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Game 63 preview: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Ottawa Senators

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A preview of tonight’s game between the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Ottawa Senators
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators (32-22-6) take to the ice tonight to face the Columbus Blue Jackets (40-16-6) on home ice. While Lumbus is all but guaranteed to make the playoffs, tonight is another crucial game for the Sens in the Atlantic playoff race.

The division lead is looking more unlikely now sitting six points behind the Canadiens, although we still have three games in hand. Boston, Toronto and Florida are all within five points behind us, although we have at least a game in hand on all three of them.

Craig Anderson has been confirmed to start in goal tonight, making his fifth start in the last six games. Here’s the expected lineup for the Senators:

Hoffman-Turris-Burrows
Smith-Brassard-Stone
Dzingel-Pageau-Pyatt
Stålberg-Kelly-Wingels

Methot-Karlsson
Phaneuf-Ceci
Borowiecki-Wideman

Anderson (starter)
Condon

Some notes for tonight:

  • These two teams have met twice already this season, winning first 2-0 in a Mike Condon shutout on January 19th, and following that up a few days later with a crazy 7-6 overtime loss.
  • Craig Anderson’s .930 SV% this season is third best in the league with a minimum 20 games played, behind only Devan Dubnyk and Scott Darling. Since the beginning of 2017, that number has been even higher at .948.
  • One thing to look out for, however, is his high danger SV%, which ranks 28th.
  • Fredrik Claesson’s healthy scratch will be his sixth straight. The last game he played was on February 19th in a game that I don’t even want to bring up.
  • Erik Karlsson always performs well against the Jackets, with 18 points in 13 career games against them. Only twice has he been held off the score sheet.
  • On the flip side, Cam Atkinson has six goals and ten points in eleven caree games against the Sens. Considering he’s on pace for nearly 40 goals this year, the defence should definitely keep an eye on him tonight.
  • Since the turn of the year, Ottawa’s allowed only 67 goals against, tied for 5th best in the league.
  • Since the end of the Jackets’ historic 16-game win streak which saw them sweep the entirety of December, they’ve had a record 13-11-2.
  • Both of Columbus’ last two games ended 1-0, first losing to Montreal in OT, and then defeating the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
  • Something that wasn’t mentioned from last game: Alex Burrows scored his first two goals as a Senator in a heritage jersey. Coincidence? Considering the Sens have gone 9-1-3 on Throwback Thursdays, I think not.
  • Speaking of Burrows, him and Viktor Stålberg will make their second appearances in a (worse looking) Sens uniform. Let’s just hope Burrows doesn’t fall under the Wingels spell and go scoreless in his next 15+ games.

Here are some stats for the two teams tonight. All stats are from NHL.com except Corsi and Fenwick are from Corsica.

Category Ottawa Columbus
Player # Player #
Goals Mark Stone & Kyle Turris 22 Cam Atkinson 29
Assists Erik Karlsson 45 Alexander Wennberg 40
Points Erik Karlsson 55 Cam Atkinson 53
Shots Mike Hoffman 173 Cam Atkinson 188
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 26:42 Seth Jones 23:33

Category

Ottawa Columbus
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.56 20th 3.19 5th
Goals Against 2.61 12th 2.34 3rd
Zone, score and venue adjusted Corsi % 47.89% 23rd 51.47% 6th
Score, Zone and venue adjusted Fenwick % 48.39% 24th 51.51% 7th
Shots For 30.2 16th 31.0 7th
Shots Against 30.2 17th 30.2 15th