The Ottawa Senators will play the third game of their five game road trip when they visit the Minnesota Wild tonight. After losing in Montréal on Saturday, the Senators lost in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Tonight they will play a Minnesota team that has lost four in a row nine of their last 10.
The Senators are four points ahead of Toronto for second place in the Atlantic Division and four points behind Montréal for first place. Ottawa's magic number to clinch a playoff spot is seven.
The Senators will be without Alex Burrows but Viktor Stålberg will return from injury tonight. Craig Anderson will start in net. Erik Karlsson will be a game time decision and I am super sad. :-( Here are the likely lines and pairings.
Dzingel - Turris - Ryan
Smith - Brassard - Stone
Hoffman - Pageau - Pyatt
Stålberg - Kelly - WIngels
Phaneuf - Ceci
Borowiecki - Wideman
Claesson - Jokipakka/Karlsson
Some notes for tonight:
- If Erik Karlsson is struggling right before the playoffs, this could be the season. I may be a bit dramatic, but this team has no chance in a playoff series without a fully functioning Erik Karlsson.
- On the bright side, Minnesota seems to be in free fall. As good a chance as any to play a team on pace for over a 100 points.
- The Wild were down two goals late against Washington before coming back to tie and eventually lose in overtime.
- Mike Hoffman had his six game points streak end on Tuesday.
- Craig Anderson played well on Tuesday, but that mistake to give away the 2-2 goal was just hideous.
- Seriously what would the club do without Erik Karlsson? You could make a decent argument for Chris Wideman being the best defenceman left on the team.
- Mark Stone is without a point in two games since returning from injury. He had five shots in those two games.
- Tuesday was just the seventh time Ottawa lost after scoring first. They are now 27-4-3 when scoring first.
- The Senators have just 14 goals in their last eight games.
- Did I mention that the Senators are screwed without Erik Karlsson?
Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from Corsica.
|Goals||Kyle Turris||26||Eric Staal||27|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson||53||Mikael Granlund||41|
|Points||Erik Karlsson||68||Mikael Granlund||66|
|Shots||Erik Karlsson||208||Eric Staal||196|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||26:52||Ryan Suter||27:05|
|Zone, score and venue adjusted Corsi %||47.83%||23rd||49.78%||20th|
|Score, Zone and venue adjusted Fenwick %||48.13%||23rd||50.21%||18th|