Kostka - Wideman

Hammond (starter)
Driedger

Some notes for tonight:

  • Karlsson needs 15 assists in the final 16 games to break Jason Spezza's club record for assists in a single season. It is looking tougher and tougher.
  • Mike Hoffman being benched in the third period is comical. Call me cynical, and I am, but Dave Cameron has no leverage to hold onto his job. If Bryan Murray asks him to keep Hoffman on a short leash for contract purposes...
  • Hoffman has 29 more shots on goal this year than any other forward on the team.
  • Zack Smith's magical year continues with last night's game winner. He now has 17 goals and 25 points on the season.
  • Since the NHL started recording ice time in 1997-1998, 15 times has a player average 29 minutes or more per game. Erik Karlsson is one of those 15.
  • Ryan Suter's average ice time of 29:24 in 2013-2014 was the highest since Nicklas Lidstrom's 29:20 in 2002-2003. Karlsson needs to average 30:35 over the final 16 games to beat that.
  • Over the last 41 games, or half a season's worth, Karlsson has averaged just under 31 minutes (30:56) of ice time per game.
  • Mark Stone is ninth in the NHL among forwards with an average ice time of 20:14 per game.
  • Ottawa is tied with the Los Angeles Kings for the most wins when trailing after two periods. The Senators are 7-22-3 when trailing after two periods. Ottawa is 18-2-1 when leading after two periods. This means Ottawa is 6-4-3 when tied after two.
  • None of those records in themselves seem that bad, it's the trailing after two periods 32 times that is killing them.
  • The Stars are just 2-5-2 in their last nine games. In four of the five regulation losses, Dallas scored three goals but allowed five or more.

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 Dallas
Player # Player #
Goals Mike Hoffman 25 Tyler Seguin 32
Assists Erik Karlsson 57 John Klingberg 43
Points Erik Karlsson 68 Jamie Benn 71
Shots Erik Karlsson 205 Tyler Seguin 255
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 29:07 Alex Goligoski 23:46

Category Ottawa Dallas
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.82 5th 3.20 2nd
Goals Against 3.05 27th 2.86 22nd
Event, Score and venue adjusted Corsi % 47.4% 23rd 53.5% 2nd
Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick % 46.9% 26th 53.2% 2nd
Shots For 28.5 27th 32.4 3rd
Shots Against 33.5 30th 29.3 11th