Senators @ Lightning
Prev game : Flames, Thursday, February 23rd
Cold : J.T. Brown - 0P in last 6 GP
Injured : Steven Stamkos (IR), Ryan Callahan (IR), Jonathan Drouin (DTD)
The Lightning are probably out, right? Seven points down on 8th at this point in the season, and three other teams between them too. That’s a huge hill to try to climb. They’re dipping their toes into the seller’s market too, shipping out Ben Bishop to LA.
Tampa probably should be doing better. They’ve been near the top of the league for Corsi %, and have had great shot suppression. Shooting and save percentages have both been low, but only a little below average. Their play hasn’t been too far off from previous, successful seasons, but the results haven’t quite been there. Stamkos being out for most of the season hasn’t helped, but that hasn’t exactly been uncommon in recent years and hasn’t sunk things like this before.
While the potential for their season is pretty much shot, their potential in single games is still there somewhere.
Avalanche @ Senators
Prev game : @Flyers, Tuesday, February 28th
Cold : Francois Beauchemin - 0P in last 10 GP
Injured : Seymon Varlamov (IR), Nikita Zadorov (IR), Calvin Pickard (DTD)
The Sens get to face the biggest seller on the market the day after the trade deadline, which makes it tough to predict what exactly the Avalanche will look like. Two of their top four scorers are available on the market, and recent trade returns for rentals make it seem a bit more likely that Sakic may actually get his asking price (or not have to come down too far) for one or both of them.
With or without Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, the Avs are a bad team in just about every way. The only thing they register in the top half of the league is face-off percentage, with high danger scoring chances against being in the middle of the pack. Everything else, both standard and advanced, is bottom 10 with the end result of goals for and against per game both being dead last.
This is the closest you’ll see to a “gimme” this season, as long as the Sens don’t take them for granted.
Blue Jackets @ Senators
Prev game : Wild, Thursday, March 2nd
Cold : Markus Nutivaara - 0P in last 14 GP
Injured : David Clarkson (IR), Lukas Sedlak (IR), Matt Calvert (DTD)
The Blue Jackets continue to click along at a strong pace. They had a very good weekend coming off of their bye-week, absolutely steam rolling over the Isles and a strong victory over the Rangers.
They’re like the reverse Colorado, and are near the top of the league in many aspects. Maybe their one weakness, relatively speaking, is a defence that relies a bit too heavily on Sergei Bobrovsky. They’re middle of the pack in terms of shots allowed, and they’re among the worst in the league for allowing shots right in front of the net.
At the opposite end of the ice, though, it’s a different story. They’ve been shooting maybe a little hot, but as bad as they are at clearing the front of their own net, they’re even better at crashing the opposition’s net. They’ve been a legitimate high end offensive force all season, and show no signs of really slowing down.