With a playoff spot all but clinched, the Ottawa Senators will look to further cement home ice advantage in the first round when they play the Boston Bruins tonight. Ottawa is currently second in the division, two points ahead of Boston with two games in hand.
The Senators have won two in a row and will look to win three in a row for the first time since mid-January. The Bruins have won eight of their previous 10 games to climb back into playoff position. Ottawa won the only meeting against Boston this season but the two clubs will play three more times including tonight.
Dion Phaneuf is sick and may not play tonight, otherwise the lineup is expected to be the same with Craig Anderson starting. Here are the likely lines and pairings.
Burrows - Brassard - Stone
Dzingel - Turris - Smith
Hoffman - Pageau - Pyatt
Stålberg - Kelly - Wingels
Methot - Karlsson
Phaneuf - Ceci
Borowiecki - Wideman
Some notes for tonight:
- Ottawa will play 19 games in 35 days to end the season, including five games during the final seven days of the season.
- A regulation win tonight would leave Ottawa four points ahead of Boston with two games in hand and Boston having 16 games left. A regulation loss would leave them level on points. A big game tonight then eh lads and lassies?
- Erik Karlsson was really flying on Saturday wasn't he? Fantastic performance. He has 17 points in 16 games after the all-star break. I really feel he should be taking more risks because he is quick enough to get back if things don't work out.
- Aside from a 3-2 loss to Buffalo on 14 February, Craig Anderson has a save percentage of 91.9% or higher in every game since his return. He has a 93.0 save percentage in 27 games this season.
- Both Alex Burrows and Viktor Stålberg have scored since joining Ottawa.
- After tonight, the Senators have just six of their remaining 18 games at home.
- If Dion Phaneuf can't go, Fredrik Claesson will take his place in the lineup.
- There is a decent chance that Ottawa and Boston will play each other in the playoffs.
- Remember when Brad Marchand used to be seen as a very effective pest? He's become a superstar player now, being on pace for 85 points this season.
- Patrice Bergeron is shooting just 6.8% on 235 shots this season.
- Ottawa has scored the second most empty net goals in the NHL with 15 and allowed the fewest empty net goals with 2.
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||Brad Marchand||29|
|Assists||Erik Karlsson||45||Brad Marchand||38|
|Points||Erik Karlsson||56||Brad Marchand||67|
|Shots||Mike Hoffman||176||Patrice Bergeron||235|
|Average Ice time||Erik Karlsson||26:41||Zdeno Chara||23:13|
|Zone, score and venue adjusted Corsi %||47.88%||23rd||55.10%||1st|
|Score, Zone and venue adjusted Fenwick %||48.39%||24th||55.95%||1st|