The Ottawa Senators will look to rebound from a poor showing on Friday when they visit the Florida Panthers tonight. With a chance to take over first place in the division, the Senators put in a terrible performance in a 3-0 loss to Carolina. Meanwhile, the Panthers have lost both games at home since going 5-0 on a road trip through the Western Conference to drop back out of a playoff spot.
The top four teams in the Metropolitan division are already pretty much assured of playoff spots. The Senators, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Bruins, Panthers along with the Islanders are competing for the three Atlantic Division spots as well as the final wild card spot.
Both Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone will be game time decisions but they both appear to be nearing a return. Fredrik Claesson will be a scratch, Craig Anderson will start in net while Curtis Lazar will be out with an injury (or a pending trade?).
If Hoffman and Stone can play, this is what the lines will look like from Bruce Garrioch.
Smith - Turris - Hoffman
Dzingel - Brassard - Stone
Blunden - Varone - Neil
Wingels - Pageau - Pyatt
Methot - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Borowiecki - Wideman
Some notes for tonight:
- Since losing four in a row between 27 December to 7 January, the Sens are 7-2-0 in games following a loss.
- Erik Karlsson had his six game points streak end on Friday.
- Unsurprisingly, the Senators have scored two goals in two games without Hoffman and Stone.
- The Senators would move back into first place in the division in points/game with a win tonight.
- A regulation loss would drop the Senators to be only two points ahead of the final playoff spot.
- Karlsson leads the NHL in blocked shots with 159. That means he is finally good on defence!
- Cody Ceci continues to be used like a top pairing defenceman. He is 23rd in the NHL in average ice time per game.
- Ryan Dzingel is in a bit of a dry spell with three points in his last 11 games.
- That bottom six for Ottawa just makes you go yikes doesn't it? And that is with Hoffman and Stone potentially in the top six.
- The Panthers will start James Reimer tonight. He has had a good season with a save percentage of 91.8.
- Aaron Ekblad is averaging over three shots a game as a defenceman. With 22 games left, he has already set a career high in shots.
- Kyle Turris is 19th in the NHL with 17 even strength goals.
Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from Corsica.
|Goals||Mark Stone||22||Vincent Trocheck||21|
|Points||Erik Karlsson||52||Vincent Trocheck||42|
|Shots||Mike Hoffman||162||Aaron Ekblad||191|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||26:48||Keith Yandle||22:09|
|Zone, Score and venue adjusted Corsi %||47.87%||23rd||50.80%||12th|
|Event, Score and venue adjusted Fenwick %||48.23%||24th||50.34%||16th|