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Sens Week Ahead : Apr 3rd to 9th

The (regular season) end is at hand

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Senators @ Red Wings

Monday, April 3rd 7:00 PM

Prev game : Maple Leafs, Saturday, April 1st
Next game : @Senators, Tuesday, April 4th

Hot : Frans Nielsen - 3P (1G, 2A) in last 2 GP
Cold : Xavier Ouellet - 0P in last 12 GP
Injured : Johan Franzen (IR), Joe Vitale (IR), Jonathan Ericsson (IR), Ryan Sproul (IR), Luke Glendening (DTD), Anthony Mantha (DTD)

Despite the injuries on the blue line, the home and home against the Red Wings to start the week might be the best way for the Sens to flip the script from the past few weeks.

The Wings are limping a bit towards the finish line. They’ve got five wins in their last 10, but look at against who: Arizona, Colorado, Montreal, Minnesota and Carolina. They’ve allowed 29 goals in that stretch which is pretty close to their season average and is largely middle of the pack, but they have been especially shelled recently - 17 goals against in the last four games. It’s not just one goaltender to blame there - Petr Mrazek let in eight in two games, Jimmy Howard nine in the other two.

The flip side is they’ve been scoring at a similar pace. Only one of those four games was a blowout, and they won one of the other three as well. And in the last 10, they’ve only been outscored by one.

Don’t expect any favours for the Sens lagging PK - Detroit has a 25% success rate in their last 10 games, and the 6th best goal rate in that time. The Wings PK, however, has gone the other way - only 76% success rate, and 6th worst for the rate of goals allowed.

Red Wings @ Senators

Tuesday, April 4th 7:30 PM

Prev game : Senators, Monday, April 3rd
Next game : Canadiens, Saturday, April 8th

Hot : Frans Nielsen - 3P (1G, 2A) in last 2 GP
Cold : Xavier Ouellet - 0P in last 12 GP
Injured : Johan Franzen (IR), Joe Vitale (IR), Jonathan Ericsson (IR), Ryan Sproul (IR), Luke Glendening (DTD), Anthony Mantha (DTD)

There’s not a whole lot more to say about the back half of the matchup. The Wings have been largely even between home and away this season, without much of a difference in the results or process.

As mentioned, both Mrazek and Howard are on little rough stretches right now, so I’m not sure how much of a difference it really makes here. The biggest difference will come on the Ottawa side of things, depending on how the health of the roster changes in the 24 12 hours between starts.

Senators @ Bruins

Thursday, April 6th 7:00 PM

Prev game : Lightning, Tuesday, April 4th
Next game : Capitals, Saturday, April 8th

Hot : Brad Marchand - 5P (2G, 3A) in last 4 GP
Cold : Drew Stafford - 0P in last 9 GP
Injured : Tim Schaller (DTD), Frank Vatrano (DTD), Jimmy Hayes (DTD)

Given the standings, this may be the most important game of the week. It could be to secure a finish over Boston, it could be to keep that possibility open, or it could be to still scramble for that X beside Ottawa in the standings.

The Bruins go into the week riding a five game winning streak and second in the Atlantic, though with only three games left they’re running out of track to secure that a whole lot faster than the teams chasing them. That said, they lost the four games before that (including one to the Senators).

Brad Marchand isn’t just the hottest player on the Bruins lineup, he’s also sitting in third for overall league scoring and is 24 points over his previous career high. It’s maybe a little odd for a 28 year old to be having a breakout season, but that is what’s happening here.

The big thing that was been plaguing the Bs earlier this season, shooting percentage, has not been a problem since the coaching change. It jumped from 5.97% at 5v5 under Julien to 9.33% under Bruce Cassidy. This team can score again.

Rangers @ Senators

Saturday, April 8th 12:30 PM

Prev game : @Capitals, Wednesday, April 5th
Next game : Penguins, Sunday, April 9th

Hot : Mats Zuccarello - 8P (1G, 7A) in last 6 GP
Cold : Michael Grabner - 0P in last 9 GP
Injured : Ryan McDonagh (DTD)

The Rangers have the coveted X after last night, but have been in a bit of a skid recently.

Henrik Lundqvist hasn’t quite been himself this season, and has had a particularly rough stretch since returning from injury a week and a half ago. In that time, he’s allowed 16 goals in four games and posted a save percentage of .873. It is a back to back for them as well though, so Ottawa might face Antti Raanta instead. He’s had a solid season for the Rags, both in in the backup role and when Hank has been sidelined.

A major strength for the Rangers is that their scoring is a bit more distributed than the other teams in the powerhouse Metro. While they don’t have someone who can really take over games offensively, they’re sitting at fourth in goals for with only two players that could reasonably hit 60 points, and two other players that could reasonably hit 30 goals. There’s no clear one or two players that are a priority to shut down.

Senators @ Islanders

Sunday, April 9th 5:00 PM

Prev game : @Devils, Saturday, April 8th
Next game : -

Hot : Anders Lee - 3P (3G) in last 2 GP
Cold : Thomas Hickey - 0P in last 7 GP
Injured : Mikhail Grabovski (IR), Ryan Strome (DTD), Nikolay Kulemin (DTD), Travis Hamonic (DTD), John Tavares (DTD)

The final game of the season is so, so tough to predict what we could see. On one hand, if things go horribly wrong for Ottawa this week and well for the Islanders, this could be a “win and you’re in” situation for both teams. On the other hand, it could also work out that both teams are locked in to their spots in the standings and don’t have anything to play for.

The Isles have struggled to stay on the bubble all season, and the loss of John Tavares last week might just be what pops that bubble. On the flip side, they’ve got Nashville, Carolina and New Jersey between now and Sunday.

Overall, in most aspects, they’ve been middling. The exceptions have been the power play which has seen even less success than Ottawa’s, and the sixth worst goals against per game in the league. Neither Jaroslav Halak or Thomas Greiss have had particularly good seasons. Their saving grace is above average scoring that has almost managed to keep up with the sub-par goaltending.