‘Twas just over four short weeks ago that these Senators and Rangers met. The Sens had just lost to the Coyotes in overtime, and were promptly shut out by the Rags. It was a minor blip in what to that point had been a fairly good season. How little we knew of what was to come. Ah, youth.
The Sens will once again look to redeem themselves in a must-win game, their first game at home since November 25. The good news is that just a week ago, the Sens played their best game in a few by taking the red-hot Kings to overtime in the second half of a back-to-back with travel. That seems eerily familiar to tonight. The bad news is the Sens still lost that game, and have looked even more hopeless recently.
I really don’t know what to expect with tonight’s lineup, except that Craig Anderson is the presumed starter. Ben Harpur was sent back to Binghamton, so likely Thomas Chabot draws in. Nick Paul will also play, though we’re not sure for who - likely the banged-up Nate Thomspon. Here are the projected lines:
Ryan - Duchene - Dzingel
Hoffman - Pageau - Dumont
Burrows - Paul - Pyatt
Claesson - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Chabot
Oduya - Ceci
- Somehow losing to the Sabres feels even worse than two 5-0 losses and a 3-0 loss in a seven-day span
- You gotta think that if there wasn’t an outdoor game on Saturday, Guy Boucher would’ve been fired by now. If the Sens win tonight and Saturday, that might lead to a bit longer of a chance for him behind the bench
- Likely part of the issue is teams have figure out #TheSystem, but part of it is that to my eyes at least, the system has changed. Last year the left D was closing the gap a lot more. With Mark Borowiecki hurt and Marc Methot gone, Boucher seems to be playing that a little more cautiously, and it looks disastrous to me. Of course, Ben Harpur and especially Johnny Oduya in that “fast defenceman” role probably helps no one
- I expect a Sens trade before the end of 2017. I’m hopeful it’s Cody Ceci, willing to begrudgingly accept Derick Brassard, and am sorting out whether I’ll be more devastated for Jean-Gabriel Pageau (he’s so fun!) or Mike Hoffman (he’s really good and also underpaid!)
- Erik Karlsson is somehow tied for 12th in defensive scoring despite missing six games and going on a career-high point drought.
- Among d-men with at least 3 games played, Thomas Chabot ranks third in points-per-60 with 2.43. Ahead of him are Mikhail Sergachev (2.81) and Chris Wideman (2.59) — remember him? Erik Karlsson is 14th at 1.84.
- I feel most bad for Mark Stone in all of this. He was on pace for a career-record season until the whole team decided to implode. For long stretches of the past two weeks, he’s looked like the only forward on the team who cares.
Here are some stats for the teams you may or may not want to look at (via NHL.com and NaturalStatTrick.com):
*team stats exclude last night’s games, because NHL.com is really slow to update their stats page
|Penalty Kill %||76.2||27th||83.3||4th|
|Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)||46.32||29th||53.97||2nd|
|Fenwick (5v5, SVA)||46.94||27th||54.01||1st|
|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|