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Week Ahead: IV - October 22 to 28

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Home games against the Kings and Flyers before wrapping up the week in Newark.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Sens ended last week on a high with a convincing 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs for their first win on home ice. They’ll welcome the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers to the Canadian Tire Centre for their first matchups this season, before having a rematch against the New Jersey Devils.

Kings @ Senators

Tuesday, October 24th 7:30 PM
TSN5, RDS, FS-W

Prev game : @Leafs, Monday, October 23rd
Next game : @Habs, Thursday, October 26th

Hot : Anze Kopitar - 11P (6G, 5A) in 7 games; Dustin Brown - 11P (5G, 6A) in 7 games
Cold : Tanner Pearson - 3P (1G, 2A) in 7 games
Injured : Jeff Carter (IR - ankle), Kyle Clifford (IR), Marian Gaborik (knee)

After a couple of ‘meh’ years by their standards, the Kings enter this week as the league’s only undefeated team (6-0-1). They’ve scored the third most goals in the West (Chicago, St. Louis) and have given up the least — 2 goals a game average for 14 total against. This has led to a four game winning streak and a tie for the top spot in the conference.

Under new head coach John Stevens, LA currently rocks the league’s 11th best shot attempt percentage (51.33) but have given up their fair share of scoring chance opportunities in front of the net. Like Ottawa, they appear to have a rotating cast of players on their fourth line who haven’t played very well, but Dustin Brown’s resurgence (tied for the team lead in points) has helped. They’ll be missing a top-six winger in Jeff Carter for a good portion of the season, so it’ll be interesting to see who gets those minutes: Tanner Pearson, Mike Cammalleri, Adrian Kempe? It’s important to note that the Kings will be tired coming into this matchup; they play the Leafs the night before and will have to fly into Ottawa late at night.

Flyers @ Senators

Thursday, October 26th 7:30 PM
TSN5, RDS2, NBCSN

Prev game : Ducks, Tuesday, October 24th
Next game : @Leafs, Saturday, October 28th

Hot : Shayne Gostisbehere - 11P (1G, 10A) in 8 games
Cold : Radko Gudas - 0P in 8 games
Injured : Jordan Weal (UBI), Taylor Leier (UBI), Colin McDonald (IR), Anthony Stolarz (IR)

At 5-3-0 in 8 games, the Flyers have been keeping pace in the tough Metropolitan division. Like LA, they come into this week with only 18 goals against and a +10 goal differential — marks that are good for second in the East. Like the Sens, the Flyers are in the bottom-half of the league in terms of shot metrics, with only five forwards and Radko Gudas putting up marks greater than 50%.

Looking at their offensive heat maps, the Flyers appear to get an above average amount of shots off in the high slot — something for Ottawa to watch out for given that their D can collapse in front of the net and leave this area open occasionally. On D, the Flyers let up their fair share of shots from the point, and also have a strange weakness down their right-side that wingers like Hoffman and Dzingel may be able to exploit. Unlike Nico Hischier, Nolan Patrick has struggled a bit to keep up with the pace of play to start his NHL career, but there’s certainly skill up and down this lineup. The Flyers are also extremely young on defence, with Travis Sanheim, Ivan Provorov, and Robert Hagg (2014 - 2016 drafts) all getting regular minutes on the backend.

Senators @ Devils

Friday, October 27th 7:00 PM
TSN, RDS2, MSG+

Prev game : Sharks, Friday, October 20th
Next game : Coyotes, Saturday, October 28th

Hot : Taylor Hall - 9P (1G, 8A) in 8 games; Kyle Palmieri - 7P (3G, 4A) in 7 games
Cold : Jimmy Hayes - 1P (1G) in 7 games; Damon Severson - 2P (2A) in 8 games
Injured : Travis Zajac (IR - chest), Brian Boyle (IR - leukemia), Michael McLeod (IR - knee), Cory Schneider (IR - LBI)

Well, we know about the Devils. The matchup last week was, if you looked at the score, one that you could say “got away” from Guy Boucher and the Sens. However, if you watched the game closely, you would’ve come away with the impression that the Devils very much carried the play.

As I watched the Leafs game last night, I found myself thinking that this is the plan that Ottawa tried to execute against New Jersey but couldn’t. I’d expect them to try to do the same thing on Friday, with the added complications of: no Bobby Ryan, no home ice (matchups), and this being the second half of a back-to-back. Containing Hischier, Palmieri, and Hall is going to be tough... again.