Blues @ Senators
Prev game : @Flyers, Monday, February 6th
Cold : Nail Yakupov - 0P in last 12 GP
Injured : Kyle Brodziak (IR)
If there’s a team that is ripe for the picking, it’s a team that just fired their coach.
The Blues looked like a team that was going to rally after the coaching change with a blowout over the Leafs, but it was back to being on the receiving end the very next game.
Of course, the real problem with the Blues wasn’t Ken Hitchcock, it’s that the goaltending has been disastrously bad. Jake Allen and Carter Hutton are both posting save percentages below .900. A coaching change isn’t going to change that.
They can still score, though. They’re not exactly leading the league, but at just under a clip of 3 goals per game. If whoever they’ve got in the net is having a good night, that’s enough to be dangerous.
Stars @ Senators
Prev game : @Maple Leafs, Tuesday, February 7th
Cold : Esa Lindell - 0P in last 14 GP
Injured : Mattias Janmark (IR), Ales Hemsky (IR), Jamie Oleksiak (IR), Johnny Oduya (IR), Jason Spezza (IR)
Moving up a couple of spots on the goaltending ranking from St. Louis, we’ve got the Dallas Stars.
The Stars are actually in a pretty similar position to the Blues, apart from the coaching change. They’ve got decent scoring, but are being let down in the net. Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi are both putting up the worst save percentage of their careers.
They are a team that has been bitten somewhat by the injury bug. Patrick Sharp is probably the only major player that has missed a lot of time this season, but it’s been largely a rotating cast on the injury list. They only have two players - Tyler Seguin and Devin Shore - that have managed to dress for all 53 of their games so far.
Islanders @ Senators
Prev game : @Flyers, Thursday, Feburary 9th
Cold : Nikolay Kulemin - 0P in last 4 GP
Injured : Mikhail Grabovski (IR), Travis Hamonic (IR), Cal Clutterbuck (DTD)
The Islanders haven’t been having a very good season. They entered 2017 9 points out of the playoffs and dead on 500. News breaks at the end of January that they might not have a home in a few seasons.
But they have been creeping up the standings. They’ve closed the gap to 5 points out of the last wild card position, and have three games in hand. They have put up more points in their last 10 games than almost every other team in the East. Washington and Pittsburgh are the only Eastern teams to have won more games in their last 10, with only the Caps actually putting up more points.
They’ve done it with a kind of similar feel to Ottawa - wins against the top teams, but losses to Carolina (twice) and Detroit.
They’re going to need that pace to continue if they want to stand a shot at that wild card position. They control their destiny against the team that currently holds it, Philadelphia, but there are three other teams sitting above them that can also say the same thing. And while they’ve gained on Philly, they haven’t really moved up out of the Eastern basement - they were two points up on last in the Conference then, and they’re two points up on it now.