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Game 18 Preview: Arizona Coyotes @ Ottawa Senators

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The NHL’s last place team makes the trip to Ottawa

Arizona Coyotes v Ottawa Senators Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images

The Arizona Coyotes are off to a historically bad start. Now over a month and a half into the regular season, they just picked up their first regulation win on Thursday, 5-4 against the Montreal Canadiens. The Senators, meanwhile, are currently on the playoff bubble with the second wild card spot, although have games in hand on every team. They are 5-3-2 in their last ten.

With Zack Smith injured, Guy Boucher made the interesting decision of playing Chris Wideman at forward versus the Penguins. Wideman left the game injured with a torn hamstring, so they called up Ben Harpur to potentially take his place. Either him or Nick Paul will draw into the lineup, while Wideman’s expected to be out for ‘weeks’. Mike Condon will also get the start, playing his first game since the trip to Sweden last week.

Lineup decisions are unknown at this point, but for now here is my best guess based on Thursday’s game:

Here are some notes for tonight:

  • Arizona’s disastrous nine points in 21 games seems irreversible at this point, and it’s only November. They added two big names in the offseason in Derek Stepan and Niklas Hjalmarsson, although the plan just doesn’t seem to be coming together.
  • The one bright spot for the Coyotes this season has been rookie Clayton Keller, who appears to be the current frontrunner for the Calder trophy. He leads all rookies with 11 goals an 18 points, meaning he’s helped on over a third of Arizona’s goals.
  • Matt Duchene is still looking for his first point in a Sens uniform. He’s spent most of his time next to Ryan Dzingel, forming what could possibly be the fastest duo in the league. Bobby Ryan caps off the line on right wing.
  • Mike Hoffman’s four posts/crossbars hit this season is tied for the lead league, with Vegas’ Reilly Smith. His 23 since 2015-16 have him in sole possession of the #1 spot. If only he were a little more accurate, 40 goals might not be out of the question. He’s currently on pace for 29, which is his current career high.
  • The Coyotes have one player looking for his first NHL goal: defenceman Dakota Mermis. Pencil him in for a goal tonight.
  • The game starts at 2:00pm.

Here are some stats for the two teams, with data from NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
Category Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 3.21 9th 2.73 23rd
Goals against/GP 3.05 19th 3.18 23rd
Shots/GP 30.9 18th 29.3 28th
Shots against/GP 29.7 4th 32.8 24th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 48.15 22nd 47.48 25th
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 50.29 14th 46.20 28th

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Player # Player #
Goals Matt Duchene 27 Brad Marchand 34
Assists Erik Karlsson (out) 53 Brad Marchand 51
Points Karlsson/Stone (both out) 62 Brad Marchand 85
Shots Mike Hoffman 253 David Pastrnak 236
TOI/GP Erik Karlsson (out) 26:44 Zdeno Chara 22:53