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Game 26 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Anaheim Ducks

Californiaaaaaaaaaaaaa, here we coooooooooooooooooome!

Ottawa Senators v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The weekend was a bit of an emotional ride. On Friday, the Senators snapped their seven-game losing streak with a big 6-5 win over the Islanders. The offence was humming, Thomas Chabot scored three points, Ryan Dzingel scored two goals, Mike Condon looked fantastic in relief. That quickly gave way to Sunday though, when the Sens got outshot 49-21 by the Jets, and maybe the best Senator of the game was Mark Stone who had two shots on goal.

So now the team heads out on the dreaded California road trip, with their season in freefall. During the Hamburglar run of 2015, the California trip sweep started the Sens’ late-season resurgence. This time it comes earlier in the season, but it’s hard to see it as anything other than a make-or-break point for the playoffs. Sweeping California could see the Sens in a playoff spot, or at least within a couple points with a couple games still in hand. Dropping a game or two would be like treading water. Losing all three in regulation would likely lead to four months of “They’re not mathematically eliminated, but...”

Mark Stone missed practice yesterday with an illness due to his parents watching a crushing defeat, but is expected to play tonight. Ben Harpur will draw back in, but Boucher hasn’t revealed who will be scratched if Stone is good to go. My guess is Freddie Claesson based on yesterday’s pairings. Here’s my guess at the lineup:

Stone - Brassard - Ryan
Smith - Duchene - Dzingel
Hoffman - Pageau - Dumont
Burrows - Thompson - Pyatt

Harpur - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Chabot
Oduya - Ceci

Anderson (starter)

Here are some thoughts on tonight’s game:

  • With both Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler hurt, the Ducks should really be a joke right now. Former (primarily Binghamton) Senator Derek Grant was their 1C until the Adam Henrique trade.
  • Alexandre Burrows played 9:26 on Sunday, after just 6:47 against the Isles. That’s his second-lowest total as a Senator, slightly ahead of the 6:02 he had in Game 3 against the Penguins before his season-ending injury.
  • Thomas Chabot played 22:21 on Sunday, showing he may be starting to earn Boucher’s trust (albeit in a terrible game). In terms of share of 5v5 shot attempts, Chabot and Fredrik Claesson were tied for best on the team with 43%. What’s impressive was Chabot’s came in an extra 7:04 of ice time
  • Do you know who was worst in terms of share of 5v5 shot attempts? Burrows, with a paltry 19%. To be fair though, only Dzingel and Oduya finished above 50%.
  • Erik Karlsson is now in unprecedented territory — nine games without a point. It’s not a stretch to say this team lives or dies by his scoring. Unless, apparently, Chabot steps up
  • Craig Anderson has an .895 and Mike Condon has a .904 save percentage. If we bumped these up to their career averages of .916 and .908 respectively, the Sens would’ve allowed 19 fewer goals thus far. Considering six goals’ difference is generally equated to a win, that’s three more wins the Sens should have if their goaltenders weren’t below their career averages. Consider: the Sens are only five points behind the Canadiens for the Atlantic’s final playoff spot. Partly, that’s frustrating, but there’s also that glimmer of hope that if the goalies (especially Anderson) figure things out, things could improve in a hurry

Here are some stats for tonight’s game, via except Corsi/Fenwick from

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 2.68 25th 3.25 6th
Goals against/GP 3.44 30th 2.56 3rd
Shots/GP 30.7 24th 32.8 11th
Shots against/GP 33.0 25th 29.3 2nd
Powerplay % 16.7 26th 23.5 4th
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

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