Canucks @ Senators
Prev game : Flames, Saturday, October 14th (5-2 L)
Cold : Everyone
Injured : Brendan Gaunce (IR - shoulder), Alexander Edler (IR - MCL)
Last week, I thought that the Canucks would be the easiest opponent; the Sens didn’t find it that way. After romping through Alberta with back-to-back six goal outbursts, Ottawa faces a Vancouver squad that lost 5-2 to the Flames, and more importantly, lost top-pairing defender Alex Edler to injury.
Last Tuesday, the Sens won the shot share with everyone on the ice except Hoffman - Pageau - Pyatt. Even looking at the game’s shot locations, if it wasn’t for Jakob Markstrom (who got shelled in the ‘Nucks last contest), Ottawa should’ve won in regulation. Edler’s absence will cause a ripple effect through Vancouver’s top-four, and will likely lead to Ben Hutton moving up in his absence. Look for Guy Boucher to try and take advantage of that at home.
Devils @ Senators
TSN, RDS, MSG+
Prev game : Lightning, Tuesday, October 17th
Cold : Damon Severson - 1P (1A) in 5 games
Injured : Travis Zajac (IR - chest), Brian Boyle (IR - leukemia), Michael McLeod (IR - knee)
I don’t think I was alive when the New Jersey Devils were this exciting, and interestingly, it’s been their college free agent (Butcher) and late-round pick (Bratt), producing over their first-round picks (Hischier, Zacha). John Hynes’ players have been excellent at getting to the ‘U-shaped’ area around the net, often trying to beat defenders wide with speed or with cross-ice passes in the offensive zone.
Now, the Devils — widely expected to be at the bottom of the Metropolitan division — have been on a hot streak in terms of both shooting percentage and save percentage this season. Basically: it’s easy to win games when you’re shooting 12% (average ~8%) and your goaltenders are stopping 96% of the pucks (average - 91-92%), but that kind of stuff can happen over short periods. The Bratt line (with Adam Henrique and Taylor Hall) have definitely been the most dangerous — who should Boucher utilize to contain them?
Maple Leafs @ Senators
CBC, CITY, TVAS
Prev game : Wings, Wednesday, October 18th
Cold : -
Injured : Joffrey Lupul (IR), Nathan Horton (IR)
The Leafs have started off the season strong, and have been a part of many high-scoring games. Basically, they’re who many expected them to be this season: high-end forwards, ‘okay’ defenders, and a goalie. Their offensive zone strategy? Skip the perimeter and take the highway straight down to the front of the net, where they’ve been flooding opposing goaltenders with high-danger shots. With eight players hovering around a point-per-game to start the season, Ottawa will need #TheSystem to be in full effect in order to try and contain Toronto’s firepower.
In net, Freddie Andersen has started the year with a .880sv%, likely owing a bit to a few goals he’d like back and the high-danger chances the Leafs have been allowing in the middle of the ice. Of course, now that I’m expecting a high-scoring contest, the game will actually end 2-1 in a shootout, but this has the potential to be a fun instalment in the Battle of Ontario.