The Ottawa Senators will return to action after the all-star game starting with tonight's game in Florida against the Panthers. Ottawa was fortunate to take a point against Calgary but is now 6-1-2 in their last nine games after starting January with a pair of regulation losses to Washington. The Panthers are just about in touching distance of a playoff spot, being four points behind the Flyers for the final spot. They won their final game before the break, but lost four in a row before the win.
The only change for tonight is that Chris Neill will return to the lineup in the place of Curtis Lazar, who will be a healthy scratch. Mark Borowiecki will also be a healthy scratch while Mike Condon will start in net. Here are the expected lines and pairings.
Smith - Brassard - Stone
Dzingel - Turris - Ryan
Hoffman - Pageau - Pyatt
Wingels - Kelly - Neil
Methot - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Claesson - Wideman
Some notes for tonight:
- The Senators largely play against non-playoff teams for the next month and a half. The main concern now shouldn't be whether Ottawa makes the playoffs but if they can get home ice in the first round.
- Of the Senators final 35 games, 21 (or 60%) will be on the road. The 35 games will be played over a course of 69 days. Nice.
- Erik Karlsson might have gone almost two months without a goal, but on the bright side his shooting is 6.5%, his sacred number!
- Tonight will be Karlsson's 297th consecutive regular season game.
- Craig Anderson should be back in a couple of weeks, but Mike Condon has done an incredible job keeping the team afloat with no rest. I was questioning the fifth round pick for someone that was freely available earlier, but it has been well worth it.
- Mark Stone never gets too many shots on goal but this is his lowest shots per game season of his career. Luckily for him, he is shooting 19% this season. Although he is 16% for his career so that might not be too much of an outlier for him.
- Ottawa is actually almost within touching distance of the division title. They are seven points behind Montréal with three games in hand.
- Mark Borowiecki a healthy scratch? Never thought I would see the day, brings a tear to the eye.
- Mike Hoffman is getting 47 seconds more of power play time per game than he did last season. Erik Karlsson is receiving 53 seconds fewer than he did last season.
- Karlsson is playing 62 seconds more per game on the penalty kill than he did last season.
- James Reimer was supposed to start but with his wife April giving birth, it will be Roberto Luongo in net for Florida.
Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from Corsica.
|Goals||Kyle Turris||17||Vincent Trocheck||18|
|Points||Erik Karlsson||39||Vincent Trocheck||34|
|Shots||Mike Hoffman||124||Aaron Ekblad||161|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||26:58||Aaron Ekblad||22:21|
|Zone, Score and venue adjusted Corsi %||47.33%||26th||50.97%||10th|
|Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick %||47.64%||25th||50.70%||13th|